Cumbria's Solway

Decided to visit Watchtree Nature Reserve, to the west of Carlisle, today.

Tree Sparrow

Not the easiest of places to find, the reserve don't have the money for the 'brown tourist signs' after lots of twists and turns I arrived at the entrance, I received a warm welcome from the young man on volunteer duty today.
In fairness I took a wrong turn right at the start which led to me doing a big loop, with a good navigator, or even a map things should be easier.
This was the burial site for the animals culled in Cumbria's Foot and Mouth outbreak, so it's very much a developing site.
Strangely it did remind me of my first visit to Washington WWT all those years ago, and like Washington I'm sure it will mature and grow.
The hides are superb, best I've been in and if at first you think there's nothing worth seeing sit a while and you'll be suprised.
I have never seen as many Tree Sparrows at one time, if they're on your tick list get along to Watchtree.

Tree Sparrow at Watchtree, one of a dozen or more I saw coming to the feeders

I changed hides, when I had arrived a female helper was wandering about the berms collecting teasels, all the birds on the lake were in uproar so I was hoping I'd given them enough time to settle.
They were way across the pond, too far to see what was about with the naked eye, (the hide does have a small telescope for visitors to use) but I was taken with the Reed Buntings posing outside the hide window. I got several shots of the femal, the male was less obliging going from a thicket of branches to the feeder where he stayed.
One female did sit on the reeds and although it was a good distance away it made a pleasing shot, well it pleased me anyway.

Female Reed Bunting

Female Reed Bunting on the reeds

I also saw the ears and then the rear end of a Hare as it sped away from me, someone with better eyesight would no doubt be able to get a picture.

I was wanting to get up onto the Solway when the tide came in, alas I was misled as to the time of high tide so missed it.
I managed a few shots but non of the masses ofbirds in flight that I'd hoped for.

A fly past of Curlew

 Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover

Waders feeding as the tide goes out

Hope you've had a good weekend and enjoyed the same sunshine we were lucky enough to have.

Double click on the pictures if you'd like to see them a wee bit bigger.

All photographs used on this site are copyright of Joan Thirlaway and cannot be used without written permission.


Heather Athey said...

I was under the impression that Watchtree was not open to the public (from a leaflet about the place). Thank you!

trevorearthy said...

I must make an effort to go there before too long...
Great shots of the tree sparrows!