Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 20, 2018

5th Snow

We have had our fifth snowfall this winter.

Sleddale  looks magnificent as ever.

The Red Grouse stand out against the white.

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

The path to the Moors

passes Highcliff Nab

Then past Highcliffe Farm.

before the gate that leads onto the Moor.

The horizon looks wonderful in the light.

Captain Cook’s monument stands out as the obelisk on the distant Easby Moor.

All around is the whiteness of the snow.

Guisborough Town nestles in the snow.

And out at sea is the Redcar windfarm.

Roseberry Topping, our local landmark looks like a shark fin breaking from the snowy land.

From Claybank, it looks more menacing.

Ingleby Greenhow and Battersby Moor look fine too.

In the woods is a solitary Robin.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 6, 2018

Midwinter crepuscular rays

On the Moors at 10am overlooking Sleddale.

and the same day in the middle of the town of Middlesbrough at 3pm.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 2, 2018

Sanderling at South Gare

South Gare at high tide presents a different shoreline to the birds. What was once beach

is now flooded. The Sanderling make their way along it, searching for food.


Sanderling (Calidris alba)

You can see from the following video that they can walk very fast if they want to.

They flock together, and flew off down the coast.

You can also see Black headed Gulls in their winter plumage behind the Sanderling.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Turnstone are often seen with Sanderling.

Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Greater Black backed Gulls chase the lobster boat coming into Teesmouth.

Great Black-Blacked Gull (Larus marinus)

And in the sky, a solitary Cormorant flies past in the dimming light.

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

On the ground Starlings feed.

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

On the beach, the tide is still coming in.

Deep in the sands are Lugworms, which leave their casts on the surface. These are hunted by the birds, especially longer billed ones such as Redshank.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

As the sea comes in, trapped air in sand which isn’t fully saturated is expelled forming a stream of bubbles.

The water ripples.

Out at sea the windfarm is being checked for structural integrity by a survey vessel.

The light fades along the coast towards the distant cliffs to the south.

And the vista used by Sky Artist of the Year  of fishermen’s huts and moribund steelworks looks different in the light.

Teesport and the distant Seal Sands refinery stand out as night begins to fall.


More Soon!

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

From the first full moon of 2018.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 28, 2017

Beacon Hill

A return to Staithes,

and to Beacon Hill.

to catch the sights of the sea

in the low midwinter setting sun along the Cleveland Way.

Old Nab juts out to sea.

Staithes looks magnificent in the light.

As does the harbour.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 26, 2017

Boxing Day Stroll

Sleddale, a small farmed valley in the middle of Gisborough Moor, in midwinter shorn of its snow, looks quite different to the pictures taken earlier this month.

Red Grouse are nearby.

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

They hunker down

until disturbed, then fly slow and low

calling as they go


until they land, far away. The moor is full of these birds.

This next picture is a close up of the bird flying over the Moor.

When looked at full scale, you get a sense of the vastness of Guisborough Moor.

On the distant horizon lies Captain Cook’s Monument and Greenhow Moor.



Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 10, 2017

A company of Wigeons

A deep midwinter freeze has gripped the RSPB reserve at Saltholme . Most of the lakes are now partially frozen, and the ducks, particularly Wigeon crowd what remains of the open waters when a predator appears.

See how the birds sweep in; a company of Wigeon.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

When the threat has passed, the birds slowly climb out of the water, onto the ice and make their way back towards the grasslands where they feed.

The Wigeon fly around the reserve to find a suitable place to feed.

Curlew flew into the Wigeon as the light dimmed.

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

They passed out onto the grasslands, where they were joined by Lapwings.

In the air the Lapwings flock together for safety.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

as do the Golden Plover.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

You can see a few Golden Plover moving in amongst the Barnacle Geese in this video.

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

There were also Canada Geese amongst the smaller Barnacle Geese.

And they were also out on the waters.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Gadwall were also dabbling around the ice.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

As were Shoveler.

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

On the ice were Moorhen

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

And making a swift dash across the ice, a Water Rail.

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Snipe were in the distant reeds.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

In the hedges were Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Mute Swans were on the ice, then taking off

before landing on the waters by the visitors centre.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

And then a passing Mute Swan gave the ‘cold shoulder’ to our resident Black Swan.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Finally, one of the birds of prey that the ducks and waders are keen to avoid – a Kestrel seen hovering in the twilight.

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 9, 2017

Feed ’em

This time of year, especially when the snow falls it’s good to put food out for he birds, and that’s what we do at Cafe Twitch. They seem to appreciate it.


Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

and a bird long associated with Xmas and winter in Britain.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

We aren’t so cold yet that the Fieldfare have come into the towns, as that is our straw indicator for very hard times. But it’s cold enough.

A quick jaunt onto the Moor in bright sunshine reveals the wonder of this time of year again.

Tracks in the snow.

Highcliffe Nab.

Close to the top beneath Highcliffe, an oasis of blue.

Highcliffe Nab again.

The side of the nab.

Highcliff farm.

Approaching the top of the moor.

Sleddale, my favourite view.

The sheep are out in the field!

The paths show up white.

More blue in the snow

In the woods, a fleeing Red Grouse

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

and a flitting Wren, so quick I barely had time to photograph it.

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Then back down the woods

to Cafe Twitch.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 3, 2017

Midwinter Supermoon

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 2, 2017

Sudden Snow

Cafe Twitch was hit by a snow fall, which took the birds by surprise.

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

Chaffinches also dined on the table.

and on the ground.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Also a Dunnock appeared.

Dunnock (Prunella modularis)

And a House Sparrow

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

And a Blackbird.

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

The trees captured the snow well.

As did Highcliff Nab.


Following the footpath up into the woods

reveals the winter wonderland of the forest.

At the top, the wilderness appears.

Hail steadily falls, obscuring the distant horizon.

Sleddale appears as an island in the surrounding Moors.

And then in the middle of the hail storm, the cloud parted for a few seconds.

Then the hailstorm returned.

Grouse were flying in the midst of this.

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

The paths stand out clear, like rivers of white against the Moor.

And Highcliffe farm remained an oasis in all of this, hunkering down until the storm had passed.

The seasons turn soon enough, as this animation of the same view above, and in August’s purple blaze shows. That’s 16 weeks, and yet what a difference.


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