Ring-necked Parakeets

We had a knock on the door this afternoon from our neighbour to let us know that 2 parakeets were in their garden.

I quickly grabbed my camera, put the long lens on it and pushed my way through some of our bushes and got as close as I could to our fence….

Ring-necked Parakeet

and there they were, on the peanut bird feeders. I didn’t see this one reach through to get any peanuts…

Ring-necked Parakeet

and the shape of their beaks meant that they really struggled to get anything through the holes in this feeder .

Ring-necked Parakeet

According to the RSPB the male should have a pink collar – hence the name, Ring-necked Parakeet, but I couldn’t see anything like that so perhaps they are not a breeding pair.

The first full weekend in April

On Saturday I spent a few minutes building some small layered Ingress fields at Ferniehurst Dell; I also took my camera. In the Dell, in the past, I have seen Woodpecker, Jay, Blackbird, Robin, Mistle Thrush and a few others. But one of the interesting things next to the Dell are the hedges – the ones near the bowling green.

When you were younger I bet you saw House Sparrows all the time, and by younger I mean all those where it means a little further back than last week. Between 1977 and 2008 the numbers of House Sparrows fell be 71% so now, to see them, you have to know where to look. Some of you may be lucky enough to have Sparrows in the garden but for many that is no longer happening and believe it or not the House Sparrow is now a Red listed bird according to the RSPB and is a protected species.

House Sparrow

The back garden wall of the house I grew up in looked out over a disused airfield where a couple of the hangers were used to store grain. As a result Sparrows were plentiful. The hedges at Baildon Bowling Green and the hedges next to the playing field on Cliffe Lane West are places where you can see Sparrows now.

House Sparrow

Sparrows like to have dust baths and water baths and the path behind the bowling green is an excellent place for that. Some of the sparrows looked clean and well groomed while others looked decidedly grey.

On Sunday I walked up to the centre of Baildon to have a talk with the Neighbourhood Policing Team who had set themselves up in the car park of the Co-op. I took my camera.

Part of Baildon Neighbourhood Policing Team

They are a friendly bunch but I am sure they can put the charm to one side as the need arises. We talked about home security and the need to report things that are seen. 999 for a crime actually in progress and 101, or on-line, to report things. They often have patrols out but if things are not called in then they can’t respond appropriately.

Part of Baildon Neighbourhood Policing Team

We also talked about some of the things that are a bit more obscure for a neighbourhood team, things such as the protection of nesting birds on Baildon Moor, some of which are Schedule 1 listed, and the flying of powered craft on the moors.

On the walk back home I spotted a couple of things that made me think it would have been nice to have my long lens with me, but walking around Baildon centre with it would have been silly.

Mouse

I was a little surprised to spot this mouse poking its nose out of the wall of the path going down to Flower Mount. I don’t mean surprised that it was there but surprised that I managed to see it and even more surprised to get a shot of it. And “Yes”, there is a mouse in the centre of the photo, honest, but you have to look closely.

Wren with nesting material

And then on the wall near the back of Crowtrees Cottage I spotted a Wren with nesting material. The Wren is still the most common UK breeding bird. Given the numbers of flocks of Gold Finch, Green Finch, Long Tailed Tit and Jackdaws I see around this surprises me. Spotting a Wren is not easy. You can see now why it would have helped if I had my long lens; I was probably closer to them than I was to the Sparrows on Saturday.

Back to 22 March – an earlier walk on Baildon Moor

On my first visit to Baildon Moor in 2018 another photographer interested in wildlife (Danny Virr) pulled up beside me on the road having spotted me putting my camera gear away. We had a natter and agreed that sometime in the future I would show him a bit of Baildon Moor. And that’s what happened on Thursday 22 March. It was a quiet day, for me anyway.

Robin

We started off at the Glovershaw end, near the cattle grid, and went north with the wall on our left. The fields over the wall had quite a few Lapwing but they were not particularly active or noisy. We could also hear the odd Curlew in the near distance. We carried on round to where the wooden huts are in the field and spotted this Robin in one of the trees next to them. We had been hoping to see Stoat in the dry-stone walls but no such luck.

Baildon Moor

We then walked along having the view shown above and past The White House, then Moorside (no little owls spotted on route) and headed down towards Gill Beck. I was just saying that we were in the area where we could expect to see deer.

Roe Deer

And that is exactly what happened as we looked down the slope. The fuzzy bit at the front of the photo is the slope we had just got to the top of. Three Roe Deer were at the bottom. Unfortunately one of them had just wandered behind the bushes.

Roe Deer

Roe Deer

Roe Deer

We then walked along the beck and across the field to the White House and along the path towards Sconce Scout Camp.

Roe Deer

As we got towards the scout camp a walker was crouched down holding his dog and told us that deer were just below.

Roe Deer

Both a buck and a doe wandered past.

Red Grouse

Retracing our step we then came across Red Grouse. This one looks as though he should be on a whisky bottle label.

Skylark

We also saw Skylark on the golf course. I had struggled in the past to tell the difference between Meadow Pipit and Skylark, especially when you only catch a glimpse as they fly away. But when they stick their crests up like this it is obviously a Skylark.

Golden Plover

Back around by Golcar and Glovershaw we had a natter with Paul King, a fellow member of Bradford Ornithological Group, and heard a Snipe over towards Golcar. We also saw a flock of 40 or so Golden Plover, some of which are above.

Baildon

Soon after that I left Danny so that he could get some fish and chips (I have yet to hear if they were any good) and so I could go and rest my legs. 8:00am until 4:00pm is enough for me. Here he had just been taking some photos of the Red Grouse that I have used as the featured image at the top.

Snow in our garden

A couple of times this winter we have had a little bit of snow covering the ground. I therefore decided to put some food out for the ground feeding birds. I know Robins are often shown in snow and are the iconic Xmas card bird but they still need to feed. A few inches of snow for a few days can make it dificult for them. I usually have some food in suspended feeders for Green finch, Goldfinch, Blue-tit, Great-tit etc. but what were the Robins or Blackbirds going to do?

The bushes were covered so it was essential to provide food in the feeders and ground feeders would also need food. So I threw some bird food and a few nuts out onto the snow.

Blackbird

A lot of Blackbirds came to feed.

Including ones that looked as though they were visitors from Europe for the winter.

Dunnock

Dunnock also looked as though they were happy with the food on the ground.

Wood pigeon

Wood pigeon strutted about the place letting the Blackbird fight amongst themselves – spending more time chasing each other off than feeding.

Blue Tit

Blue tits and similar birds tended to stay up with the feeders but occasionally fed on the ground.

Rat

But what I seriously did not want to be feeding in the garden was this character. I know we have some dry stone walls and out buildings and trees around us but I still don’t want these in the garden. Unfortunately, if I am feeding the birds I am also going to be feeding these things.

Baildon Moor – Sunday 25 March 2018

My last posting was about my first walk on Baildon Moor of 2018. I have been up there a couple of times since then and this is about my walk on Sunday 25 March. I will be posting some words and photos about my walk on Thursday but that will have to wait until I have sorted the photos.

One of the things I enjoyed about my visit was being able to sit on the edge of the fairways and watch and listen to Skylark.

Skylark

It was great to see them lifting their crests as they ran about the grass picking up and eating insects every few paces.

Skylark

Skylark

They only had to walk a few paces before finding another insect. Hearing them high in the sky singing away is one of the things I love about Spring and Summer.

It’s a shame that I have to mention it but during the nesting season dogs should be on short leads. Plenty of people do and I saw one man with his dog on a lead running with it to get the stick he was throwing.  Not like one young man with two small dogs, he had their leads in his back pocket and when he spotted some grouse in the heather he directed his dogs towards them. Another couple seemed to particularly target the greens with Skylark on them when throwing the ball for their dog.

I was on the edge of the path looking towards the wall and the field beyond hoping to see the Pheasant I had heard, or to see Stoat in the wall. Something prompted me to take my camera off my monopod and I am pleased I did.

Pheasant (1 dark)

I did see a couple of Pheasant. The neck on the nearer of these two has just a lighter band of feathers, it is not a definite white band like on the other one. Also its body is much darker.

I then had a rather uncomfortable encounter with a dog. A woman with 3 dogs came around the corner and up the incline. When one of the dogs saw me it ran at me barking, trailing its lead behind it and sounding very aggressive. As it got closer I got a firm hold of my monopod ready to protect myself. The dog finally took some notice of the woman and ran off round the corner. As she passed I told her that I didn’t like being frightened by dogs. No Comment. But when she got round the corner she did apologise to the couple with a baby in a back pack that the dog barked at. With my angry hat on what it seemed she meant was “Sorry that I have not been able to train my dog to behave and sorry that I am not taking any action to stop that bad behaviour or protect you from it.” What probably happened is that she was relaxed thinking she was on her own and the dog saw me, got away, and misbehaved for a few seconds. She was most likely hurrying off round the corner to get her dog instead of trying to mollify some strange man with a long stick in his hand.

In that area of the moor are quite a few bell pits and some of them fill with water. The dry ones look as though the bracken and grass has been flattened with several narrow trampled paths leading to them. I assume this is done by deer. I hope it is not done by people; the water has drained away somehow which suggests to me that the “bell” is still open beneath.

Frog Spawn

Quite a few of the water filled ones had masses of frog spawn in them. And I mean masses. This photo does not do the volume of it justice.

Frog

And I guess this is one of the frogs responsible.

Heading back round towards Glovershaw I could still hear Curlew and Lapwing making their weird calls. Further North West I could also hear the chuck, chuck, chuck of a Snipe. I hope to see and hear Snipe thrumming later in the Spring.

Redkite

This Redkite is one of the reasons for the Lapwing making a noise. If they came low then dozens of Crows and Lapwing would take to the air to “dive bomb” it to send it on its way.

Buzzard

A pair of Buzzards also flew around for a few minutes but they tended to be higher up the slopes of the moor and didn’t seem to interfere with the Lapwing. The larger of these two is most likely the female. The size difference is often as much as 30% and very noticeable .

Kestrel

Kestrel were also hovering over one of the fields of longer grass. I saw it dive a few times. It usually pulled up before getting to the grass. On the times it did get to the grass I didn’t see it take off with anything. Further round the path I did find a Red Grouse with its head missing and a lot of chest feathers on the ground around it but that would be too big for a Kestrel.

Redkite

A Redkite hovered above the area for a couple of circuits but then flew off.

Lapwing

Obviously recovering quickly from a Redkite fly-by the Lapwing then got on with what they come onto the moors to do. This pair will hopefully lay and hatch a chick or two following their mating.

Curlew

Most Curlew, when they came in to land, were just too far away and were difficult to spot, but this one was a little closer and I managed to get it in frame as it landed.

Buzzy plane

Buzzy plane

In my previous posting I started with a mention of someone flying a drone. This time I’ll finish with people flying powered planes. I assume they were being flown from the top of the moor but were buzzing over as far as the edge of Golcar Farm. I’m not sure what the Lapwing would do if they felt threatened by them but the Skylark seemed to keep out of the sky when they were buzzing around, unless it was that I just couldn’t hear them over the whine.

Powered flight is not allowed by the land owner, CBMDC, and given the two incidents mentioned in the booklet about the history of the golf club I can understand why not. You can read the words from the booklet here.

As usual the photos are stored on flickr and you can see larger copies there. There are also several other photos of the Redkite, Kestrels and Buzzards in the same album here.

Buzzard

Admittedly I have put most of the album photos in this posting but here is a Buzzard to tempt you to go have a look.