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.