Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Snowy birthday

Saturday February 19th 2011
Whilst t-shirts and shorts were being worn in Dublin on Saturday, in Yorkshire we opened the curtains to snow! Everyone groaned, having all suffered our colds, coughs and flus in the long, drawn out months of minus 0 weather, seeing snow outside was not met with delight.
Sunday was constant rain and Monday was a bit of a wash out too. Tuesday was misty again, but the snow had gone and the rain stayed off. It was my last day at home and I wanted to put some of the local farmland public footpaths to good use.
I walked for about 4 hours without once meeting another human soul - not that I'm a complete anti social but that's how I like my walks - people-less.
On one of my many hedge stops I noticed a House Sparrow which didn't look quite right, hoping for the brown crown and black cheek mark, I was indeed looking at my first Tree Sparrow, finally. It only stayed for about 40 seconds.
Tree Sparrow - my first ever sighting of one, quite a treat.
Walking further along the muddy tracks, I finally arrived at the farm I had wanted to reach. I know you're all probably sick of pics of Red Kites, but I can't stop my admiration for the bird. It's colouring, it's 'gentleness' in flight, the way it doesn't fight back when it's being mobbed, the way it perches, it's calls and it's choice of location matches my own, so here's more photos I'm afraid.
Red Kite perched on branch over farmhouse
cropped of last image - Red Kite

There were 4 Red Kites, only the one above had an orange tag (yorkshire) with 21 on the left wing. At the bottom of the tag I can't see another coloured bar so I'm assuming it's a 2005 tagged bird.
2005 tagged Yorkshire '21'. 6 years old.
Whilst in the area I also got my first sighting of a Stock Dove. I was at the top of a hill checking out the Red Kites when a pigeon lookalikey starting flying in big circular laps. The lack of the unmistakable white patches on the wings of wood pigeons struck me and I wondered if it was a Stock Dove - lack of white anywhere ruled out dodgey pigeon too, so below are photos of my first Stock Dove, complete with black wing markings, no white at all and grey, plain underwings. Again, finally - I've been looking out for a Stock Dove for ages.

Stock Dove - my first ever.
Hopefully in Spring or Summer I'll be able to re-visit this area and get better light for even more Red Kite shots! I'm sure you can't wait.

Red Kite being watched over by Jackdaws
See how close the Jackdaw gets to the Red Kite, they just seemed to jump in closer and closer, the Red Kite just ignored them.
Eventually the light was getting dark and I had a bit of a walk to get home, so I left the birds to it after a very satisfying last day at home.
Red Kite calling goodbye (or so I'd like to think).