Colours of Autumn

The main autumn colour of our second day in Askrigg was definitely grey! We awoke to grey skies and it didn’t change much all day but that didnt prevent us enjoying the day. Ian and I went for a walk firstly across the fields pausing to admire the odd sheep or chicken!

I must say I was not too impressed by the size of the tiny gaps in the wall we had to struggle through, I decided against one as I had an awful feeling I might get stuck and like Winnie the Pooh have to stay there until I had slimmed down!!!

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We had a good look along the river hoping for a Wagtail but not a bird in sight! We strolled around the village popping into St Oswald’s church for a look around. The pub it very near where we are staying and we are off their again soon for a meal, mmm getting hungry thinking about it now!

The forecast didn’t look a great deal better for today, cloud, showers and maybe the odd bright spell but they were wrong! At about 8 am we had a brief shower which produced this lovely rainbow over the little garden which is the view from our bedroom window.

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By the time we were heading out for the day the rain was forgotten and the sky was looking positively blue. We were off to visit Thorp Perrow Arboretum so were delighted that the weather was very kind to us. So yesterdays autumn colour was grey but not so todays. Gold and red, orange and browns, green and purples were all to be seen today.

Here are a few more from our walk today.

Every part we walked through had its own beauty, some dramatic, some more subtle. The odd flower was still blooming including this little dog rose.

Even the pond had beautiful colours reflected on it. This Little grebe and Mute swans swam in and out of gold, then red, then green water as it caught the reflections.

These past few days haven’t added to our year’s list but they have certainly added to our enjoyment. We are loving spending these few days in the company of Janice and Chris.

Alice had expressed a wish that we might see a Robin at the arboretum and I promised to try to get a photo for her, well we saw three, so these are for you Alice.

I was rather taken with these hydrangeas, I have always liked them as they hold happy childhood memories for me but the colours of these were striking.

At the arboretum there is a bird of prey centre which we had a quick walk around and yes…there was a Little owl there! Will I ever see one in the wild again? he, he, he I expect so! Not sure this sign was needed but it made me smile and just a last couple of trees before moving on (after lunch of course).

We began our journey back to Askrigg but made some detours on the way. We stopped at Aysgarth falls and I was jolly pleased we did.

We continued the drive taking some minor roads along the way, stopping off to admire the fields, divided into small plots by the dry stone walls. The sky was beginning to look rather moody but we had been blessed by brightness all day so we weren’t about to complain if it changed as darkness came.

Back at our apartments with time to relax before going out for a meal.

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So it’s back home tomorrow and hopefully my new pager will arrive. It hasn’t worked since Wednesday so goodness know what birds we have missed! It has been lovely to visit another part of Yorshire, we have seen more of this county this year than in the rest of our married life!

 

 

Another month disappears!

Of course I knew it was a new month today because it is my lovely grandson’s birthday, happy birthday Daniel!   img_1380-daniel

 

So that can only mean that October has come to an end and it is time for a monthly review. It has been a mixed month with some manic times then more relaxed days, this past week being the more relaxed variety!

What October has been brilliant for was bird life ticks, I have had five and I am pretty chuffed with that. Add to that some cracking birds that I have seen for only the second time and I reckon October has been excellent.

First new bird was an Eastern-crowned warbler which we journeyed up to Bempton for, a place always worth a visit and thankfully we both saw this very active little bird. No picture of the bird but a few from the site!

I saw my first Dusky warbler at Cromer, followed by another a couple of weeks later at Titchwell!  We narrowly missed seeing two on one day as there had been one at Cley where we popped for lunch. Happily whilst there word came of a Barred warbler that was down Beach road in and out of a bush (along with many other little birds) so we were off.

It wasn’t long after our return from Yorkshire that we were headed back again! This time for a bird that was a first for mainland Britain, mind you it started a trend as several others have been since!!! We found a lovely place to stay and drove up so we would be there in Easington for first light and hopefully the bird, a Siberian accentor would have stayed overnight too! Happily it was in no rush to leave so we joined what I call the ‘queue for a view’ for a good though very brief sight before being moved along to allow others a view too. We returned later that day and what a difference a few hours had made!

This time we got to see it much better and get some fairly decent pictures too!   Not the most exotic looking bird perhaps but one I was delighted to see!

Rather pleased to see this Redstart too just along from the star bird, it showed off quite well so as not to go unoticed!

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Between our two visits to the accentor we went to Sammy’s point and it is so hard to explain quite how smashing it was. There were birds everywhere! Flying in from the sea, sitting in bushes, feeding in the mud or in the fields it was just ‘Magical’! I was chuffed to find some Ring ouzels and to get some shots which was not so easy earlier in the year.  We saw hundreds of Goldcrests  and probably hundreds of Robins too. There were Chiffchaffs, Wheatears, Reed buntings and to our delight we saw, for the first time, Woodcock in flight.

We couldn’t be so close to Spurn and not go there so off we went. This obliging Shorelark was another bird that we had seen early in the year but not been able to photograph.

Back to Sammy’s point for another lovely walk amongst the many birds we saw this flycatcher. First though was of course that it is a Pied flycatcher but there has been some discussion as it has some hints of a Collared flycatcher. I think the answer is we will never know, but it was a sweet bird whichever it is!!!

We stayed on an extra night and on the way home went to Donna Nook another place I had often heard of but never visited. Here I saw another bird that I had only seen once before, a few years previously and what a little beauty, a Red-flanked bluetail.

Jumping to later in the month now and Alice and Matilda joined us for a brilliant birding day beginning at Burnham Overy Dunes. Ian and I had been on the Sunday to see the Isabelline Wheatear and we returned the next day with the girls to try to see it again and also a Desert wheatear. On the Sunday we ploughed through the mud but were rewards with views of my very first Isabelline wheatear.

The following day, with the girls we took a different, less muddy and much more pleasant route to the dunes! The bird had moved so the walk was longer but not once did either of the girls complain, they were brilliant! A very brief flight view was all some of us got of that bird but thankfully we all saw the Desert wheatear, not for long but clearly.

On our way back along the dunes, we timed it perfectly, a Radde’s warbler had just been spotted, first sighting for a few hours! We joined the group and again all saw it, another life tick for me and the girls! Next stop Titchwell for lunch and if we had any energy left a stroll. This was where we saw our second Dusky warbler before walking down to the sea.

Golden plovers on the fresh marsh, Sanderlings on the shore plenty of other waders on the way. It really was a lovely day out, it couldn’t fail really, life ticks and grandchildren along to enjoy it!

Well we had a lazy week following that although November has thrown us an unexpected treat, hopefully there will be things to report next time I blog!

Still butterflies visiting the garden and a several Red admirals have been feeding on the dahlias this week  (note to self, plant some more of them!)  img_1334-red-admiral

I have decided to only print out the bird list this month as it has definitely been the main highlight of the month. I will give the number of the other things first:

Moths (macro and micro) … 310

Insects                                       …85

Dragon/damselflies              … 17

Butterflies                                …24

Mamals                                      …25

Reptile/amphibians                …5 (could do better!!!)

Birds                                           …253   (*26* Life ticks)

So far my total of winged and otherwise creatures for the year is 719 I have bypassed all but three of the guesses made before the year began, who will be closest? Could still be thelast one that I have passed or one I havent yet reached.

Bird List end October

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Cattle Egret
  53. Little Egret
  54. Great Egret
  55. Grey Heron
  56. White Stork
  57. Glossy Ibis
  58. Spoonbill
  59. Red Kite
  60. White-tailed Eagle
  61. Marsh Harrier
  62. Hen Harrier
  63. Pallid Harrier *
  64. Goshawk *
  65. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  66. Common Buzzard
  67. Rough-legged Buzzard
  68. Golden Eagle
  69. Osprey
  70. Kestrel
  71. Merlin
  72. Hobby
  73. Peregrine Falcon
  74. Water Rail
  75. Corn Crake
  76. Moorhen
  77. Western purple swamphen*
  78. Coot
  79. Common Crane
  80. Great bustard *
  81. Oystercatcher
  82. Black-winged Stilt
  83. Pied Avocet
  84. Stone-curlew
  85. Little ringed Plover
  86. Ringed Plover
  87. Dotterel
  88. European Golden Plover
  89. Grey Plover
  90. Lapwing
  91. Great Knot*
  92. Knot
  93. Sanderling
  94. Little Stint
  95. Temminck’s Stint
  96. Pectoral Sandpiper
  97. Curlew Sandpiper
  98. Purple Sandpiper
  99. Dunlin
  100. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  101. Ruff
  102. Jack Snipe
  103. Common Snipe
  104. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  105. Woodcock
  106. Black-tailed Godwit
  107. Bar-tailed Godwit
  108. Whimbrel
  109. Curlew
  110. Spotted Redshank
  111. Common Redshank
  112. Common Greenshank
  113. Lesser Yellowlegs
  114. Green Sandpiper
  115. Wood Sandpiper
  116. Common Sandpiper
  117. Ruddy Turnstone
  118. Grey Phalarope
  119. Arctic Skua
  120. Mediterranean Gull
  121. Little Gull
  122. Black-headed Gull
  123. Common Gull
  124. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  125. Herring Gull
  126. Iceland Gull
  127. Glaucous Gull *
  128. Great Black-backed Gull
  129. Kittiwake
  130. Caspian Tern *
  131. Sandwich Tern
  132. Common Tern
  133. Arctic Tern
  134. Common Guillemot
  135. Razorbill
  136. Black Guillemot
  137. Puffin
  138. Rock Pigeon
  139. Stock Pigeon
  140. Wood Pigeon
  141. Collared Dove
  142. Turtle Dove
  143. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  144. Cuckoo
  145. Barn Owl
  146. Tawny Owl
  147. Short-eared Owl
  148. Common Swift
  149. Common Kingfisher
  150. European Bee-eater *
  151. Hoopoe
  152. Wryneck
  153. Green Woodpecker
  154. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  155. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  156. Wood Lark
  157. Sky Lark
  158. Shorelark (horned lark)
  159. Sand Martin
  160. Swallow
  161. Red-rumped Swallow *
  162. House Martin
  163. Tree Pipit
  164. Meadow Pipit
  165. Rock Pipit
  166. Water Pipit
  167. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  168. Grey Wagtail
  169. Pied Wagtail
  170. Dipper
  171. Wren
  172. Dunnock
  173. Siberian Accentor*
  174. Robin
  175. Common Nightingale *
  176. Bluethroat*
  177. Red-flanked Bluetail
  178. Black Redstart
  179. Common Redstart
  180. Whinchat
  181. Stonechat
  182. Isabelline Wheatear*
  183. Desert Wheatear
  184. Wheatear
  185. Ring Ouzel
  186. Blackbird
  187. Fieldfare
  188. Song Thrush
  189. Redwing
  190. Mistle Thrush
  191. Cetti’s Warbler
  192. Grasshopper Warbler
  193. Sedge Warbler
  194. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  195. Great Reed Warbler*
  196. Dartford Warbler
  197. Barred Warbler
  198. Lesser Whitethroat
  199. Whitethroat
  200. Blackcap
  201. Yellow-browed Warbler
  202. Eastern Crowned Warbler *
  203. Radde’s Warbler*
  204. Dusky Warbler*
  205. Wood Warbler
  206. Common Chiffchaff
  207. Willow Warbler
  208. Goldcrest
  209. Firecrest
  210. Spotted Flycatcher
  211. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  212. Pied Flycatcher
  213. Bearded Tit
  214. Long-tailed Tit
  215. Marsh Tit
  216. Willow Tit
  217. Crested Tit *
  218. Coal Tit
  219. Blue Tit
  220. Great Tit
  221. Nuthatch
  222. Treecreeper
  223. Penduline tit *
  224. Red-backed Shrike
  225. Great Grey Shrike
  226. Jay
  227. Magpie
  228. Jackdaw
  229. Rook
  230. Crow
  231. Hooded Crow
  232. Common Raven
  233. Starling
  234. House Sparrow
  235. Tree Sparrow
  236. Chaffinch
  237. Brambling
  238. Serin *
  239. Greenfinch
  240. Goldfinch
  241. Siskin
  242. Linnet
  243. Twite
  244. Lesser Redpoll
  245. Mealy Redpoll
  246. Bullfinch
  247. Hawfinch
  248. Lapland Longspur
  249. Snow Bunting
  250. Yellowhammer
  251. Cirl Bunting
  252. Reed Bunting
  253. Corn Bunting

Only two months left of our big year and still no Little owl!!! We have had them in the garden in the past and they are always in our village but this year they are hiding from me!!!

In an English Country Garden

As I am enjoying it so much I am beginning to think that taking a year out to explore nature should become an annual event!!!

The past few days have been largely spent in English country gardens starting in our own on Saturday when family were visiting. We went bug hunting and were delighted to find several that we hadn’t yet listed plus one lovely bonus. Peter lifted an old log to see what was lurking and we were surprised to find this little fella!IMG_8689 Smooth newt

A smooth or common newt, what a treat. It was especially good as it sat still and gave all of us, old and young time to have a good look at it. More logs were lifted and more critters found including millipede and centipede. Also a caterpillar had been lurking for a day or so, the best suggestion is that it is a Miller moth.

Hoverflies were busy too, these ones were deffinitly drawn to purple, dahlias and roses but each time the purple ones.

We arranged to spend a couple of days with my sister beginning on Sunday as it was to be their village garden party. Calamity struck on Saturday as Janice took a flying leap and ended up in A & E with two broken ribs…ouch! The decision was made that we would still be welcome to visit and it meant we could fill in for her at the garden party. So Sunday afternoon found me sitting at a table with a large jar filled with sweets taking people’s guesses as to how many there were! I met some lovely little children who were very keen to win, as it happened an adult did! The garden party was held in their Norfolk village, in the grounds of  ‘The big house’ and very beautiful it is too. Peter, Lynn and family came to join in the fun and support the cause. When I was talking to the house owner, Peter joined us and being bolder than me, asked if I could moth trap there one night. Having explained what was involved he kindly and without hesitation said we could. It was arranged to do it that night as they had some young visitors staying that might enjoy seeing the catch in the morning.

So in the morning we were joined by Arthur, Florence, Harry, Magnus (all delightful children) and parents to see what we could find. The number of moths was disappointing (to us) but at least there was some variety. I suspect this fella and his three friends may have had a moth breakfast snack before we got to it! I had no idea how noisy Guineafowl are, my goodness I wouldn’t like my neightbours to keep any!

I was pleased to see a Poplar hawkmoth which I knew would impress young eyes (older ones too of course). It was good to be able to show the contrast in shapes, sizes, and colour as we had the lovely yellow Brimstone moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character and other varieties.

No pictures of them but there were several Large yellow underwings which I am sorry to say are not a favourite of mine. When they open their wings they are beautiful but when they walk they scuttle and remind me of cockroaches!

The Coxcomb prominent was a hit and as one of the children said, “It looks like a bit of wood” my favourite of the morning was the Maiden’s blush.

It was a real joy to be able to introduce people to a different side of moths and I hope it might spur them on to a bit of an interest, I also hope to get a chance to moth again in that  rather large English Country garden one day or I should say night.

Back to spend the rest of the day with Janice (ouch) and Chris and later Peter and family came to visit. Bless the children they all came in rather gingerly having been warned not to rush and hug Janice!

I had several wanders around thier lovely English country garden and found that bees like it every bit as much as I do. I am not sure how they fly once they are covered in pollen but they do.

Peter and Lynn found this, as yet unidentified bug, it looks like a grasshopper but didn’t behave like one, any ideas? Later we got the hose out to try to encourage frogs to come out of hiding, they didn’t oblige but we all enjoyed the rainbow effects created. Foolishly when taking these pictures my camera was still set on macro but I hadn’t realised.IMG_8795 bug

That night we put the trap out and popped out to it a couple of times in the evening and there was plenty of activity. Sadly in the morning it was almost empty so we will never know what we missed. I think next time we try there I will position the trap in a more accessible part of the garden and maybe take moths out during the evening, worth a try I think.

We spent another lovely day with J & C, Janice is coping well with her ribs and Chris is taking care of her beautifully. We satyed for a BBQ lunch with some of their friends that we haven’t seen for well over ten years and it was a smashing time. Time to think about heading home but not before we stoped at yet another garden.

I find birdwatchers by and large to be a friendly, helpful bunch and since mothing I find the same to be true of them. One such person is David (a birder and a moth man!) and he had found a Cypress pug, only the fourth for Norfolk. He had kindly invited people to drop in to see it and as it was more or less on our route home we did just that. A bad picture I’m afraid but it is a record shot for me to have. Next a peek at David’s garden to see where he moths so that is four English Country Gardens!IMG_8818 Cypress pug

Home and time to get ready for the arrival of September, I wonder what that will bring.Having chosen the title for this blog I felt the need to listen to the song of the same name, it speaks of flowers, bugs, birds and it finally reminds us to, not forget the Robin, so I didn’t, although this one looks rather worn.IMG_8801 robinMy advice to one and all is, when you get the chance get out in an English Country Garden, big or small they can be a real joy but…don’t follow my sister by going flying with a bang…get well soon Janice!