Friday, 30 April 2010


It had been a very uneventful afternoon at Bretton when all of a sudden the Ducks and Geese began to scatter in all directions. I looked up to see if there were any birds of prey around but there were none. So I looked at the water and could just make out something dark, swimming in the wake of a now departed family of Mallard, which I believe were his target.

I've seen the Mink on the banks of the lake but never in it, where it shouldn't really have any chance of catching anything. I suspect the Mallards were swimming very close to the far shore when the Mink decided to launch itself at one of the youngsters.

Unfortunately the far side of the lake is out of the reach of my 500mm lens, even with the 1.4x converter attached. But you can just about make out the head and shoulders of the Mink as he swims after the ducks.

Some of the family decided to take refuge on an abandoned Coot's nest.

Panic over. About 10 minutes later they were swimming around as if nothing had happened.

Then I noticed a Cormorant had arrived. Not sure how easy it is to dry your feathers in the rain though!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Bretton Update

The excellent weather got me out of bed early and I was at Bretton Lakes by half past seven. It was a bit cool but there was bright sunshine and not a breath of wind - perfect conditions for photography.

I decided to visit the nest site of the Goldcrests which were featured on here a few blogs ago. It was all very quiet though with no activity around the nest. Have they abandoned it? Not sure - they did both turn up before I left which was encouraging but surely the female should be sitting on the eggs by now?

The only Lesser Spotted Woodpecker I've seen to date was last year at Meltham in Huddersfield. I knew they were around at Bretton but they'd eluded me up to now. I was quite pleased to break my duck this morning. I'd only been stood in the area where they were rumoured to be for about 5 minutes when this one turned up.

The bird life down at the hide seemed much the same as usual until I noticed that a couple of pairs of Greylag Geese had arrived. This isn't a rare event but they don't usually stay around for long. There was no difference this morning as all four of them departed before I left.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Bempton Cliffs

RSPB Bempton Cliffs is always worth a visit at this time of year. It helps if you can choose a nice day with light winds though. Thankfully I was lucky on both these counts.

I've never seen a Puffin in the flesh before so I was hoping to put that right today. Again, luck was on my side and I saw two of them. The first one was quite close to me but my presence didn't stop him getting on with his business of collecting for his nest.

This one was quite a bit further away and was looking very nervous for some reason.

Gulls all look pretty much alike to me but I think these two could be Kittiwakes.

There were plenty of Razorbills around too.


Not sure what this is but I think it could be a Herring Gull?

I can't even guess at this one....

Saturday, 10 April 2010


This pair of Great Crested Grebes built their nest at least a couple of weeks ago but something seems to have gone wrong. No eggs and it has visibly reduced in size. Maybe they made the mistake of leaving it alone and it was raided? They certainly looked a bit confused.

The Goosanders usually winter on Bretton Lakes and then move on during early spring. However this year there are a few stragglers.

This female had a mate nearby and appeared to be either looking for a nest site or visiting an existing nest in a tree on the island. Hopefully they will breed and we'll see some young in the next few weeks.

I came across a pair of Treecreepers building a nest under this flimsy looking piece of bark on a dead tree. This one eventually worked out how to get this long twig through the narrow opening only for it to fall out several seconds later!

Friday, 9 April 2010


Prior to today I'd only seen one Blackcap at Bretton so far this year and that was a distance away. Today I was sure some more would have arrived but when I got to Bridge Royd Wood there was no sign at all. Chiffchaffs were everywhere but no sign of the Blackcaps.

It wasn't until I got undercover and sat still for a quite a while that I heard that unmistakable song. He wouldn't come out into the open though and all I got was a few fleeting glimpses through the leaves and branches.

Another hour went by and on his fifth visit to my area I finally got an unrestricted view. There were still a few frustrating moments when I could hear his song but couldn't see him but in the end I managed to get a few shots!

Where did you get that cap!

Whilst I was waiting around for the Blackcap this Chiffchaff appeared and had a bit of a grooming session.

Last Sunday I went looking for the Green Woodpeckers - again without success - but did come across a nesting Treecreeper and pair of Long-Tailed Tits.

The Long-Tailed Tits were happy to pose around but I wasn't quick enough to get any shots with them carrying nest building materials.