Lower Moor Farm – March 2016

There were definite signs of spring at Lower Moor Farm last Friday.  Grey Herons and Carrion Crows nest building along with Common Frogs mating and my first butterfly sightings of the year.

We arrived on site at about 10am, it was still very quiet, there only being two cars in the Car Park. I thought it was going to be really busy so it was a nice surprise.

My first spot of the day was a Grey Heron who was collecting nesting material on the far bank of Cottage Lake.  According to the log book in the hide he had been doing this for at least 40mins.  It was nice to just sit and watch his process, on occasion he seemed a bit ambitious with the size of twig he was trying and failing to pick up.

The Wildlife Trusts - Lower Moor Farm - Grey Heron gathering nesting material

The Wildlife Trusts - Lower Moor Farm - Reed Bunting (Female)My lesson learnt for the day is ‘Remember to take the bird book even if you think you won’t need it!’…  to the left of the hide there is a feeder that had been topped up that morning.  I was fairly sure what I was watching was a Reed Bunting but I doubted myself as I had never actually seen one before.  Seeing I had no phone signal I had no way of double checking either.

After lunch we moved round to the other hide looking over Swallow Pool which looks upon the other side of the tree the Grey Heron had been flying to that morning.  There turned out to be two Grey Heron nests in the tree quite close together.  Some people came into the hide saying they had seen three Roe Deer, not long after one appeared further down the lake and proceeded to take a swim across.

I look forward to visiting Lower Moor Farm again soon, I hear they have Otters but they haven’t been seen for a while…

My full list of sightings for the day:
Butterflies: Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell
Birds: Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Red-crested Pochard, Reed Bunting, Robin, Wren
Amphibians: Common Frog
Mammals: Roe Deer

Millets Farm Falconry Centre 2016

Last Friday I took the day off work with a couple of colleagues and went to Millets Farm Falconry Centre.  I had happened to see it included in a Twitter post for places to visit in my area and thought it would be a nice day out that would suit everybody that was going.

I woke to heavy fog outside and wondered if it was set to improve, after a check with the online weather information I was happy to see it was set to lift mid-morning.  After I had picked everyone up we headed on the half an hour journey to the Centre.

Thankfully the weather decided to play nice and the fog lifted an hour before the first flying display at 12pm.  As the Centre is situated next to a restaurant it was a good time for lunch before the next display at 2pm.

Millets Farm Falconry Centre - Striated Cara CaraThe first bird to fly was ‘Boo’ a Striated Cara Cara who came with a warning from the Falconer Luke… please insure all bags are done up securely as he will raid them for food! and sure enough he came over to see if he could get in my bag, sorry Boo no food from me.

They flew a variety of birds; two seemed very interested in the local mouse population deciding to do a little of their own hunting though both were unsuccessful with their catches that escaped their talons.

We also had a visit from some of the local Red Kite population with three of them riding the thermals at one point.

When taking photographs at Falconry Centres I always try and take photos that make the birds look as though they are in their natural environment.  Part of the attraction is to get up close and learn about birds I have little knowledge of.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2016

January 30th was again time for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch so I settled in the kitchen with my camera and notebook to mark down what I saw.  I have included the figures here against last years as a comparison.  This time, as last year, I saw 11 species of bird though not exactly the same as 2015.

2016 2015
Coal Tit 2 1
Blue Tit 2 3
Great tit 1
Long-tailed Tit 1
Blackbird 4 2
Woodpigeon 2
Goldfinch 9 2
Blackcap 1
Greenfinch 1
Robin 2 2
Collard Dove 3 1
Starling 1 1
House Sparrow 1
Dunnock 1
Pied Wagtail 1

I have, since completing the count, seen a Long-tailed tit and a Dunnock in the garden. I have not seen the Pied Wagtail for some time now.

Below are a few record shots of the birds that took part in the count…