Thursday, 5 April 2012

Grange-Over sands Holiday day 5

The last day of the holiday. we were sad to leave, but at least it was nice for the last day. Even so, it was still cold, so my hands went numb taking down the orning, and moving the caravan.
We decided to go to Sizergh castle national trust, which seemed like a nice place when we pulled in. What we hadn't realised is that this place has a reasonable population of hawfinches that are, apparently, reliable, but that we were a bit too late for us to have a reasonable chance of seeing them. It did however have a bird feeding station where they had occurred before, so that's the first place I went. Mainly they were supposed to live in the hornbeams at the back of the car park, but only really in the morning, so when we arrived at 11, chances are that we were not going to see one.
At the bird feeding station there were plenty of nice birds. Besides the average garden birds there were a pair of bullfinches and a nuthatch that regularly came down from the trees.

-Female Bullfinch

-Male Bullfinch

-Bullfinch and Nuthatch


Other birds nearby included a chiffchaff, that was singing whilst catching insects in a holly tree and the tops of other trees.


Besides the car park, the hawfinches apparently live behind the visitor center, and there were less people there, so that's where I went next. It was difficult looking up into the tall trees with the sun in my eyes, meaning everything was just a black silhouette. However there were other birds more interesting than some potential hawfinches

First on the agenda were a pair of goldfinches that landed around 5 meters from me and started killing each other. They diddnt even seem to notice me as I stood there taking photos, and one eventually won the fighjt by flipping the other oto its back and then pecking its breast until it surrended. They then began to play cat and mouse in the tree tops where I couldnt really see with the camera.

I made my way down to the main lake to see if there were any bird down there. There was a coot and a moorhen that i spotted, but on the stairs down I spotted this long-tailed tit carrying nest material. Once again, it was quite bold and diddnt seem to mind that I was just stood there, until it flew into a hedge and then off.

-Long-Tailed Tit

I couldnt find anything in trhe hedge that could possibly be a nest, however, the hedge was blooming so there were a few early insects around, inlcuding this rather handsome tawney coloured bee, of which I have no idea of its I.D


I made my way back up to the feeding station to see if anything was there hawfinch wise. It wasnt, but there were some other garden birds that i decided to take photos of, just incase photos of that species were missing from my library should I ever need to use them.


After there I headed up a nearby lane lined with hornbeams to see if there were any hawfinches up there, but it was not to be.

After lunch I headed back down to the lake to see what was going on down there. It turns out that there were actually too coots, and that they had a nest, and the reason I hadn't seenm the other originally is because it was sat on the nest. The one "on patrol" at the time I was there the second time clearly disliked mallards. This mallard had a torrid time, sleeping peacefully before being chased and violently awoken. It then slept under a low tree, before swimming out again, before being attacked by the other coot and then making a runner.

-Coot Vs Mallard
However, there was a bird species that I missed completely on my original visit, a dabchick. And to rub salt in the wound, there were too. I clearly needed to leave hawfinch world and focus on the other lovely birds around. The dabchicks were really shy and stayed under some plants for most of the time, but at one point were out in the open, so I could het some photos. The coots diddnt seem to mind these as much as the mallard.

-Dab/Little Grebe
And to make sure they dont feel left out, I included a photo of the coot, in one of its calmer moments.


And so ends the grnage holiday, which was been really nice, and I have seen lots of really nice things, and it was a perfect way to end it, even though i dipped on hawfinch.

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