Wildlife at Work

Just a quick update really as I have started working 5 days a week photos and getting out and about is limited. But spotting and seeing wildlife isn’t! Fortunately for me I work outside with horses at the college I went to, it got lots of lovely open spaces, meadows and woods! So whenever I am out an about on the yard or poo picking (glamorous) I am always on the lookout for wildlife. I used to say to my good friend ‘I should have a tv show called Wildlife at work or birding with Louise’ as when I spot something I’m always pointing it out as quite often it goes unseen!

So the wildlife I’ve seen at work this summer includes:

  • The swallows nesting in the stables.
  • House martins flying around
  • Kestrel
  • Plenty of Red kites!
  • Pied wagtail
  • Ring necked parakeets
  • Green woodpecker
  • Collared doves
  • Chaffinch
  • Loads of crows and pigeons!
  • Wren
  • Fox – spotted at about 10.30am!
  • and lastly this week a Little Owl!!!!!

Personally the Little Owl is a highlight for me, I’ve only every caught a glimpse of a Barn Owl hunting at dusk from a car and have always wanted to see a Little Owl. I thought I saw a the owl last Sunday when it flew out in front of me, a bit confused at the strange bird I thought it looked owl like but wasn’t 100% certain. But on Monday I found out indeed it was the little owl. I was casually going into a field to help catch two ponies when on a fence post nearby I saw the little owl! I stopped and just started gobsmacked at how close I was and the face I was staring face to face (well I was more looking down on) the little owl! It bobbed up and down and flew to a tree and watch me from there where I was getting the attention of Goshia I was whispered ‘An owl, an owl there is a little owl over here!’. As Goshia was walking over, it flew back to the post looked at me once more before going back to the tree and then flying off. I must say I wish I had my camera but I’m very happy just with the encounter!

In the same field again today I was poo picking and must have spooked the owl from its hiding spot as it flew out the trees and across the field!

I think I may take my camera to work on Sunday and sit out in the field at lunch to see if the Little Owl is around!Β 

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Finland: 21/04/14 – Day 5

It’s freezing in the hide this morning, I am currently watching out the window – there is nothing apart from gulls and ravens….oh and one wagtail πŸ™‚

We got picked up and drove back to the centre, we dropped our bags off and went over for breakfast. Whilst eating breakfast Kari (the professional photographer) spotted a wolverine in the trees near the yard! It moved around a bit and then tried to get into some feed bags near a shed, which was rather amusing watching it tug away. On the way out from breakfast it was still there so managed to get a closer look! We sat outside for awhile to see if it would come back, when we had our cameras. It didn’t come back, but I did managed to get a blurry blob of a creature taken on my phone.

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Afterwards we napped, went on a walk to the lake, came back and sat by the bird area where we saw a brambling, great spotted woodpecker and a red squirrel. We then had lunch and headed out for the hide for the night!

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Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

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Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

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Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

We waited quite awhile then the bears came! yay, the light was beautiful so I was rather chuffed! πŸ™‚ Whilst waiting for the bears I did a bit of biding and saw white wagtail, green sandpiper and lapwing.

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Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

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Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)

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White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

The three bears stayed till dark which in when we went to sleep.

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Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

Finland: 17/04/2014 – Day 1

Woke up feeling refreshed after all the traveling the day before, we looked out the window this morning and was fascinated by the amount of snow we could see! We could also see a frozen lake and it all looks very pretty. Stepped outside in my pj’s, I must say my first reaction was that it was a little bit nippy. Once showered, dressed, fed and watered (sugar and salt water is yucky….I was dehydrated still), we went to explore.

The snow is very deep, it comes up to my knees, wow!!. The scenery it very pretty, its lovely so much snow and so many trees!. The snow is also like ice not soft and fluffy, we explored opposite the centre down a path before trying to get down to the lake but found the snow got deeper and deeper so decided to backtrack.

After our explore, we packed our camera bags and rested until lunch (3pm…odd lunch time?). I think I may have eaten reindeer not sure what the burger meat was, tasted different but nice, with carrots, potatoes and salad.

At 4pm we set off to the hide! Started off in a jeep then swapped onto a snowmobile which was fun! I think I enjoyed that part a little too much. As soon as we got to the hide we had only just walked through the door and a bear had already come! Crazy!. The bears stayed a few hours, drifted away before coming back again. We saw 3 bears at once it was unbelievable, they are not as big as I would have thought either. We also saw a number of white tailed eagles too! They are huge!!!

Other birds seen today include: Great tit, marsh tit, bullfinch, chaffinch, crows, ravens and great spotted woodpecker.


I got trigger happy and took over 800 pictures (oops) so here is a couple πŸ™‚

P.s – I will write next one in a couple of days time πŸ™‚


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Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

White Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

 

 

A spring walk – 12/03/14

Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk to Rickerby Park (I was debating about going for a walk this way or along the Caldew but opted for Rickerby seeing as I haven’t been there in awhile. So off I trotted, in a world of my own until I reached the grassy path, I then went on the lookout for birds, or anything I could find.

After walking for about 20 minutes, I had a little tapping coming from a tree above me, I looked up to scan for what was making the noise and found a pair of nuthatches tapping on the branches. I struggled to keep an eye on them, as they kept moving and flying about, but here’s a picture I did manage to get. (I also received a few looks from people walking past, who were trying to figure out what was so interesting in the tree)

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Moving on I headed along a path by the river near the owl and kestrel boxes, walking along I heard the familiar sound of a woodpecker drumming, grinning away to myself I walk along peering up at the trees, to see where the noise was coming from. Soon enough I spotted a flash of red at a top of a tree, and saw the Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming away. No sooner had I saw it, it moved to another tree. Staying were I was, I waited to see if it would come back the original tree, moving slightly to get a better view of the branches, it soon flew back, drummed again and then another woodpecker came along, they flew off to the other side of the river bank before returning minutes later zipping above and around my head – I must have looked a right one grinning and beaming away to myself at the pure joy of the site of woodpeckers. Next thing I know a third pecker comes along, there’s a lot of noise at this point they all fly off disappear for a bit come back fly above my head a few more times and zip across to the other side of the park, I hear more drumming noises and move along the path a little bit towards a bench to see where they went. About 5 minutes later two woodpeckers return to a nearby tree, and then another 2 and all 4 fly off in the same direction! I think my grin was spreading across my face even more at this point because I couldn’t believe it, 4 peckers at once! Flying quite close to me too!

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Happy with this, I set off to walk back home looking up at the trees once more and caught site of a pair of peckers mating…

So yeah that was my walk yesterday! Also saw chaffinch, blue and great tits and loads of frogs….:)ImageImage

Update

Finally got round to writing and posting a blog, will do a quick roundup/update with a couple of pictures.

Before breaking up for Christmas, I went out for a walk and spotted a Kingfisher, fieldfare and Redwings. My kingfisher shot is yet again a flying blurry picture, but hey you can tell it is one! I also went for a number of walks but didn’t seem much apart from, gulls, goosander and herons. I didn’t get out as much as I’d have liked to, or as far because of assignments and my leg playing up from a summer horse riding injury.

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Christmas holidays I worked for the majority of it as well as visiting family and going to Suffolk for the New Year. It was nice to get back to work with the horses and see the wildlife at work, had the pleasure of a fox darting out in front of us and running across the outdoor school whilst bringing horses in which was a pleasant surprise! Along with numerous encounters with the Red Kites, Pied Wagtail and Egyptian goose. On my last day I also spotted a buzzard in a tree from one of the fields where I was catching a horse in, which is a first at work.Β  It’s a shame that I don’t get to photograph these encounters at work and always kick myself for not being able to have it on me but alas it’s just not practical.

On one of my days off I went looking for the foxes but was not lucky this time, although did see one dart across the road at 9pm one night. I also went to the Tower of London, to stake and see the Tower of London itself.IMG_9853

Although when in Suffolk we did see a fox, quite a way away, also saw redwing, fieldfare, blue and great tits, robins and collard doves.

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So that’s my update, I have also been asked for one of my pictures to be published in a Canadian magazine so will keep updated with that. I also designed a website for a module at university and hope to send it live so will upload some sneak previews soon.

Hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and New Year!

Exploring Carlisle

Seeing as I am in a different house this year at university I have started to explore parts I didn’t last year because of the convenience of them being closer and I am not so worried about becoming lost as much as I was. I took out a canon 7D from the AV at university to play with for a week to get a feel for other models rather than using my 500D. So over the weekend I visited the cemetery as after speaking to a local couple a few weeks ago they told me where to find the red squirrels and what else was around wildlife wise in the area. The only graveyard/cemetery I have ever been to are the really small ones next to churches and wow was I stuck when I stepped through the gates. It was beautiful and very well kept and what was nice as well they had conservation areas for wildlife within the cemetery too! After a bit of wandering around a man asked me what wildlife I was looking for and he pointed me in the direction of the red squirrels and a few minutes later he came running to find me to say he’s just seen one and to show me where :). I came across the feeding area just around the corner and saw more reds along with plenty of birds. I explored more and chatted with more people who told me about the wildlife they have seen in the cemetery.

Just before I left going over a bridge I watched a red squirrel scurry about, drink from the stream and then leap over to the other side to forage for food.

As odd as this sounds, but I think I’ll be spending more time in the cemetery!

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Summer Wildlife

I was meant to write and post this at the end of the summer when I had finished working but somehow never got round to it.

I worked most of the summer but working didn’t limit the wildlife I saw.

At the beginning of the summer I had 2 weeks where I wasn’t working, during these weeks I spent my time getting up early and looking for foxes and deer in the park and forest just a few moments walk from where I live. I also visited various reserves/wildlife places just to explore and see what was around. I also spent time photographing the Great Spotted Woodpeckers and their young before they fled.

Then the work began and the photography had to take a bit of a backseat, alas the wildlife spotting did not. I am very fortunate where I work to it be incredibly wildlife-y. Over the summerΒ  I have lost count of the endless amounts of Red Kites I see soaring over the field whilst poo-picking – whilst nobody else notices I do and stop and look in awe all the time. Out hacking I managed to see two foxes playing in the mid-afternoon sun, I have been lucky enough to see a harvest mouse as well whilst out at work. Whilst at work unable to photograph I made a bird list of the birds seen at work and some of these are; Red kite, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, parakeet, pied wagtail, goldfinch, swallow, swift, house martin and kestrel. Each time I spotted a new bird to add to the list it got me more and more hyped up about discovering more wildlife around the grounds. The majority of the time I did wish I could stop what I was doing, click my fingers to make the camera appear and get snapping!

When work came to an end I focused again on the wildlife this time I wasn’t lucky with the foxes but did manage a hedgehog!

So that was my summer! I am now back at University for the 2nd year searching for the wildlife up here πŸ™‚