Saturday, 30 January 2016

Post 384 - Really Changeable Reserves Challenge Report

Last weekend I got to Quarry Moor near Ripon
Hey Everyone, it's post 384, a bit overdue but it's been a busy week with school and homework as well as of course a great week of Winterwatch! So there's quite a bit to catch up on so sorry if this is a bit of a longer post than usual.

First thing I have to do though is say a massive thank you to everyone again. I entered the UK Blog Awards 2016 and I've had lots of support on twitter and lots of people must have voted for me as I'm now in the finals in both the "Green & Eco" and "Photography" categories! Thank you to everyone who voted for me and made this happen. We have to wait until April to find out who wins but I'm happy now knowing that lots of you guys think my blog is good enough to be a finalist!

So what I have I been up to this last week or so? Well, I've been out and about on some nice walks and managed to get to a few reserves to keep going with my Yorkshire Reserves challenge. Here's a little update of the reserves I've been to:

Quarry Moor

Goldfinch in a thicket
Still Fungus about
I went here last week, it's a fabulous Local Nature Reserve that we walk around quite often.

There were quite a lot of birds around in the trees but with there being no leaves on them they were keeping their distance. Did manage to get a long distance shot of a Goldfinch though. As well as this I saw lots of Chaffinches as well as Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Blackbirds,Wood Pigeons, Jay and probably a few others too. I might have seen a Brambling there but I'm not 100% sure. I see an awful lot there and it's a great place to go to. On an earlier visit, I have seen Willow Tits there too.

I also saw some interesting fungi there. I guess it's because it's so mild that I'm still seeing fungi like this at the moment as I don't normally see anything other than bracket fungus in the winter.  Well it's only a little reserve but it sure delivers!

Pair of Goosanders
Lovely Treecreeper

As it is only little though I also got to have a walk around another bit of Ripon along a river where I go quite often. It was worthwhile too as I saw a lovely Treecreeper and a pair of Goosanders.

Moorlands Nature Reserve:

Arriving at Moorlands
This is a reserve that I went to today. It was quite a surprise actually when I found this one as I have driven past this woodland lots of times but never been down the road where the entrance is so I didn't know that it was a reserve! As it was on the way to another reserve we were heading to we decided to stop and have a look around.Well it was a lovely woodland. It seemed to take 5 minutes but the entire loop took 20 minutes or more! It was really engaging to walk around and I saw lots of nice fungi, there were some on a huge old dead tree that were almost as big as me! One of the things I quite liked about Moorlands is that there are lots of sculptures in the woods, some carved out of old trees
Enormous Fungi!

Sculpture & Fungi

We found the first Snowdrops that I'd seen this year which was exciting, I don't ever recall seeing them quite this early in the year. I also saw a group of Long-Tailed Tits as well high in the trees.

I didn't see many birds but then it was a popular place and there were lots of families around enjoying the woods. I think on a quieter day this place will be alive with all sorts of nature.

At the start of the walk
It's a lovely place.
Askham Bogs

This is another one that we went to today, as it was also on the way to the reserve we wanted to get to.   I have been to it previously as it's quite close to York and sometimes Dad and I go there if Mum is visiting a friend. It's great in the summer as there's lots of insects around, especially dragonflies but  I did like seeing it in the winter too and there was quite a lot of wildlife around still but mainly birds.

Watervole survey
Robin #headshot but too
late for Winterwatch!
I saw a Robin really close up and also loads of Great Tits and Blue Tits, we didn't see the rarest birds but what we did see was beautiful.

There was some nice fungi around as well as some nice signs of Water Voles being around, well it seems there might be as a local college is doing  a count there using a special tunnel that records the footprints of mammals that pass through it. I wasn't lucky enough today to see a Water Vole but I will be going back to watch for them again! It was getting colder and a bit rainy so we kept moving to keep warm!

Wheldrake Ings

Arriving at Wheldrake!
This was the reserve that our family had decided to head to today. Dad wanted to see the Whooper Swans coming in at dusk and Mum wanted to see the Barn Owls. Well York has been very wet and badly flooded this winter and the water was still very high in a few places. There was a lot more water here than I'd seen before. That meant we didn't go far on the reserve as I know it's usually pretty muddy anyway but as the water levels were high I could see lots of birds from quite close to the car park.

A bit wet on way to the car park!

Throughout the day the weather was getting worse and here at Wheldrake Ings it was just before the peak of the bad weather where I managed to break out the telescope and have a look at an awful lot of birds. They were quite a way away but the new telescope did a great job. Now I need to get an attachment to take photos through it.

Don't know what disturbed the birds.

Well what a brilliant place for birds. Teals, Widgeons, Lapwings, Tufted Ducks, Mallards and Golden Plover in minutes. I tried to use Dad's phone to digiscope but sadly, the moment I managed to focus on the birds they all flew away. Not sure what disturbed them but it was quite a display!

Bank Island

Blowy at Bank Island.
Well as it was getting toward dusk we thought we'd move up the road to another reserve, it's pretty much next door but it has an elevated platform where you can watch a huge area. I've seen four Barn Owls from here before out hunting at the same time! It's also where I found the Owl pellets that I dissected in an earlier post.

There were some feeders out with Chaffinches, Robins and Tree Sparrows enjoying a feed. They were doing well though as you can see from my photo it was getting quite windy and wet. Not quite what Chris and Michaela faced last night but quite bad.

Tree Sparrows
Still we went up the platform to have a look around, got the telescope up and saw more tufted ducks, and mallards. We waited for as long as we could stand but this isn't a hide it's just a platform about 20 feet up and it started to snow!

We decided if we didn't like the weather then the Barn Owls probably wouldn't either unless they were very hungry so we packed up and headed home. I will be back another day as this is a great little place and I love Barn Owls!

View from the platform -
wetter than usual!
Well, that's about it for now. I have been recording my visits on a map and I will post that up soon so you can see where I've managed to get to.

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Great post Zach and stunning photos as always! - Tasha