December 15, 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Before the Christmas holidays start, here are few pictures of the male woodpecker. The pictures are taken from my hiding-place, which is nowdays almost a little too close even when the camera lens is fully zoomed out. Which means that I only get half of the woodpecker :)
Not complaining though, it's not easy to get that close to these birds :) and they are very nice to watch.
On one of the pictures below you can see its long thin tongue that it uses to get the larvae out once it has hacked its way to it.
Merry Christmas to You all, and see you in the Happy New Year :)

December 13, 2013

Small birds up close

Here are some photos taken from the hide i have in the woods, I have moved the perches even closer to the hide so I can take pictures and see the birds up close. Think it's a pretty nice relaxing to just sit there and try to get some good picture. The Christmas is approaching and on Monday I'm going to Stockholm to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Sweden, it will be nice to come home for a while. I'm not sure if I will be blogging anything from Sweden.

Coal tit

Blue tit

December 9, 2013

Starling murmuration at Leighton moss nature reserve

Couple of months ago I was watching Autumn Watch, a TV show on BBC, showing Leighton Moss a nature reserve just south of Lake District NP where starlings gather during winter. Nothing special about that maybe, except that its around 50,000 of them flying in every evening to roost in the tall reeds. While looking for an appropriate roosting place they gather in large flocks, sometimes actually all of the 50,000 and do all sorts of acrobatic air-formations.
So, late November we went to Morecamber Bay to actually see this.
I have seen it earlier on TV as well, but seeing it live is really awesome.
Unfortunately we were a bit unlucky the first evening with the weather, overcast, and bad weather means they fly directly into the reeds.
But the second evening it looked a bit more promising and as predicted at first they were coming in small groups but gathered into larger and larger flocks for about a 30min. During that time showing they flight skills in all sorts of formations.
Its not easy to capture as you might already know, especially as the reed is rather tall. Also, some days when in large flocks they get attacked by march harrier and other birds of prey and form even more shapes, but nothing like that happened this evening.
Hopefully we will be go back in January to get some better pictures before they fly back to the continent. As mentioned earlier, they gather here during winter and that due to more food and milder climate.
Not to complain, but there are better areas to go to where starlings gather in greater number. Sometimes up to 2million of them, but that is about 6h drive.


December 6, 2013

Lathkill dale

Last week a friend was off from work, so he wanted to go out and hike somewhere in the Peak District NP. He had found something in the White Peak area called Lathkill dale located near Bakewell that sounded interesting for some hiking.
Lathkill Dale has a history of lead mining and quite often you can see caves, mines and old buildings along the trail that goes through the beautiful valley that is of limestone.
It's very similar to Dove Dale that I blogged about a while ago, but a big difference is the clear water that has a lovely turquoise color. We saw nice trout in the river almost everywhere and even the dipper did join them in the river. We did not go all the way where the valley opens up and shows the limestone cliffs, that because we simply had so much to photograph along the way and it was getting darker so we headed to the car. All in all it was a trip of about 11km.
I can really recommend to go there you can also look for fossils along the trail where lime stone has fallen down from the cliffs.

Old Millstone

December 3, 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker

By now I have had time to sit in my hideout few times and the birds have gone used to me and the camera noise.
The biggest success is that even the woodpecker dare to stay at the feeding place, at most 4 m away. I find myself sometimes just sitting there watching it, its amazing as I usually just hear it or see if from afar. Both male and female are there but it is only the male that has dared to sit 'still', but from a bit further away I can see them talk or sometimes even argue :)
Other birds are much closer, at 2m, as I have rigged a branch there with the nuts and other yummy stuff.
Beside the birds, there is a little field mouse who also is visiting, will try to get some pictures for next post. Also a pheasant is getting closer, but it is the most shy of them all. It is carefully sneaking up among the ferns and listens very closely for any odd sounds.Will see later in the winter what the feeding place will have to offer, but for now here are some pictures of the beautiful woodpecker.