Went over to Hartlepool Headland today, another big movement of Wheatear in the area but not a great deal else. Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Cetti's at Dormans pool. An early evening walk at Sheepwash was really pleasant and the highlight being our first Cuckoo of the year (no photo though). The Codbeck Greylags are happy parents with a total of 29 goslings in tow.
Went for my walk around Swainby again today - started off at Sheepwash and down into the village. I have never seen such a large influx of Blackcaps - about 20 birds seen and strangely all males. Willow Warblers also back in this area in good numbers.
We decided to go for a nice relaxing walk today, not expecting to see much in the way of birds so were pleasantly surprised. We headed off to Kirkby Stephen and Smardale Gill. The weather was overcast but reasonably warm and windless. On the walk to the viaduct we could not believe how many willow warbler were present along the track, their continuous call never ceasing along the way. On the approach to the viaduct we saw three buzzards circling overhead and could hear raven calling and saw two on the hillside nearby, one visibly ringed as can be seen in the photo. A red squirrel climbed in the trees as we looked down into the valley and a female goosander flew overhead. We crossed the river further along and walked back along the hillside where we had excellent views of a Tawny Owl and also 3 Redstarts which made our day.
Had a trip to Saltholme today, pretty quiet but the birds that were about were very smart, as can be seen from the Black Headed Gull and Black Tailed Godwits. Saw 7 Barnacle Geese and some Pink feet but not sure if one of the geese in this picture is not a Pink foot.
After decorating all day on the nicest day of the year we had a run out again tonight when Mick came home from work to try and find the Ring Ouzel, just outside the Cleveland boundary, after the disappointment of yesterday. We had a lovely walk in the evening sunshine, plenty of pheasants, grouse, pipits and linnets on the way up but no Ring Ouzel. We were on our way back to the car when luck prevailed and we spotted one. It didn't hang around for long, just enough time to get a record shot before it hopped into the heather. When checking the books at home it looks like the subspecies from Southern Europe - very white wing panel?
............I had had the camera inside the car and not in the boot when I saw my first Ring Ouzel of the year along side the car in a bush! Never had such a good view, once it flew we were unable to relocate it. Will have to keep looking I suppose. Did manage to get good views and shots of a Little Ringed Plover viewed from the hide at Scaling Dam though. Would rather have captured the Ring Ouzel though.
Went for a run to Sleddale and the moors to try and locate an early Ring Ouzel but no joy. I did however manage to locate this pair of Nuthatch at their nest hole. Had to pull over into a passing place to enable someone to pass and the tree was right by the side of the road. The birds were totally oblivious to the fact I was sat in the car and having watched them for around half an hour it proved to me (as if I didn't already know) that females actually do do all the work. The male sat preening and singing his head off whilst the poor female flew backwards and forwards carrying mud to line the hole! Poor thing no wonder she looks so bedragled.
Had a run over to Bempton today to try and locate some migrants but once again got caught up in the delights of the seabirds around the cliffs. The photo opportunities are amazing and we were surprised as to how many birds are already there. You can spend hours just watching them and trying to get the Gannets in flight is brilliant fun.