Sunday, 31 March 2013

Saltholme Nature Reserve

Sunday March 31st
 With all this snow around we decided to head off away today,the roads likely to
be quieter than the usual Bank Holiday jams on Monday. Saltholme was our choice,
a more recent RSPB Nature Reserve just North of Middlesborough.
 We set off fairly early with a local temperature of -4°C leaving any sign of snow behind
around the Harrogate area, we also got the bonus of seeing a Red Kite unusually perched
in a tree. We arrived as the doors of the visitor center opened at 10a.m. going through to the
viewing area which had some feeders outside & overlooked the lake.On the feeders we saw
Blue Tits,Chaffinch,Goldfinch,Greenfinch,Reed Bunting & on the lake were Mallards,Moorhen,
Coot,Tufted Duck,Wigeon,Canadas,Shelduck & Oystercatcher.
 We headed off to the pools hide,now 1°C, as we walked along we saw several Curlew flying as
they moved around and we also saw a Fox which sauntered along not being too bothered about
our presence.In the large hide we saw a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers moving away up a
water channel, we were only able to get a distant record snap of these.In the hide was an RSPB
Warden who had a scope set up & showed us a couple more of them in the distance.We added
Teal & LBB Gull to our list here. Moving off to the next hide we saw c100 Lapwings in the fields
around the Back Saltholme Pool.
 The next hide overlooked Paddy's pool mainly BH Gulls here with a large flock of Wigeon and a
couple of Pochard.We quickly moved on around the main Lake to the Wildlife Watchpoint hide
seeing a Little Grebe, another bird we were unsure of, but as it came close to the hide we saw it was
a female Pochard. There were some more bird feeders outside the hide giving us the chance of a
few snaps. We then headed back towards the visitors center seeing a couple of Starlings in a tree,
with the sun shining on them another chance of a snap of this often under rated bird.
 We all had a great Sunday Lunch in the cafe before heading to our final stop the Phil Stead hide near
the main car park.Here we added Redshank,Gadwall & Little Egret to our list rounding off a good
days birding before setting off home.
Blue Tit


Little Egret






female Pochard

Reed Bunting


distant record snap of Red-breasted Mergansers


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Harold Park & Park Dam

Saturday March 30th a.m.
 Another sunny morning as we set off to Harold Park,still plenty of snow in
the fields and piled high at the side of the roads in Denholme & Queensbury.
On our arrival at Harold Park the temperature was 1.5°C, the main birds here
were Canadas,Mallards,Tufted Ducks,Coots,Moorhen,Mute Swan,BH Gull &
Common Gulls. We managed to spot a Gt.Crested Grebe which was hidden well,
a Cormorant circled round the lake a couple of times giving me the chance to get a
snap; as we went we also saw a Song Thrush and some other common species.
 We moved down the road to Park Dam where there again were good numbers of
BH & Common Gulls on the water & feeding in nearby fields. Also on the water were
Coots,Mallards,Tufted Ducks,Moorhen,Mute Swan & we caught up with the Black
Swan which is always a pleasure to see.
 Back at home we have been keeping the bird feeders well stocked during this very cold
early spring. We have been rewarded with many species which are benefiting from our
efforts these include Blackbird,Bullfinch,Blue Tit,Chaffinch,Goldfinch,Greenfinch,Jackdaw,
LT Tit,Siskin,Song Thrush & Woodpigeon. This morning I looked through the window
seeing a white circle in the Cherry Tree, I went for my binoculars to check it out and there
watching the bird feeders was a Sparrowhawk. I ran for the camera but needless to say
when I got back it was gone.
BH Gull

Common Gull 1st Winter

Common Gulls

Mute Swans



Tufted Duck

Song Thrush

Black Swan at Park Dam

Harold Park

Friday, 29 March 2013

Dowley Gap

Friday March 29th a.m.
 We followed on from Lister Park to Dowley Gap at Bingley where the temperature
had risen to 2°C, with some cloud bubbling up.In the fields behind the canal were
some Canadas & Greylags with a couple more on the canal itself.We walked on the
towpath looking over to the water treatment works seeing BH Gulls & a pair of
Oystercatchers. Further along the track we saw and heard several Wrens, Pied
Wagtails were also here with others being in the filter tanks with a few Grey Wagtails,
Meadow Pipits & a Song Thrush. We went across the Aqueduct which had re-opened
and took the path to the River Aire seeing eight Goosanders on the river.Others here
were Mallards,Moorhen & in the woods LT Tits,Robins & other common species.

female Goosander

male Goosander


Pied Wagtail


River Aire flowing through Hirst Wood

Lister Park

Friday March 29th a.m.
 Some more sunshine this morning to continue the slow thaw of the lying snow, just 0°C
at Lister Park in Bradford.Walking carefully on the icy paths we made our way to the
lake where there were BH Gulls,Common Gulls,Canadas,Coots,Moorhen,Mallards,Feral
Pigeons & Tufted Ducks. The Coots were in a small group squabbling maybe another sign
of spring even though the weather is still poor.A good part of the lake was frozen over but
enough free water for the birds.Nice to see some blue sky for a change, a Wren was
looking for food near the stream as I took a picture of the scene so I managed to get a snap
of it in the snow.A few other common species were seen around this area before we headed
off towards Bingley.

Feral Pigeon in the sun light

female Tufted duck

male Tufted Duck


BH & Common Gull

Coots Squabbling



Lister Park

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Redcar Tarn

Thursday March 28th p.m.
 A visit to Redcar Tarn above Keighley this afternoon where the sun briefly made an
appearance but still cold at 2°C.Good numbers of BH & Common Gulls with the
Mallards,Coots & Canadas. A small flock of Lapwings flew over and there were a
couple of Goldfinch. A few other common species along with the hybrid Ducks and
Geese.The water was 70% frozen over and snow drifts blocked the path down one
side of the Tarn but the birds seemed to be coping well with the poor conditions.
c200 - BH Gulls
53 - Common Gull
1 - LBB Gull
c75 - Mallards
12 - Coot
10 - Lapwing
6 - Canadas
3 - Goldfinch
plus other common species
BH Gull

LBB Gull


Common Gull


Redcar Tarn, Kly

Most of the water covered with ice & snow