Saturday, 18 April 2015

Up north - day 2 (and the garden)

Sunday was the worst day of our trip, weather-wise, with early sun changing to heavy dark cloud and, by just after lunch, heavy rain. We did a local trip in the morning, to Marbury Country Park which is a huge area of woodland with some open bits, a river, and a large lake (Budworth Mere) at one end. It was so very grey and gloomy that I took almost no photos, I'm afraid...

... but I had to get one of this chap. Known to H&M as 'Riverside Robin', he is clued-up on the usefulness of humans and needs little encouragement to land on a hand for a few live mealworms. Paul got some excellent video of him carrying these back to his mate, who was waiting on the ground nearby. In one amusing sequence, she dropped the mealie repeatedly, and just looked at it on the ground, until he picked it up and gave it to her again.

In the woods were Treecreepers, Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, the usual tits and finches, and in places a great carpet of Wood Anemones, plus the odd Bluebell.

We emerged from the woods to open fields, one of which was being guarded by this Grey Heron, and proceeded to the shore of the large Budworth Mere. Way across on the far side, a dark duck proved to be the female Common Scoter that's resided here for some time. I did take photos but she has come out looking as much like a squashed housefly on a grey tablecloth as a Common Scoter on a leaden-coloured lake so I won't bother posting one. The mere had many Mallards and a few Tufties, and overhead flew lots of Sand Martins, a fair few Swallows, and one or two House Martins.

The rest of the walk brought little more in the way of birds. We explored a small arboretum near the car park where there was rumoured to be a white (Grey) Squirrel but couldn't find it, and then it was into Northwich town just as the rain started, for a reviving cup of tea before back to Knutsford.

We stayed in for the afternoon, and the rain did eventually give way to sunshine, allowing for more garden bird photography. I'll put all the garden pics here, though they were taken across the whole five and a half days.

This garden is like a mini-park, with many mature deciduous trees and a wonderful water feature. The garden list is in the early 40s and includes gems like Kingfisher and Common Buzzard as well as the usual suspects. Corvids feature strongly - here are Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Jays and Magpies enjoying treats like cat food, nuts, cooked pasta and cheese chunks.

Pheasants are regular visitors. This splendid male was quite unafraid of me and my camera.

This Mallard pair are also daily visitors. Sometimes a second drake also arrives, and then chaos ensues.

The little birds include Bullfinch and Nuthatch, as well as the expected range of tits, finches and assorted insect-eaters. All the food on offer inevitably also attracts a less desirable element...

The 'Cyrils', as H&M call them, are present in impressive numbers. I counted 12 all together at one point and Hazel told me that double that is not unusual. The feeders are mainly protected from them with baffles and cages but the loose food put out for the corvids, ducks and Pheasants is not Cyril-proofed. Hopefully the next bird on the garden list will be a Goshawk with an appetite for Cyrils.

1 comment:

Penny Taylor said...

I think strutty magpie is actually my favourite pic. Looks like you've been having a brilliant time. X