He’s Back

November 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Now that full feeding has been restarted in the garden the male Sparrowhawk has returned, no doubt attracted by the increased number of small birds. During the week he was seen to fly off with a House Sparrow and probably caught other prey when we weren’t watching.

On Hopwood, at dusk, I encountered a flock of seventy Redpolls, representing the largest flock of Redpolls I have ever seen. They were feeding in birches and looking to roost in some pines nearby. As I walked off in the semi darkness a Kingfisher was still present on a pipe over the stream. As far as I am aware there are no fish in the stream so may be he was roosting on the pipe for the night.

A search of a moorland plantation failed to find any Long Eared Owls. However, feeding on larch cones was a flock of more than one hundred Siskins which were a delight to watch as they extracted the seeds from the cones.

Along the canal one morning were six Long Tailed Tits and a Dabchick – the first I have seen on the canal for years.

Ready and Waiting

November 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

The exceptionally mild weather is prolonging Autumn and without a gale there may be some leaves still on the trees in December.

Whilst there are very few Fieldfares about at present I did see a flock of fourteen Redwings on the 17th. On Hopwood the first Woodcock arrived on the 14th with others appearing the following day. One dusk twenty Goldfinches were going to roost in a single Oak tree that was still retaining its leaves and providing plenty of cover for the night.

A visit to Tandle HIll to film the spectacular colours of the Beech trees resulted in Crossbills being heard in the pine trees nearby and the Holly bush full of berries was awaiting the Autumn Thrushes or perhaps even a Waxwing as there are already hundreds arriving in Norfolk.

Launch of the Raptors DVD

November 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Years of filming and more than three hundred hours of editing have come to an end and the Raptors DVD is now complete. The DVD is £15 plus £1 postage. At the moment copies of the DVD are not available through my website but hopefully will be soon. You may obtain a copy by sending me a cheque, together with your name and address to my address:
3, Saxonholme Road, Castleton, Rochdale. OL11 2YA or telephoning me on 01706 631770.

A resume of the DVD is as follows:

‘Raptors, the family of birds that thrill and excite when seen in the field and represent the greatest challenge to capture on film.

This DVD takes us on a journey from the Pennines to the Cairngorms, then on to South West Scotland and culminates on the beautiful island of Islay. During this journey we examine the intimate breeding cycles of all six species of British owl plus Golden Eagle, Osprey, Goshawk, Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Merlin, Kite and Peregrine.

In all, sixteen species of Raptor, filmed in their breathtaking natural environment.’

November Butterflies

November 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

A last reminder of our week on Islay is this photo of the Grey Seal with its pup. It is only in the last two years that we have been able to find newly born seals on Islay as previously they have given birth on an island off shore.

Two mild days this week have produced the sightings of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly in Rochdale on the 3rd and today the 6th a Speckled Wood over our back garden. Two very late records despite early morning frost.

On the 2nd November a Kingfisher was seen on Hopwood plus a very active Green Woodpecker. With the mild weather Foxgloves and Red Campion are still in flower

With a perfect Autumnal day on the 6th we drove around Bowland and the Hodder Valley. Fieldfares and Redwings are now becoming more numerous and a Kingfisher was watched fishing at Higher Hodder Bridge. Its colours looked even more impressive in the soft sunshine.