Redwings Arrive

September 29, 2007 at 8:49 pm


Just over a week since my last entry and no filming during that time due to inclement weather and lack of subject matter.

The last week has seen a big exodus of Swallows and on one morning forty two Meadow Pipits were feeding on one of the fairways on the Golf Course. Green Woodpeckers are still present on the course but there is no way of bringing them in front of the camera as they are feeding on ants all over the course. Jays are everywhere at the moment with two starting to feed in our garden. More and more birds are coming into the garden with a maximum of thirty one House Sparrows and a garden record of twelve Goldfinches during the last week.

I received a report today of a Goshawk catching and eating a Jay in a garden a mile down the road from me. Whilst nine times out of ten it would have been a female Sparrowhawk the description was definitely a Goshawk.

The highlight of the week has to be the arrival of two Redwings today. It never ceases to amaze me how year after year the first ones come on or about 30th September. A week of north winds have meant they have arrived a day early! I wouldn’t expect to see any Fieldfare for a good two weeks but it depends on the wind direction.

End of Summer filming

September 21, 2007 at 9:41 pm


After some good late Summer weather there has now been a change and in the last week we have had two days of heavy rain.

Filming has ground to a halt with the party of Kingfishers I was working on now dispersing and proving illusive and despite baiting the foxes none have appeared when I was ready to film. The only good news is that two Green Woodpeckers have been around for the last couple of weeks and hopefully may stay to breed next year.

The last brood of Swallows has now fledged from the Golf Club after the most successful season ever. At least fifty young have been reared at the Golf Club and whether they make it to South Africa and back for next year remains to be seen.

It continues to be a poor year for butterflies, with Speckled Woods being the most numerous at present with the odd Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell feeding on Scabious.

Birds are now returning to our garden, with a maximum of twenty three House Sparrows, nine Goldfinches and three Wood Pigeons. A female Sparrowhawk appeared briefly.

If the wind moves to the North then we can expect the first Redwings to appear with Fieldfares following early next month.

Wettest and dullest summer ever

September 13, 2007 at 5:31 pm


Here we are the first notes for the blog after the wettest and dullest summer ever.

Despite the lack of sunshine, on video you don’t need it, I have amassed 35 hours of wildlife so far this year. If this had been cine film it would have cost over £3,500 instead it has cost £70! – I should have changed to video years ago!

Ten weeks of our year has been on Islay, we still have two more weeks to come next month. We should then have enough video to prepare a major presentation of the islands wildlife.

Normally at this time of year in the Pennines not much is available to film. However, with the current weather – the best of the Summer, I have been very active. So far more than twenty hours has been spent trying to film Kingfishers on a local pond. One good session produced 25 minutes of one bird which was very pleasing after many long hours under a camouflage cloth producing nothing.

I have also spent some hours on my local Golf Course trying to bait foxes with dog meat. I put the food out day after day but nothing eats it, then I left checking it for a few days and when I went back it had all gone and the foxes had left their droppings!! I will have to hope for a change of luck and continue to persevere.

The most pleasing event this month has been the appearance of a Barn Owl locally. Much time has been spent at dusk observing this male as he goes to hunt into the night – none has bred around here since 1972 and it would be good if he found a mate!

I have also filmed three pairs of Swallows still feeding young in their nest in September. whether these young make it all the way to South Africa for Winter is highly unlikely.

That’s all for now it wont be long before the Winter thrushes arrive and hopefully this Winter some Waxwings – my favourite bird.

The reason I am writing this blog

September 8, 2007 at 3:28 pm

Gordon Yates

I have been interested in wildlife, especially birds, since I was 4 years old, when I was shown the contents of a Dunnock’s nest by my father. As I grew older I maintained a diary of my wildlife sightings which now intend to share with you on this blog. There have been many trials and tribulations being a wildlife photographer and I will tell you some of my stories in the coming weeks.

Keep in touch,