25th March 2012 – You’re having a Laugh!

Well quite a bit has been happening in sleepy Cumbria since my last post, but alas I’ve missed out on all the fun. Last Saturday Cumbria’s 2nd ever Laughing Gull (and 1st for 28 years) decided to turn up. A brief sighting on the Saturday was followed by the bird parading itself to allcomers on Sunday morning. Buggeration. Guess who was working all bloody weekend? I wouldn’t mind but I only work 1 Sunday in every 5. Aaarrgghhh! Ah well can’t win ’em all.

It seems my whinge about the weather on my last post has done the trick – it’s been bloomin’ gorgeous pretty much ever since! Today was like a summers day, scorchio! I did my usual walk first thing while it was nice and quiet, my target was to maybe get a shot of the regular Kingfisher I see there. Sure enough I saw one straight away, but as usual it was an arse-end view as it disappeared round the corner. I stayed put and it reappeared and landed on a overhanging branch, allowing me to grab a couple of shots before it flew off again.

Not great pics I know but it has made me wonder whether I could do alot better – with lots of patience (which I have), and more time (which I don’t!), I reckon I could nail it. Watch this space. Nearby the warm sunshine had made the Goldeneyes frisky…

Lots of Chiffchaffs were singing and my earliest ever Willow Warbler sang from the scrub. A scan through the mega-distant Barnacle Geese revealed either the Ross’s Goose or a Snow Goose. Chances are it’s the Ross’s but to my eye it looked long-necked and quite big, I hoped to get closer views but during the time I yomped onto Burgh Marsh the whole flock had buggered off.

This weather coinciding with a day off was just too good to miss so on the walk back I decided we should have an afternoon out somewhere. With a picnic packed and the family in the car I decided to have a change of scenery, we were off to Hadrian’s Wall country for a change, with some birding thrown in for good measure obviously!

Siskins were absolutely everywhere, and more year ticks came in the shape of 3 Crossbills and a single Sand Martin (again my earliest ever), which flew along the river. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching a pair of displaying Ravens as they tumbled and rolled, calling loudly as they did so. On the short journey home we stopped at a couple of places to see stretches of Hadrian’s Wall. Firstly at Birders World – erm I  mean Birdoswald, and here is the wall….

And then Lanercost Priory…

Nice eh?

Back home and during the past week my Tree Sparrows have been busy chirriping away on my boxes, with an impressive 14 birds present in the garden…


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