Posted by: mynaturaldiary | June 6, 2018

Ghost in the fog

Through the fog on Scarth Wood Moor near Osmotherly, a Short Eared Owl hunts, a ghostly silent vision.



Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | June 3, 2018

Young Ducks

Young Mallard ducks were everywhere at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. 

With ever watchful parents nearby

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

they made their way beneath the feeders at the Wildlife Watchpoint hide to enjoy a free meal, courtesy of the finches feeding above them.

Mother Duck keeps on watching, looking for predators

in the verdant reeds

The male duck appears to have gone into eclipse, when they lose their bright breeding plumage.

They are delightful to watch, and a reminder we are at a critical point of the season, when the young must make their way in this world.

As mentioned, Goldfinches were on the feeders, and their actions make seeds fall to the ground for the young ducks beneath them.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Another group of goslings on the horizon were Canadian geese chicks, looking quite large.

Canada geese (Branta canadensis)

Greylag geese were also on the reserve

Greylag goose (Anser anser)

as well as a rarer visitor – a Pink footed goose.

Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

In the far distance was a Shelduck, our largest duck.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Other ducks seen were a lost Wigeon (who should have migrated to the North, such as Iceland, Scandinavia or Russia).

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

This male has still got his breeding plumage (the orange stripe on his head), despite no sign of a mate.

Also Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)


Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Pochards (resting on a strip of land)

Pochard (Aythya ferina)

and Shoveler

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)


More soon!



Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 21, 2018

Sea Green

At Bempton Cliffs which offers fine views of the sea cliffs, bright sunshine made the sea look blue at a distance

then looking directly down at it, deep sea green.

You can see Guillemots on the surface (top right and centre on the picture below), together with Razorbills (bottom left); both sea birds that only come on shore to breed.

Guillemots have sharp bills for catching fish.

Guillemot (Uria aalge)

whereas Razorbills have broader, more powerful looking bills.

Razorbill (Alca torda)

They both nest on ledges on the sheer faces of Bempton Cliffs. Other birds do that too, including Kittiwakes.

Here’s one gathering nesting material

Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)

On the ledges, their lives seem more precarious, perilously so to me.



The cliffs have thousands of these birds flying around.

They fill the skies – each looking after its own offspring.



The other main breeding sea bird on the cliffs are the magnificent Gannets.

They have bright yellow heads, and a large wingspan.

Gannet (Morus bassanus)

They often fly together

Scale Nab, an outcrop from the cliffs at the south-eastern end of the reserve is covered in nesting Gannets.

They fly around this sea cliff, together with Kittiwakes and other birds.

From the other side of the sea stack, the view is also good.

Gannets perch on the sheer cliff faces as seemingly precariously as the other sea birds.

You can see an egg here.

One last Gannet picture, set against the green sea…


and then some pictures of the other sea bird, amongst the wheeling birds around the cliffs; Fulmars.

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

They glide like an Albatross, with stiff wings, and shallow wingbeats.

They are tube-nosed birds, which you can see by looking at their beak above; there is a dark patch. On closer inspection on a previous video I shot at the Farne Islands last year, all the detail of their tube-nose can be seen.

Back on land, Tree Sparrows and Chaffinches are near the visitors centre.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

Jackdaws were on the feeders.

Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

And finally Swallows were in the air

and perched on the visitors centre.

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 12, 2018

Dining out at Cafe Twitch

Cafe Twitch feeds its regular and occasional visitors with a treat this time of year, all the better to feed their own young. the Jackdaw was most unexpected!







Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 10, 2018


Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Greylag Geese guard their brood.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 6, 2018

Swaledale sheep and lambs

A return visit to Gunnerside in superlative Swaledale, North Yorkshire. The road from Reeth

offers a fine view of the dale before entering the village. Man and Nature overlap well here.

The village is pretty.

Walking out towards Ivelet, a white butterfly feeds upon plants.

And House Sparrows are seen in the village.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

The fields are covered with sheep and their lambs.

Spring flowers are everywhere

This includes Blackthone.

But it’s the scenery of hills, fields, dry-stone walls and barns which makes this place special.



Spagnum moss grows readily over the dry-stone walls.

Let’s leave the dale with a few more pictures of the sheep and lambs.


Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 5, 2018


At South Gare, Wheatears were on the beach.

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 4, 2018

Hanami at Highcliffe 2018

Hanami (花見) is the tradition of enjoying the transient beauty of the cherry blossom flowers on the tree.

Highcliffe looks splendid in the setting sun.

On the ground, Mr & Mrs Blackbird are working hard to feed their chicks as they ready themselves for leaving the nest and joining us in the world.

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 30, 2018

Blackthorne & Bluebells

Spring marches on as the Bluebells and Blackthorne reappear.


Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 19, 2018

Black (and white) beauties

Two rare black plumaged birds were at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. 

The first, a pair of Black necked Grebes somewhere between winter and summer plumage.

Black-necked Grebe  (Podiceps nigricollis)

They are rare birds, but not as rare as the next one –  a Ringed necked Duck, which is an American visitor.

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)

It looks similar to the male Tufted Duck, except it has no tufts and also has a white end to its bill with a black tip.

In this video, you can see the Ring necked Duck with a male Tufted Duck alongside.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Keeping with the Black and white bird theme, here’s another well known bird, preening on a fence.

It’s a Magpie.

Magpie (Pica pica)

And now a more white bird than black, Avocets, who are the emblem of the RSPB.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

They are very elegant when sweeping their bills through the water in search of invertebrates and insects.

A pure white bird next; the Little Egret. This feeds on fish that it catches with its sharp bill. See the videos below for examples of this, especially the last one.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Coming back into the colour spectrum, Black headed Gulls – white birds with brown heads are nesting on the island at Paddy’s Pool hide.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

They tend to their nests well.


Another gull on the reserve, one of our local top predators are Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

You can see it being mobbed by Black Headed Gulls here.

As you can see, the LBBG can’t withstand the fury of the BHG’s, finally flying away.

A Grey Heron was talking near Wildlife Watchpoint.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)


Greylag Geese were all over the reserve.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Shelduck were at Saltholme Hide.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Also Canada Geese were there.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Pochard were on Saltholme West.

Pochard (Aythya ferina)

Redshanks were by Saltholme Hide

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

as was a Little Ringed Plover

Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius)

Meadow Pipits were plentiful

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Goldfinch were on the feeders at Wildlife Watchpoint.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Finally new lambs are on the reserve.



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