Posted by: mynaturaldiary | February 7, 2019

First Song 2019

First song heard this evening (Blackbirds).

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

This is later than average (late January) and a sign of the cold winter we’ve had.

 

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | February 4, 2019

Woollybacks, Yorkies and Smoggies in the snow

Snow arrived and carpeted the countryside.

The ascent to the Moors takes on new shapes in the snow.

The branches hold the snow well

And the direction of the wind is obvious from the way the snow stick to one side of the trees only.

The path to the top of the Moor looks wonderful in the faint sunlight.

Entering onto the Moor you seemingly come to another world.

The wind lifts the snow from the ground and it drifts, just like sand.

Patterns are in the snow just like on a beach.

The paths are covered in snow

and the Heather peeks through.

There’s enough Heather showing out there to feed the Red Grouse

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

A snowman joins in the fun.

In the distance across Gisborough Moor lies Sleddale and its farmstead.

You get a sense of scale from this picture.

The camera can pick out oasis of individual trees in the wilderness.

In the distance is Captain Cook’s Monument.

And Highcliffe Farm is also coated in snow.

Back into the woodland the logs are coated too.

And the sign by the riding school reminds us who we all are and where we live.

Back at Cafe Twitch (deep Woollyback territory) the finches were feeding.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | February 1, 2019

Venus and the Moon

Rising over the outline of Guisborough Woods and the Moor beyond.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 29, 2019

The arid beauty of Teesport

Captured here in this video by ‘Sam’ and shown on Winterwatch is the strange beauty of industrial Teesside, mixed with the wildlife that carries on regardless of man’s endeavours.

Locations in the film cover this area

Notably RSPB Saltholme, Seaton Common, North Gare, Seal Sands, Greatham Creek and South Gare.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 26, 2019

Big Garden Birdwatch 2019

Back at Café Twitch the Big Garden Birdwatch 2019 revealed 3 Wood Pigeons

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

a Collared Dove

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Blackbird

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

and Chaffinch

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 26, 2019

Snowdrops 2019

This years Snowdrops have returned, seen on the Eston Hills.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 21, 2019

Lunar Eclipse

As the sun sets at the  RSPB reserve at Saltholme  the evening before

the Moon rises, reflecting in the water as the Sun did.

It’s big and bright in the sky.

And reddish, due to the dust in the atmosphere.

As predicted by NASA’s Fred Espenak  (Mr Eclipse) it begins on queue at 03:33 (U1), with the blood red moon emerging at 04:41 (U2) .

03:26

03:37

03:57

04:07

04:17

04:28

04:37

04:52

05:00

and as a time sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 20, 2019

A delightful decade at Saltholme

The   RSPB reserve at Saltholme  is now ten years old!

Happy birthday, Saltholme!

This time of year the lapwings show themselves in clouds called deceits. Notice how at a distance the flickering pattern of dark wings and a white body en masse gives a flickering appearance, making it more difficult for a predator to single out an individual bird.

We have hundreds in the sky when they flock like this.

They swoop in smaller groups in the mass as they approach the ground which again makes it harder to follow an individual bird.

Only a few seconds separate these pictures above and below, and yet in the bottom one you’d hardly know the field was full of Lapwings unless you knew.

They are wonderful to see on the ground, especially in bright sunlight when their iridescent feathers sparkle from green to blue.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Before Christmas, we had congregations of Golden Plover to accompany the Lapwings, but they have moved up to the salt marshes near Greatham Creek. All except one.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

A solitary Lapwing watches a coil of Wigeon waddle past in this video

They are numerous too, on the reserve in their hundreds.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

In amongst the Wigeon were Red Breasted Merganser, and a Black Headed Gull having a minor squabble.

Red breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) and Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

The Black headed Gull is in its winter plumage, with just a few dark spots on its head.

The Red breasted Merganser

has a sharp hook at the end of its elongated bill to help it catch its prey which are fish.

Also on the waters were Shelduck

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

and Pintail

Pintail (Anas acuta)

And Little Grebes (before they dive into the water).

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Canadian and Greylag geese swam past the newly refurbished Saltholme hide

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

and

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

There were about 100 Barnacle Geese on Saltholme field.

Close up they are beautifully patterned.

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

On the feeders by the Visitors Centre were Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) and

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Along the fences Stonchats appeared.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

Thrushes were also visible. First, Redwings.

Redwings were in the trees close to Wildlife Watchpoint.

Redwing (Turdus iliacus)

Fieldfare were in the trees too.

Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

and a Blackbird tucking into the berries.

 

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

The sun set, reflecting on the water the night before a Lunar Eclipse

And finally on the reserve were three different types of Owl.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

This was one of four seen in the Scrubs.

Then a Short Eared Owl hunting on the wing.

Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)

Finally in the distance, a Barn Owl quartering,  searching an area by flying over it, back and forth.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

You can see my highlights of the past ten years from Saltholme here

https://mynaturaldiary.wordpress.com/category/salthome/

and see how the reserve has changed over the years.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 17, 2019

3rd Snow Winter 2018-2019

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 12, 2019

Zinc Road Works

Such romance in the name!

It’s a minor road, with Seaton Common on one side and a nuclear power station the other. It’s also by Seaton Snook, frequented by hunting Short Eared Owls.

 

Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)

Those eyes – once seen close up, never forgotten.

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