Friday, 31 May 2013

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, MISTLE THRUSH AND LINNET

I covered a lot of miles this week at work so had exceded my allotted driving time which meant no work today and an extra day off, five instead of four I do love continental shifts. However the last thing I wanted to do was jump in the car and head out to somewhere. I think a combination of miles covered, O.A.P's driving 40 mph down 60 mph single carriageways (grrrr!) or cyclist cutting up the left hand side down your blind spot as you attempt a left hand turn...frigin' idiot had just meant I had enough driving. The said cyclist gesticulated at me, silly boy, a trucker delight was chucked in his direction (an open UHT milk pot, those small ones you find at services left on the dashboard...very smelly) and a report to my boss via the "How's my driving" number, sadly for the said cyclist we have dash mounted,rear mounted and side mounted cameras fitted it also has a system that shows what lights were switched on the lorry including indicators (insurance demands this due to "crash for cash targetting lorries...guranteed to have insurance) so his complaint was dealt with by the boss in his polite "learn how to cycle you numpty", nice!! I do feel sorry for cyclists it ain't nice out there on Britains road but some cyclists do themselves no favour, if you're ever on a bike and a lorry is indicating left and is sat about two foot from the curb, it's not to allow you to cycle safely past BUT MY TURNING CIRCLE!
So I wanted to clear my head and de-stress ready for the weekend and what better way then a walk, a big walk a 15 mile round trip from my house to Pitsford reservoir (the yacht club end and not the nature reserve) via Moulton village hitting the public footpaths, no people and nice warm weather....just what the doctor ordered.
The first bit from Moulton Magpies Football Club to Spectacle Lane was somewhat uneventful apart from loads of Starlings, a Buzzard and some Swallows and Linnets. As I walked down Spectacle Lane I found/heard a lot of calling from inside an oak tree, Great Spotted Woodpeckers babies problem was there was six possible nesting holes, so using all the birding knowledge I could muster I plumped for the most likely....wrong hole,doh.
I got two shots off through some branches as one woodie came into feed the calling young.
Not my best effort as you can see from the green leaves on the top left. I moved into a more favourable position sadly the woodies had spotted me (guess that's why they're called Great Spotted..sorry) and were coming to a branch near the hole and despite the full mouths they weren't going into feed, my presence was stopping them so I moved on straight away. As I got near the top of the lane I had two choices turn left and go through the field toward Bunker Hill farm or straight on toward the college and take the footpath that would take me onto Pitsford. I opted for Bunkers Hill as the other footpath had been closed last time I drove past (why will be revealed later).
As I walked towards the farm there is this lovely massive set-aside, it's HUGE and covered in lovely wildflowers which had attracted the butterflies, I counted six species, can't name them apart from the Orange Tips, Cabbage White and that's it lol, I wish I had brought a smaller lens as well as the 500mm as apart from a shy Common Whitethroat, a Buzzard in the sun, a very high up Skylark and some Swifts there wasn't many birds until I got to the footpath that runs behind the farm. Here there was more Swallows, a male Kestrel, Mistle Thrush, Linnet, Yellowhammers and House Sparrows. In fact there was a lot of Yellowhammers and Linnets on this section of walk which was a nice surprise.
So I managed some images of the Mistle Thrush in a puddle.....
 The same Mistle Thrush doing it's bit for the environment by sharing it's bath with a Linnet.
 A different Linnet but on it's own.......
The Yellowhammers I struggled to get either close or the ones I did get close enough to had twigs from the hedge's around them, still a lovely bird.
And a female House Sparrow.......
An interesting farm with good numbers of common species and not so common like the Yellowhammer always nice to see, considering some farms get labelled as "not bird friendly" I also counted six separate Skylarks on site, bonus.
The rest of the walk to Pitsford bird wise was uneventful except yet another Buzzard, Crows, Rooks and fly-over Gulls. At Pitsford the most notable bird was a female Kestrel hunting near the car-park and a Kingfisher which being knackered I completely missed.
On the way back I went along the footpath that was "closed" last time I went past the reason.....
It was a massive sett too, it had forced it's way up to the surface of the footpath forming a small "hill" on the footpath, so obviously the council had been securing the footpath....no Badgers but another visit is on the cards for this and Bunkers Hill farm.
Not much in terms of images but a great walk that totally "de-stressed" one self.

6 comments:

  1. A great unwind.
    The Woodpecker is a wonderful shot leaves or no leaves.
    I have never phoned a 'How Is My Driving?'. I'll save that one for a really boring day.

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    1. Thanks Adrian,it was indeed a great way to unwind, as for those "how's my driving" lines you would have to be very bored indeed plus they're like the Stassi for us drivers.

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  2. Ohh!!...I thought that two foot gap was just the trucker's way of being courteous to bike riders and all the arm waving and gesticulating was them showing how friendly they are!! So then, I'd better stop calling those 'how's my driving' numbers to express my thanks and gratitude for those ever so friendly and charming drivers!!

    Seriously though, bike riders (on the road) seem to think that they are protected by an invisible cocoon and are somehow protected from any type of danger! A compulsory bike test might be a good idea!

    Anyway Douglas, it looks like you had a wonderful de-stressing walk and you got some beautiful images, I really like the Mistle Thrush and the Linnet sharing their bath! That set aside field with all the wildflowers must have looked wonderful?...Cabbage White?? tut-tut!!....[;o)

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    1. Thanks Trevor, sadly cyclist are a common occurence in my job, I really want to take one out in a lorry one day and show how big the blind-spot on a 40 tonne lorry is.
      If you think the "cabbage white" id is/was bad wait fro my next post, just make sure nothing valuable/chuckable is nearby:)

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  3. Nothing like a good walk to clear the head! We came across a GSW nest the other day in a small area of woodland near us. Again there were a number of holes which could have been the nest entrance. The parents came back alarm calling so we also moved on quickly. Great to know they are there though! I think your photo of it poking its head out is great! It has character! I like the mistle thrush in the puddle too!

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    1. Thanks Lou, it was odd behaviour by the GSW when I stood there the noise coming from the tree was extremely loud and the adults definately wanted me away from the nest, I reckon the young will fledge soon judging by the volume.

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