Since it was my parents 24 wedding anniversary we decided to go for a trip up to the lake district. The day started badly when I dragged myself out of bed at 6.30, only to realise half way through breakfast that it was 5.30. However, once we got to Derwentwater the day picked up considerably. First we went for a walk around the side of Derwentwater to get the day started. We did not go far, only as far as the first field. On the walk through the woods we encountered only a nuthatch, though a woodpecker was calling somewhere around us.
At the field we stopped to have a rest and a look around. I explored the small marsh next to the reeds to see what there was about. There were a lot of common blue damselflies, including some in tandem.
-Common Blue Damselfly
As I sat down after the exploration of the marsh the woodpecker was heard calling in the tree directly behind us. It then flew over us and into the wet woodland for about 5 minuets before flying back and landing again in the tree behind us. There we saw that it had a chick, which it called to, before flying back to the flooded woodland, where the chick followed it.
-Greater Spotted Woodpecker
It was lunchtime by the time we returned, so we set up in the park and then me, brother and dad went into town to pick up lunch. When I got back my mum pointed out a juvenile blackbird feeding on berries in the tree above our picnic site.
After a bit, when I had wandered off to get my drink from the car and returned, my dad pointed out a male blackbird sunbathing on the opposite side of the lawn. Since it was so open, I decided to commando crawl towards it to get quite close. I managed to get quite close before it was scared off by some people asking me about it. Either way, its the most spectacular sunbathe I have seen from a blackbird.
Through lunch the juvenile blackbird we met earlier also started sunbathing at the bottom of the same tree it had been feeding in. It was much more flighty and difficult to approach, but its sunbathe was just as spectacular.
The other birds during lunch were sparrows, chaffinches, a willow warbler, song thrush and a few baby blue tits.
After lunch we decided to wander into Keswick (the local town) to see what was about. Through the park getting there I spotted a small bush crawling with bees, most of which appeared to be what I know as tree bumblebees, because I have kept an eye open for them since my dad mentioned that he would like to see one. Apparently, tree bees are the fastest spreading bee in the UK, and are one of the "Big 5" (one of the 5 species of bee not in decline), so it was nice for my dad to see one, since the only other time I have seen one was in our garden when he was at work.
Needless to say, town was pretty void of wildlife. I did however manage to find a book I was looking for in a charity shop, which was a bonus (the Silmarillion)
After town we decided to get on the boat and go for a row around the lake, as we usually do. The first bird I saw was a Red breasted merganser female, which was nice. It also reminded me that I couldn't remember if they were mergansers or goosanders that lived on the lake, but if you read on you will see how I was reminded.
Next we rowed to the reeds to see what was about. There was not much, only a family of graylag geese whit 3 chicks, as well as a couple of oystercatchers. On the jetty of one of the houses around the lake there was also a pied wagtail.
The island opposite the marsh is where we found ample barnacle geese last time, but this time we only found one pair and they were on an island further over, which is sadly more accessible than the one previously. One the island we found a pair of barnacle geese, with the female seemingly sitting, or one of the birds sitting under a tree seemingly on a nest. The other bird was watching from the beach.
Just next to the geese was an oystercatcher. There was another oystercatcher round the far side going bezerk at a gull perched nearby. At first it was unclear why, but as we watched we noticed that the none calling bird had 2 well grown chicks, which we hadn't noticed before.
We then decided to go the rocks in the middle of the reser to get a look at the gulls and cormorants settled there. On the way there another female merganser appeared in front of us.
-Red Breasted Merganser
The rocks were full with gulls, herring, lesser black backed and greater black backed, more than I can ever remember before. There were also 3 cormorants on the rocks.
We slowly made our way across the lake, made slower because I tried rowing. We made it to another of the rock piles in the lake. On the largest we thought we heard a common sandpiper, but it turned out to actually be a pair of red breasted mergansers, and there was a male here which reminded me what species they were. We were able to get quite close before they moved off, so I was able to get some reasonable photos
-Red Breasted Merganser
We then made our way to the marsh on the far side of the island to see what was going on there. From a distance we noticed that there was a flock of graylag geese and a grey heron there. We managed to get quite close to the heron before it moved off, did a loop-de-loop and came back. There was also another male merganser there too...
-Red Breasted Merganser and Grey Heron
We then finished our rowing trip and made our way back. After our rowing exploits we went for a coffee in the cafe opposite. While we were there I spotted that another of the same plants from the park were in the cafe, and that they were crawling with tree bees here too. So while my family settled down for a civilized cup of coffee, I sat down and photographed the bees. I have to say that I don't remember bee photography ever being as difficult as these bees seemed to want to make it. For that reason my photos were not very good.
After our coffee we went for a short walk the other way around the lake. It was early evening so there was not much wildlife around, but the flowers were still out and there were lovely groups of ragged robin along the lake shore. On the bird front there was also a sand martin among the swallows in the sheep field.
And so after that walk we started to head off home. It was a lovely day, and not just because of the splendid weather but all the lovely weather as well.