Friday, 27 February 2009

Lunchtime wander

Following a lunchtime errand & in the proximity of Woodhouse Moor I wandered back to work through Hyde Park park & down through Leeds University campus. On the lookout for a splash of colour on a dull day, it was good to see the crocus in full display. A few trees with interesting bark caught my eye - birch, sycamore & plane. Ive always thought that Leeds is pretty good with its urban planting.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Leeds Met nature

Up at Headingley Campus on a chilly Wednesday afternoon, I spotted a Red Kite circling the treetops of Beckett Park, the nearest sighting to home so far. On the Acre two pair of Mistle Thrush busied themselves, still there an hour later, they're reasonably undisturbed due to the fact that a substancial part of the Acre is cordoned off. Around by Queenswood I took a couple of snaps of bracket fungi on roadside logs.

On my way into work at Civic Quarter on Thursday, another pair of Mistle Thrush fed on the last remaining Rowan berries. In the afternoon, from our window, we noticed a large bird swooping around the vicinity of the Town Hall. Too far away to id', we soon lost sight of it but I wonder whether its another Red Kite, it certainly moved like one, with very little flapping of wings. I know that there's a Buzzard that feeds in Park Square, so maybe that was it. We'll continue our eyes in the sky operation & report back at a later date.

Mistle Thrush on the Acre, Headingley Campus

Turkeytail, bracket fungus on deciduous logs

Jelly Ear fungus

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Teeside weekend

During a trip to Teeside we popped into the newly opened RSPB centre at Saltholme, great views from the cafe overlooking the water, while there we spotted 2 Little Egrets on the banks. Then onto Greatham Creek to visit the seals. Luckily the tide was out & there were approx 15 Harbour/Common Seals at rest on the riverbank. Loads of waders were feeding on the mudflats most of which we couldn't ID, although we did spot Lapwings which flew overhead, Curlew, a couple of flocks of Wigeons and another Little Egret in a nearby pond.

Read more about:
INCA Tees Seal Research Programme (pdf)
RSPB Saltholme

Seals resting on the banks, Transporter Bridge in the background

Wigeons, seals and unidentified waders

A lone Shelduck busily feeding, followed by a pic of the same Shelduck in situ.
Lapwing on the banks, & airborne further upstream before they flew overhead.
Waders, possibly Curlew

Friday, 20 February 2009

Bottoms up

Andrea revisited Fairburn Ings to test drive the new lens bought last weekend. The Long Eared Owls continue to attract visitors. Also spotted were two Grey Herons, Kestrel, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Mute Swan.

Bottoms up - male & female Shoveller feeding

Shoveller in distinctive side profile.

Shoveller...strike a pose

On the move, a Mute Swan and a pair of Grey Herons fly overhead.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Staithes trip, 2007

We've visited the coastal village of Staithes a few times & on this occasion in summer 2007 we were watching the herring gulls swoop over the cliff face to the North of the village. The challenge was to photograph them just before they vanished from view. I like the odd angle, the gulls look like creatures from the Land That Time Forgot.

Two very photogenic cap & stem fungi growing along a grass verge

Sunday, 15 February 2009

In the neighbourhood

A few local sightings over the weekend, a Great Spotted Woodpecker checking out a prospective residence, just off Queenswood Drive, Kirkstall.

A couple of bracket fungi and a cap/stem fungi on the way to Beckett Park.

Monday, 9 February 2009

A parliament of owls

Our second trip to Fairburn Ings to catch a glimpse of the Long Eared Owl was even more successful than anticipated. We spotted 5 Long Eared Owls, they've been seen regularly at Fairburn throughout the winter. What a treat... I hereby declare that the 6th - 13th February be known as 'Owl Week' to celebrate sightings of 6 owls in the space of a week starting with the Little Owl in Eccup. So far this year Ive seen seven owls, including the Barn Owl at Cresswell (North East coast) in January, which is probably more than Ive seen.

Whilst trying to locate the owls, a Grey Heron flew overhead. We also saw a Water Rail, Mute Swans with sygnets, Tufted Ducks & a large flock of Canada Geese feeding in a field at the far side of the lake.
At the feeders near the Fairbun Ings Centre we spotted Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Long Tail Tits, Dunnocks, Blackbird, Blue Tits, Chaffinch.

On a cold and frosty morning

Driving through Eccup, we spotted this little chap sitting on fencepost by the side of the road, a Little Owl, fantastic!

At Goldenacre, with the main lake frozen over, the wildfowl occupied the stream leading into the lake. Mallards, Coots, Scaup, White fronted Geese, and a pair of Whooper Swans.

And plenty of garden birds too. Their plumage really stands out against the snow.

We returned home the long way round, through Harewood, and caught sight of three Red Kites, here's one preparing to land.

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