Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Ballachurry Reserve, 31st January, 2023.

 a hint of blue coming my way

   I thought  my visits to the Reserve were over
for January but then the weather forecast made Tuesday sound like my best opportunity of the week. When the sun came out I set off from home, not arriving until about 10.30.  By the time I was togged up in wellies and woolly hat the sun had vanished, of course, but there were odd sunny intervals from time to time. There was a strong, westerly wind making it feel colder than the thermometer's  9 degrees so my expectations were not too high.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed my morning and took a few photos. Here is what I recorded:


SC209694 ( bird hide) 4 x Mallard ( 2 pairs) 2 x Teal which saw me coming and flew away before I could reach the hide; Moorhen; 6 x Goldfinch; Blue Tit; Woodpigeon x 2; male Chaffinch. Water Rail heard 3 times.

SC209694 ( elsewhere) 2 x Great Tit; Chaffinch heard not seen; Heron flying over; Robin;

SC209695 Blue Tit; Chaffinch heard not seen; 10 x Goldfinch flying over;

SC209693 Woodpigeon flying over; Redwing.

SC208694 9 x Greenfinch flying over ( with thanks to David Kelly for spotting/identifying them); Blackbird; male Chaffinch.

SC210694 Robin heard; 2 x Jackdaws on chimney pots of Old School House next door.


SC208694 a few new Wood Blewits. 

SC208694 and SC209694 Hawthorns in leaf

 one of two female Mallards

and one of two Drakes
all four Mallards together

the Moorhen made a very brief appearance

one of several Goldfinches

Great Tit


spot the Redwing?

Wood Blewits pushing through

small Hawthorn in full leaf already!

garden escape Snowflakes blooming

guano on the ivy is testimony to birds roosting above at night

more guano on the nearby tree

all quiet at the new pond

 the water level has gone down slightly

usual view from the hide ramp

and from the boardwalk

work in progress?

ah, yes indeed

one of the ramps now under construction

final view of the January meadow

What will February bring?


please click on photos to enlarge them

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Ballachurry Reserve, 26th January, 2023.


a beautiful blue sky day at Ballachurry Reserve.

 Sun shining, bees buzzing, Song Thrush singing -it certainly felt like Spring at Ballachurry Reserve on Thursday! I saw 20 species of bird , plus heard the Water Rail, which was a pretty good tally, I thought, but very few of them wanted to be photographed, I'm afraid. I walked right round the Song Thrush's song post hoping to find an angle where it wasn't obscured by branches or other vegetation but it remained low down in the heart of the tree rather than atop and I had to admit defeat. It was a pleasure to listen to it though as it went through its repertoire, which included a car alarm and a Buzzard! The latter had me fooled for a minute but a Buzzard's call doesn't end with a trill!

Here is my list:


SC210694 Robin in Reserve seen from road; male Blackbird; male Pheasant.

SC209694 Magpie; 4 x Rook; Woodpigeon heard not seen;  single Redwing; Great Tit;  male & female Chaffinch; Wren; Song Thrush; male Blackbird; Robin x 2 ;

SC209694 ( bird hide ) Robin; Wood pigeon;  4 x Mallard ( 2 pairs)  Moorhen; Long Tailed Tit;  Water Rail heard.

SC208694 Robin x 2; Woodpigeon;  Long Tailed Tit x 2; male Pheasant; Dunnock.

SC209695  Magpie; Hooded Crow; Dunnock; Blue Tit;  10 + Redwings; 5 + Chaffinches; Goldfinch;  Long Tailed Tit  x 2 ; Woodpigeon x 3;

SC208695 Sparrowhawk flying through;  Chaffinch x 2 females 


SC209695 Gorse Shieldbug 

SC209694 Green Shieldbug  (in winter colours)

SC209695 Honey bees in gorse  x 3

SC209695 female Yellow Dug Fly Scathophaga stercoraria)

SC208694 Celandines in flower in front of reed bed. 

SC209693 Hazel catkins lengthening.

as I watched from the hide, two Mallards flew in to take a bath

after a good shake....

they headed for the bank to preen

a third preferred to doze among the reeds

a little later there were two pairs out on the water

and can you spot the Moorhen on the bank too?
it was foraging for food among the vegetation

two Rooks near the entrance

and a Magpie in next door's garden

a Hooded Crow seen from afar on the boundary

one of several chaffinches seen during the morning

The Meet & Greet Robin, serenading me as I got out of my car

and another behind Ginny's bench

this one was near the compost heap

and this one in the willows near the stream

there seemed to be Robins everywhere in fact!

the Honey Bees were enjoying the gorse flowers

lovely to hear the buzz of bees once more

female Yellow Dung Fly

you can see how small it was

Gorse Shield Bug in spring livery

 although in Gorse, I think this is a Green Shieldbug in winter colours

new pond, looking towards the dead hedge constructed last week

and usual shot with the reflections

green algae starting to form in the shallows

looking into the reed bed from the boardwalk

lengthening catkins on the Hazels

Celandines flowering near the reed bed

there were quite a few of them

silvery reeds in the sunshine

with willow cut back we can see the young Oak trees once more

looking along the gorse boundary

the new dead hedge

and seen from the other side

gorse in the sunshine

usual view of the hide

and usual view from the boardwalk

in a few weeks the stream won't be seen for vegetation

my long shadow on the wet meadow

awaiting volunteers on Friday

through the shutters

the reeds look lovely at this time of year

and looking the other direction.

Spring-like days such as Thursday are most welcome in January and made my visit a real pleasure. 

Please click on photos to enlarge them . With thanks to Steve Crellin for fly identification.