January, 2011

Campfield Marsh

Campfield Marsh
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Campfield Marsh

  • 'Twas in the Deep Midwinter

    Icy Solway Estuary during the Big Freeze by John Rogers

    14th December

    After a short thaw, snow and freezing conditions returned

    On an icy cold dawn three Longtailed Tits came into feed on nut hanger.

    15th December

    Wigeon flying in onto icy pools on farm

    Buzzard  watching from a vantage point at the end of the causeway - North Plain Farm

    Geese overflying a steadily freezing up Reserve

    20th December

    The cold weather was beginning to bite

     Five Moorhen were roosting at the edge of garden orchard early morning. Interestingly, they were all facing outwards in a circle, as do partridge..

    21st December

    Frozen Saltmarsh at Campfield

    Fox hunting along the marsh dubs

    I'd been spotted

    Moonrise over a frozen marsh on the Solstice by John Rogers

    23rd December

    The freeze deepens and Iceflows begin to build up on the estuary

    Link to video clip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46441928@N07/5285790006/

    23rd December

    Seven Longtailed Tits this  time, on garden feeders

    24th December

     Today. however, a Water Rail which had been previously seen in the field drain which runs behind West Common hamlet, made its way under the cover of ditchside vegetation, to one of the garden feeding stations. It was very nervous of humans but seemed to tolerate other birds feeding there.

    Water Rail on ditchside

    Water Rail with Robin and Chaffinch

    Water Rail picking seed under birdtable

    Water Rail and Blackbirds feeding alongside each other

    25th December

    Woodcock had been seen frequenting Campfield Marsh roadside verges and had been visiting adjacent gardens in daylight now for several days. As many as ten were observed on one occasion, proddling in leaf litter under trees, for worms and other invertebrates.

    Woodcock proddling in newly disturbed soil of this molehill whilst most of the ground round about was frozen solid.

    Magpie was curious about the Woodcock's activities and even seemed to be copying ground probing action at one stage.

    Woodcock alarmed by a fox which crossed the lawn nearby

    Fox crossing lawn and totally ignoring the Woodcock which was sitting nearby

    Magpies also interested in leaf litter under snow as a source of food when conditions generally were so hard.

    26th December

    Water Rail appeared again along ditchside and seemed to feed more connfidently on food put out for the garden birds

    Water Rail wandering about on edge of garden lawn

    Perfect camouflage amongst the vegetation.

    Striding out along ditchside

    Water Rail in resting mode

    Picking about under birdtable with other birds

    Picking at fallen seed

    Gulping down the boiled buttered potatoes that had been put out for the birds

    27th December

    Water Rail still feeding the next day, further into the garden, with other birds 

    Water Rail not at all phased by a range of larger birds.

    The freezing conditions and availability of food had made it more confident.

    28th December

    The thaw sets in at last and the Woodcock and Water Rail presumably returned to their usual haunts on the Reserve

    "Moonrise over the saltmarsh"  by John Rogers

  • Early Winter Photo Diary - 24/11 to 9/12/2010

    The first Snow - Campfield Marsh

    24th November

    After a frosty night, the morning dawned very cold and sunny. We were greeted with some splendid displays of aerial manoeuvring by, in the region of a 1000 waders, flying up and down the estuary over the mudflats - as the tide came in.


    26th November

    The Big Freeze continued. The pools and wetlands at North Plain farm have been frozen over for a few days now. 11 Whoopers were in evidence mid afternoon, sitting out on the ice in front of the wood. These visitors from the Tundra seemed quite at home in these conditions. They made good viewing from the hide for the visitors collected there.


    Swans resting on ice

    Swan stretching its wings

    Up to 4 Hen Harriers have been regularly seen from the hide, hunting over the wetlands and raised moss areas. Today a pair were observed, late afternoon.

    Hen Harrier hunting over wetland pastures

    Small groups of Brambling have also been seen feeding with Chaffinches and Tree Sparrows in nearby gardens.

    Brambling feeding with Chaffinches under seed hangers


    27th November

    A heavy fall of snow overnight, transformed the landscape. Birds and mammals, however, would be finding it hard obtaining food under this cover of snow. This Robin was relying on seed and scraps put out for it on birdtables.

    2nd December

    As the freezing conditions continue and snow still lays on the ground, this Magpie could be seen eating snow, presumably as a source of water.

    3rd December

    The field drain between our garden and Reserve had frozen overnight. Early this morning we noticed  four Woodcock had come into the bottom of the garden and were proddling about in the leaf litter there, under the trees. Initially a couple of Magpies,, who frequent the garden, tried to harrass them but they were soon sent packing. The Woodcock continued to feed undisturbed. We assumed that their regular sources of food had become unavailable due to the ground freezing and that they were looking for alternate easier pickings in softer ground. Their success rate of invertebrates from under the leaf litter could be seen to be high.

    Four Woodcock feeding early in the morning. A Bullfinch can be seen in the background watching them 

    4th December

    With the continuing freezing conditions, ice flows were starting to build up on the estuary. A flock of grey waders landed on the tideline at high tide. Some of the birds could be seen coming in on the small ice flows.

    6th December

    Waxwings had been reported in Cumbria over the last number of weeks - but not here, however. This morning a neighbour in the hamlet rang to say he had four on his apple tree. Had barely got settled down to photograph them when one of our local Magpies decided to come and chase them off. So ended up with one rather poor record shot as they flew off into nearby trees - never to return.


    8th December

    Numbers of Woodcock feeding in the garden on a  daily basis has now peaked at ten. They are probably roosting here at night too

    One of those ten

    9th December

    Last day of this freeze up. As the thaw sets in, Woodcock depart -  hopefully back to the Reserve!

  • A Winter's Day - 28th November 2010

    Winter Solway, painting by John Rogers

    After a good fall of snow and subsequent freezing condition Campfield Marsh and the Solway looked spectacular. Truly a Winter Wonderland.

    Snow clouds over Scotland 

    Imminent snow

    A wintery marsh

    Frozen marsh towards the viaduct

    Criffel in winter sunshine

    Frozen Dubs and Criffel

    Icy Pool

    Frozen mudflats