It’s not all about the birds

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Grass snake, Ordsall golf course

On our many birding outings, we often see other wildlife, so we thought we’d share a few of these pictures with you to start off our blog for this week.

The grass snake (above) was snapped last spring while Lee was walking on the golf course – you can see it was right by his feet!

We’ve also seen deer, fox, many squirrels, and hedgehogs regularly visit Lee’s garden when they’re not hibernating.

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Deer, Green Mile woodlands

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Fox, Ladybridge

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Squirrel, Ladybridge

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Hedgehog, Lee’s Garden

The day’s swan song

We were recently told that owls had been seen at Hayton, so on Wednesday, 1st February, we went to have a look, of course.  It was a horrible morning, but by 2.30p.m. the skies had turned blue and it was all go for another hopeful day’s bird spotting.  We noticed loads of big birds flying down into a field nearby.  Wow!  They were whooper swans: haven’t seen any locally for years!

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Joined by mute swans, they kept  coming out of the skies in large groups, and landing in the fields.

These birds breed on the Arctic Tundra.  They are winter visitors here and love marshland and larger fresh waters.  They are huge swans – much bigger than the similar Bewick’s swan.  Whoopers have a longer neck and a longer wedge-shaped yellow and black beak.

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Generally these birds are quite scarce, but can be fairly regular in the winter months.

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We also saw a field full of fieldfares and a field full of lapwings – never seen so many all together!  I did see the owl but he flew off when we got closer – so still to get a picture of this one.  There was also a reed bunting, buzzards, chaffinches, and a kestrel which we watched hovering and then diving down into the grassy field.  So, all in all, another fantastic day’s birding followed by a pint on the way home: what a whooper-super-duper day!

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