Across first Meadow Pool.
The Lonning towards the hide.
Second Meadow Pool.
Nosy guest cattle.
Pied Wagtail with Cranefly.
Reed Bunting on Lonning hedgerow.
Sandhills towards the Solway.
Sedge Warbler - Black and White sketch.
Sedge Warbler in colour.
Skiddaw from Whitrigg Marsh.
Stonechat on Bowness Common - a sketch.
Swallow catching the last of the sun's rays.
Tawny Owl up in the barn rafters, under the skylight.
Towards the hide across the wetland.
Sketch of the Wampool estuary.
Water Lily pool from the boardwalk.
Glade in birch woodland - on the path to the Moss.
Not a great deal happening from the hide at midday. Birds were generally quiet: a few Larks, Herons, Crows and spiralling Sparrowhawk.
Then from the far Moss, a grey bird appeared coming straight towards the hide. We initially took it to be a Heron but it soon resolved itself to be a Hen Harrier. It eventually passed within a hundred yards of the hide whilst quartering the wetland … and became clearly identifiable as a male. The whole incident seemed a bit unusual for this time of the year as this was a mature bird and there had been no previous regular sightings of either male or female activity over the past few months.
This bird dropped quickly into deep reeds and meadow grass on two occasions - each time staying for a few minutes - but on rising clearly had no prey. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that it was hunting to feed itself and not young. The Harrier was harassed by a Carrion Crow (which was nesting nearby) for a while before it returned passed the hide and disappeared into the distance.
Judith managed to get some reasonable record shots over the twenty minutes of its activity.
Early June - Summer has officially arrived … monsoons of rain; tornados of wind; flooding that would frighten even Noah; caravans and tents being swept away; agricultural shows being flattened; seaside promenades under three feet of water and lashed by waves. Hello! but we don’t mind, we’re British - we have to get on with it! Birds and animals have to do this all the time and very successful they are, too.
We walked out onto the Reserve early yesterday morning, after a day and night of more or less solid rain - the sun just beginning to break through and the wind having dropped. The air was humid. Through the farm buildings and along the Lonning, all the birds were singing, drinking, and bathing in the puddles would you believe! - preening their soaking feathers in the early morning sun. Even the Moorhens and Grebe were spending their time preening and rearranging their feathers - Wagtails and Swallows catching the early rise of insects.
The wetlands from the hide were a spectacular sight: buttercups, reeds and rushes … have never seen the place look so green with foliage! The calls of the Lapwings routinely chasing Crows and Black-headed Gulls which were intent on mobbing the Herons. Small parties of Teal and Mallard doing ‘circuits and bumps’ just for the sheer joy of it.
It brought to mind Wordworth’s wonderful lines:
"A ‘Birder’ could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company"
- I think, or something like that anyway! … and it would be much the same at Ullswater this morning, which isn’t far from here. Although there is some debate as to whether he wrote this about Ullswater or Rydal - we may never know!
But these birders were much too busy to speculate on such matters. What with Judith swinging the big lens into action at every movement in the hedgerows. How could we not wish to record such a wonderful morning after a night of storms - and pass on to you all the good news from Campfield.
We hope the photographs speak for themselves!
Singing male Chaffinch
Rather wet-looking Robin.
But nevermind, there was obviously an abundance of food with which to feed its young.
Another cheery male - this time a Dunnock.
Male Reed Bunting.
A rather silent and twitchy Whitethroat.
Very wet Tree Sparrow - possibly after a morning bath!
One of a pair of Bullfinch seen picking amongst the vegetation on the track.
Hare amongst lush meadow herbage.
Inquisitive calf - guest flock.
Pied Wagtail pair on farm buildings.
. . . taking advantage of the plentiful supply of flying insects.
Swallow with nesting material.
Roe Deer on mudflats.
Stag surveying the saltmarsh.