Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 157 - Tree Sparrow

I have to say that Tree Sparrows are not the first bird that comes to mind when I think of sea cliffs - but they were the first bird I saw when I arrived at Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire. Pretty much every small brown bird around the visitors centre was a Tree Sparrow - and after about 10 minutes I had probably seen more individuals of this species than in the rest of my life put together!

The fact that Tree Sparrows are common on the grasslands at the top of the cliffs is a good indication that the 'tree' in their name is not really accurate - some sources suggest that it is just an alternative to 'house' - meaning that Tree Sparrows are more likely to be found in away from human habitats than their close relative the 'House Sparrow'.

The tree sparrow is technically know as Passer montanus, which makes no reference to trees either!  It can be split from the more common UK sparrow by the clear comma shaped 'ear patch' and the redder (rather than greyish) crown.  I have to say I like them.

I am also rather pleased with the images of the two birds on the concrete post - given that the 'hinge' of the back is yellow I take it that these birds are just fledged.

Last week we had the lowest number of link ups in the history of WBW (well, at least since I have been running it!) - so, I hope people have not stopped linking because I was 'off duty' for a while - but if you know anybody who often links up, it would be great if you could remind them about our little birding community!

And after that notice from our sponsors (i.e. me!) it's over to you.  Click the blue button and off you go.  Cheers SM

Monday, 27 July 2015

Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire

I left Norfolk early in the morning and spent much longer than I expected heading north to Bridlington in Yorkshire.  A combination of road works, traffic jams, minor car accidents (that, thankfully did not involve me) and a music system that would not connect to my phone made for a long journey.

But eventually the journey did end and I was glad to pull into the carpark of the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs, where I was greeted by my brother and life saving sandwich and coffee!

Bempton Cliffs, as its name suggest are a set of sea cliffs that look out onto the North Sea - I had never been here before, but given the chance I will be going back.  These are just a few 'landscape shots' - the birds will come later.

You can find out more about this reserve here - and rest assured, that there will be picture of birds to follow, lots of pictures!

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday 156 - Great Crested Grebe

While I was out and about around some lakes near Swanton Morley I was able to watch a pair of Great Crested Grebes feeding and carrying their young.  They remained a little too distant and mobile for the best of shots, but these images show the young riding on the back of an adult and also a food pass.  I have never got any shots of any quality of either of these behaviours before.

I really like these birds for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the decline of the Great Crested Grebe was one of the prime reasons why the RSPB was formed, and I have had so many good days out on RSPB reserves it's good to remember how it all started, and today it is one of the largest conservation organisation in the world (if not the largest).

Secondly I can see these birds in Australia as well as back in the UK so they are like a reminder on the past and an opportunity for the present.

So, now it's over to you - click the blue button and join in.  And with luck I will be able to visit your blogs much more rapidly that I have been able to manage in the last few WBWs!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Swanton Morley, Norfolk

I spent the second part of my recent trip the UK near Swanton Morley, a small village in Norfolk.  I stayed at a wonderful B and B called Carricks at Castle Farm, and if you are in that part of the world I would suggest you have a look at it.

The main house of the farm was that classic English combination of dozens of different houses which had been built over the centuries - although my knowledge of architecture does not allow me to identify any specific designs!

Around the farm were a collection of old barns - which, if all goes to plan, will be brought back to life in the future.

There were also so rather nice examples of the kind of improvised repairs to gates and fences that agriculture thrives on.

And of course no farm would be complete without a few animals - in this case geese and White Park Cattle.  The cows are a rare breed, and particularly good value in my opinion!

Down in the village of Swanton Morley itself, there was one of the best road signs I have ever seen - a speed limit sign with a special section for tanks!  According to a passing resident the tanks have not been through the village in a while - and given the width of the local roads that may be no bad thing!

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.