27th December 2006

After over a week of murky misty overcast skies, today was glorious! Blue sky and sunshine and the birds responded. Everywhere I wondered there were plenty of birds calling and singing and even more foraging about the woods. My walk started at the Bingley entrance and went clockwise around the Estate.

Betty's Lodge - the woods here were very lively with birds. A feding party of Long-tailed Tits were joined by Blue, Coal and Great Tits, Nuthatches and two Treecreepers. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called deeper in the woods and at least two Jays were flying around screeching.

Cuckoo's Nest Wood
A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was at an old nest hole practicing (?) his wood work skills. The woods had plenty of activety and Nuthatches were very vocal.

Coppice Pond - Three pairs of Goosander were still here as well as a Grey Heron. The 23 Canada Geese also remained, but the were no sing of the Little Grebe, Tufted Duck or Kingfisher I have seen recently.

Coppice Bog - 6 Siskins were feeding on an Alder, Bullfinches were calling in the bushes.

Racecourse Plantation - Several Goldcrests were heard but few were seen.

Blind Lane - A small party of Redwing, about ten, were still feeding on the berries alongside Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes.

In general a very pleasant walk with plenty to see, although it was all common species. Mistle and Song Thrushes are now starting to sing and today's weather encouraged them to do so.

24th December 2006

Today I attempted to empty some of the nest boxes that were put up two years ago by the council woodland officers. For this I have acquired a apir of telescopic ladders as they'll fit nicely into a car boot. Sadly even at 3.2 metres tall they aren't tall enough for me to be able to reach most of the boxes. I managed to reach two boxes, both of which had nests needing removal.
After searching for nest boxes which were low enough for me to reach I aborted my efforts and went a watched a few birds......

Coppice Pond; had a pair of Goosanders and the 23 Canada Geese were still present. There was no sign of yesterdays Kingfisher.

Bingley entrance; I had parked my car close to the Bingly entrance. When I got back to my car I noticed there were several birds about so I stood and watched. There are a few large Beech trees which were attracting at least 10 Chaffinches, several Blue Tits, a few Coal Tits and about 20 Great Tits. Also in the area were Nuthatch, Treecreeper, and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

23rd December 2006

Coppice Pond:
Female Kingfisher, 23 Canada Geese, 16 Coot and the usual Moorhens and Mallards.

Didn't have a lot of time on my hands today so I just visited to see what was on the pond. The geese have returned and it was great to see a Kingfisher again. I presume these are doing well somewhere locally as I seem to be seeing a lot more nowadays in St.Ives.

16th December 2006

Quite a late start for me today as I ventured into the Estate grounds just before 11am. I started in the new car park at the eastern entrance and went anti-clockwise around the outer paths.

Woods adjacent to Betty's Lodge: Several Coal Tits and Goldcrest were heard as were a couple of Treecreepers. There were also a few Jays screaching in the back ground.

Ewe Hills: A feeding party containing the following: Long-tailed Tits, Bullfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Hedge Accentor, Robin, Blackbird and Goldcrests.

Beech Wood near Druids Altar: There were many Chaffinches here but no sign of Brambling.

Racecourse Plantation: Another feeding party with similar species. A Tawny Owl was flushed by two Jays who continued to persue it through the woods.

Lady Blantyre's Rock area: more Bullfinches heard.

Coppice Pond: A lone female Goosander was all that was left of the roost flock. Sadly there was no sign of the Little Grebe and still no geese.

Cuckoo's Nest Wood: contained the usual mix of resident woodland species.

Overall there were plenty of birds actively feeding but no sign of any winter visitors.

Coppice Pond area - 9th December 2006

After visiting a few sites before arriving at St.Ives, I decided to just have a slow wander around the Coppice Pond & Bog area. I did a loop from the Harden entrance, up the driveway to the pond and then past the bog and back down to the entrance.

Driveway: I heard my first singing Mistle Thrush of this winter period not long after getting out of my car. It was singing somewhere over towards Cuckoo's Nest Cottages. In the woods adjacent to the drive a feeding party containing Long-tailed, Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, as well as Treecreeper worked it's way through the trees.

Coppice Pond: My first Little Grebe of this winter period was on the pond in the eastern corner. No doubt it has been pushed off the River Aire by the large amounts of rainfall. A lone female Goosander was all that was left of the potential roost last night. Once again there was no sign of the Canada Geese. The Little Grebe was again present on the 10th as I had a quick look when passing in the morning.

Coppice Bog: another feeding party was present in the trees between the pond and the bog. at the western edge of the bog there were several Jays making a right racket.

Blind spot - 2nd December 2006

This morning felt very mild, about 10 degrees C, and the birds seemed to be quite active. I did my usual route, clockwise, around the Estate starting at Coppice Pond.....

Coppice Pond:
There were 14 Goosanders, 5 of which were adult males, but no sing of Tufted Ducks or Grebes.
The usual flock of Geese were also absent. A lone Grey Heron stood at the eastern end of the Pond, no doubt briefly as dog walkers were heading his way.

Coppice Bog:
Several Finches flew over, mostly Chaffinch and Greenfinch, which was pleasing as I thought this might have been a thing of the past now the Bog is clear of trees.

Racecourse Plantation:
Three Bullfinches arrived and fed in a Rowan. A single Redpoll flew over. There was a feeding party with several Goldcrests among the various Tit species.

Blind Lane:
Finally! A party of 70+ Redwing were feeding on berries down Blind Lane. I also heard a Fieldfare but couldn't find it among the Redwing. I did manage to find a single Brambling though.
At the base of the tree which had the bulk of the Redwing in, I spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker feding about half a metre off the ground. Also present was a flock of 75+ Black-headed Gulls trying to settle on the golf course driving range or the Turf research centre lawns. There were plenty of common residents here also. Jays also came and went. So I had a very pleasant time standing and watching several species.

Cuckoo Nest Wood:
Jays were on show and quite noisy in places, as were Nuthatches and Woodpeckers. A very high flying Sparrowhawk was being mobbed by a Crow.

An extremely pleasing walk around the Estate this morning with many species on show.

19th November 2006

Coppice Pond:
3 Goosander (Imm male & 2 Females), 21 Canada Geese,
Mallards, Coot and Moorhens.

Cuckoo Nest Wood:
A flock of Pink-footed Geese flew over but were hidden by the trees, so I couldn't count them or get a definite direction. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jays and Nuthatches present.

Generally very quiet today despite the decent weather. No Sign of any winter passerines and it was quite frustrating to have only heard the Pink-footed Geese going overhead.

12th November 2006

Today I parked in the new car park near the Bingley entrance and walked anit-clockwise around the Estate, which is the opposite way round to my usual route.

Conifer plantation near Car park and Betty's Lodge:
A party of about 30, Goldfinch were feeding in the Larch trees along the edge of the wood. A Grat Spotted Woodpecker flew across the car park. There were several Jays in the woods. A male Kestrel was sat on the pylon wires at the reservoir side of the wood.

Crossgates Barn area:
Treecreepers were heard in the woods opposite the barn.

Racecourse Plantation:
No sign of Redpoll or Siskin, but a feeding party of Tits and 'Crests were heard.

Coppice Bog area:
A party of Goldcrests were "pished" down from the tree tops and came very close.

Coppice Pond:
2 adult male and 4 female Goosanders were present today, as well as a male Tufted Duck. The usual flock of Canada Geese and Mallards were keeping a watchful eye out for bread. The 30+ strong flock of Black-headed Gulls didn't include any other type of Gull species.

Cuckoo Nest Wood:
Very quiet except for the occasional calls of Nuthatches and Jays.

A pleasant walk but no sign of any winter visitors at all and no passage over head of anything was noted.

4th November 2006

Today was my first walk around St.Ives for quite a few weeks.

After a couple of days with frosty starts today was actually quite mild. I was hoping the birds would be taking advantage of the slightly warmer conditions and be very active. If they were they weren't active around me!

Coppice Pond: had the usual Mallards and Coot, with a collection of Black-headed Gulls. No sign of any Grebes but 5 Goosander were present. An adult male, 1st winter male, 2 adult females and a 1st winter female.

Coppice Bog: A small flock of finches flew overhead including Chaffinch and at least one Brambling (the first of this winter period).

Heather Park: A lone Redpoll flew over.

Racecourse Plantation: Another single Redpoll flew over

Cuckoo's Nest Wood: Very quiet except for the Wrens and Robins singing. I did manage a glimpse of a Nuthatch, but I saw very little else. I heard several Treecreepers and Jays as well as a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

All in all, a nice morning for a walk but sadly very little wildlife on show. Amazingly there was no sign of any Redwing or Fieldfare despite the recent influx into the country.

October

With the passing of October, just about all our summer migrant birds will have departed. There might still be the odd sighting of Chiffchaff into November.

Winter visitors, such as Fieldfare & Redwing, have arrived into the Bradford area in general. Bramblings have also been seen and Siskin and Redpoll numbers have swelled.

September

As I am not spending much time in St.Ives ,due to the migration of birds elsewhere, there isn't and won't be a great deal of news from the wildlife of St.Ives. I hope to have a wander around very soon. October will be even worse for sightings as I will be out of the country for most of the month.

6th August 2006

Coppice Pond: Had well over 20 Common Blue Damselfy, some of which were laying eggs in the water. The Coot numbers have been swelled by several successful broods this year, but this has been detrimental to the Moorhen as only one pair appear to have bred. A female Mallard had some more downy youngsters.

Lady Blantyre's Rock area: Plenty of common woodland bird species about with young.

Racecourse Plantation: I heard at least one young Sparrowhawk calling here, though I doubt they have bred at this location. Once again plenty of common woodland species were present including family parties of Coal Tit. A Bullfinch was heard calling here.

Kettlewell Reservoir: A female Whitethroat was spotted in the bushes on the edge of the dis-used reservoir as well as young Chiffchaff and Swallows perched up for a rest. The pond life here was great, with several Common Blue Damselflies about as well as Pond Skaters and Water Boatmen.

2nd July 2006

Coppice Pond and Cuckoo's Nest:

I only found time to have a short walk in St.Ives today, starting off by visaiting Coppice Pond. Here I found 2 broods of well grown Coot juveniles and 2 broods of small downy young still in the next. I spotted a Moorhen with fledged downy young on the edge of the island. The multitude of Canada Geese and their young were all fast asleep on the island itself.

In the woods, very few birds were singing despite the sunny day. 2 Chiffchaff and only one Blackcap could be bothered enough to sing, while very few resident species followed suit. This is undoubtedly due to them all having fledged young to feed. I did manage to see Spotted Flycatcher catch a butterfly, but didn't see any youngsters with it.

On the insect front I saw 2 Speckled Wood butterflies in Cuckoo's Nest. There were also several blue Damselflies on the lillies on Coppice Pond, I presume they were Common Blue Damselfly.

24th June 2006

Today's sightings included a couple of interesting birds. The first was a Siskin flying overhead from Lady Blantyre's Rock heading North East. This birds presence at this time of year suggests that there marbe a pair breeding locally if not in St.Ives. Hopefully a familt party will be seen in the next couple of weeks.......

A male Tree Pipit at Heather Park was the second decent sighting of this mornings walk. This is also intriguing as it's been about a month since I last saw one in the same spot singing. Have they managed to stay and breed or is it a failed breeder from elsewhere trying his luck ?

The rest of my walk went true to form, all the usual woodland species and most of them now have fledged young. Three pairs of Coots were at three different stages in their breeding cycle. One pair had independant young, another had downy young, while the third were doing some home improvements preparing for the next clutch! Also on Coppice Pond 13 well grown Canada Geese goslings were in a creche while 16 adults were keeping their distance.

In the woods, Great Spotted Woodpeckers were everywhere with young not far behind. Jays were also very vocal all around the Estate grounds. Swallows were seen zooming low over the STRI grounds with young sat on the fences eagerly waiting to be fed. A feeding party of c30 Swifts were found over Racecourse Plantation.

Three Chiffchaff and several Blackcap are still singing alongside the omnipresent Wrens.

Summer sightings to watch for

As we're now, alledgedly, in summer time most of the bird life in St.Ives will have youngster in tow. There should be many large parties moving through the tree tops. You're probably more likely to hear them rather than see them because of the foliage on the trees. If you do encounter parties crossing the path in front of you during a walk, it's worth just standing quietly and counting how many birds you see. Birds such as Long-tailed Tits can have upto 14 young following them around.

On the sunnier days it's also worth watching for Butterflies and Dragonflies. There are several species of both in St.Ives.

Nest boxes 2006

Earlier this year the woodland officers from the council kindly put up another 100 nest boxes. This time they went up largely in the wood above Beckfoot Lane with a few in Cuckoo's nest and near Betty's Lodge.

Sadly due to work commitments I haven't been able to check the boxes for inhabitants sufficiently well. I have managed to find that 35 Blue Tits and 2 Great Tit pairs have used the boxes. There could easily have been a lot more during May which I have missed.

June 3rd Bird Walk

After the previous two walks being complete wash outs, this weeks warm and sunny one was most welcome. Five people joined me for a three hour stroll around the estate grounds which proved to be the best of this springs walks.

Coppice Pond; Canada Geese and Coot have fledged young, the Moorhens won't be far behind.

Coppice Bog; Blackcap and Chiffchaff stil in full song, as well as Blackbird. Whitethroat can be heard outside of St.Ives at the other side of the road.

Lady Bolantyre's Rock; Chiffchaff was singing as we approached the plantation belwo the rock.

Heather Park; 3 Meadow Pipits were seen, which are the first seen for a few weeks now. I was getting worried that the cold wet weather had scared them away. The first 3 Willow Warblers were heard singing.

RaceCourse Plantation; No sign of the Spotted Flycatcher here this week.

Druid's Altar; at least 3 Willow Warblers singing.

Two Barns area; No sign of the Little Owl but 2 Garden Warblers were heard in the woods. Another Chiffchaff sang here as well as a few Blackcaps. A male Kestrel was using the pylon cables as a hunting post.

Cuckoo's Nest Wood; 2 Spotted Flycatchers were seen. Several Blackcap heard. 2 Chiffchaff were heard singing, another was heard calling. Only one Nuthatch was heard.

Other Birds seen: Long-tailed tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Jay. Several nest boxes are being used by Blue Tits and Great Tits.

It doesn't look like we'll be seeing Pied Flycatcher, Redstart or breeding Wood Warblers again this year. The Wood Warbler heard a week ago wasn't there again. However, Spotted Flycatcher numbers must be at a record high!

Thanks to all those who have joined me on the walks this year. I hope to do one or two evening walks but that'll depend upon my work place calming down a great deal.

May Bird Walks

There are two more birds walks organised in May, 13th and 20th, and another on June 3rd. If you are interested in joining me please get in touch by email (see my profile), by posting a comment on this blogger or by phoning and leaving a message on 01535 274525.

cheers
MD

29th April 2006 - Bird Walk

Two people joined me on today's bird walk starting at 7am from Coppice pond as usual. As we waited for more folk to join us we watched several pairs of Canada Geese having territorial disputes as their population increases leads to breeding season tension. Also noted was a Coots nest on the edge of the island.

Sadly despite it being two weeks since the last walk there doesn't appear to be many new arrivals. Willow Warblers are back in force as they were last weekend but Blackcap and Chiffchaff numbers remain low. I have had reports of Chiffchaff numbers being in double figures again but today there were only about 4 singing. 8 males Blackcaps were heard and just one female seen.

The best bird of the walk was heard at the Racecourse Plantation, where the "buzzing" of Redpoll was heard briefly. Swallows were noted over the woods. a small number of nest boxes are being used but I have yet to go in and check to see how many and by whom.

We did see a Nuthatch taking nesting material into a natural hole in a tree known to me as a nesting site for them a few years ago. The entrance hole has been tidied up by the new home owners. Jays were far more prominant than of late with at least 6 being seen or heard all around the estate grounds. Great Spotted Woodpeckers were everywhere.

8th April 2006 - Bird Walk

The spell of warm weather with southerly winds disappeared in time for this weekends bird walk and the cold wet northly weather returned. This meant any of the summer migrants that may have returned in that small window of decent weather didn't make thier presence known by singing. I was very lucky to see the one Chiffchaff that I did as it flew across the path in front of me. This time last year there were nine singing male Chiffchaffs around the estate grounds.

Though the weather was actually quite kind to me as I made my way around the birds were not performing as they usually are and not many were singing. The main highlight was my first ever Great Crested Grebe on Coppice Pond, not only that it is the only one in Bradford Ornithological Group's records as well. It's be nice to see a pair of them stay and breed, but it'll have to attract a mate first! Also on Coppice Pond one pair of Canada Geese are nesting on the island but all the others appear to be just contnent with pairing up and squabbling if they get too close to another's intended. Both Coot and Moorhen are well underway with nest building.

It was a good day to find Woodpeckers with both Great Spotted and Green very vocal and or drumming. Siskin's were also present but in small numbers and they were hard to find, thankfully they were vocal. The nest box numbers have swollen to 200 in recent weeks but there appeared to be very little interest in any of the new or old boxes, but it is early days yet.

Bird Walks in April

There are to be two Friends of St.Ives bird walks in April 2006.
Both take place on Saturdays on the 8th and 29th.

They start at Coppice Pond at 7am near the gateway.

If you are interested then please get in touch by posting a comment.

A cold March

March:

I didn't get chance to do much watching in St.Ives this March due to the poor weather and work commitments. With prolonged wintery weather coming from the North the usual late March influx of spring migrants didn't happen. For the first time in years I didn't see or hear a Chiffchaff singing, by 30th March 2005 there were nine singing males present.

The resident species have started to nest but even their dawn chorus isn't as welcoming as usual. April hasn't started much better than March ended and there is the promise of more cold weather to come.

I hope that the winds swing southerly and the air gets warmer in time for the first Friends of St.Ives bird walk on Saturday April 8th.

5th March 2006



Coppice Pond was frozen this morning but not totally. In the little bit of water that wasn't frozen a male Wigeon was swimming around with the Mallards. I presume this is the male from a nearby collection and is the same bird that arrived last winter for a short while.

The woods close to Coppice Pond were alive with the sound of Siskins singing and plenty of the usual suspects, Nuthatches, woodpeckers drumming, Robins and Wrens singing alongside Hedge Accentors and Thrushes. A few Redpoll were spotted by a friend of mine.

Very little signs of other wildlife about except for the occasional Grey Squirrel.

It was a gorgeous morning despite the lingering snow from Friday 3rd.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker


A male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was seen at Baxter's Pond high up in the tree tops. It's call was heard first, though briefly, which alerted me to it's presence. It's been about 14 years since I last saw one in St.Ives. Needless to say but I was absolutely choughed to see it. IT fed among the highest branches before flying to the back of the opening where it sat for about ten minutes doing nothing. After a short spell of feeding it then flew of at quite a height before being lost in the sky.

Spring is in the air....

21st January 2006

There has been a distant weather warning about a cold spell possibly approaching as Moscow is suffering it's coldest snap for a long, long time. This morning in St.Ives it was very spring like, the sun was shining, the air was warmer and the birds were singing their heads off!

Coppice Pond
1 pair of Goosander were present as numbers remain low.

Woodlands
Mistle Thrushes are in full voice at the moment. One was sing in a treetop where a Redwing flock, of about 60 birds, were joining in singing among themselves. This is something that we don't get to hear often in the UK. I saw a couple of male Blue Tits grapping as they floated down to terra firma, another sign of spring. The woodland birds were very active in general. I even heard a Bullfinch doing his best to sing. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in Cuckoo's Nest Wood.

A Little Owl was sat out in the sunshine on the roof of White Cotes Barn

14th January 2006

Coppice Pond
27 Canada Geese appear to be resident. Goosander numbers have dropped with few being seen at the moment.

Woodlands
With today being a mild and sunny day for a time the woodlandbirds were very vocal. At least three mistle Thrushes were in full song mode, many Great Tits were calling. A pair of Treecreepers were keeping close together.

Winter visitors seem to be very hard to come by. No flocks of winter finches have materialised at all this winter. The Thrush numbers are typically sparodic.

Sightings in December 2005

Coppice Pond
Goosander numbers fluctuated greatly with a maximum of 29 being seen late one afternoon mid month. Coot numbers are maintained at about 16 birds present. The Canada Goose flock comes and goes with their maximum being 27.

Two Barns Fields / Blind Lane area
The Redwings disappeared but were replenished when the cold snap brought 159 to the fields adjacent to Blind Lane. Most departed but 60 or so have remained.

Woodlands
Tit flocks containing the usuall 4 species, Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed, also attract Treecreepers and Nuthatches. The Crossbill, Siskin and Redpoll flocks just haven't materialised as yet. Hopefully they will between now and March.