Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Budge beauty

We all know that early morning and evening light is the best for photography and this was certainly the case on Sunday morning as I managed to capture some nice images of a Barn Owl on a post close by the Budge Screen at Druridge. Here are a couple.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Garden Visitor

Sadly we ended up with one less House Sparrow last week as Margaret spotted this Sparrowhawk plucking its victim on the ground behind the picnic table. The House Sparrow has suffered major declines, along with many other species, lately and combined with our neighbour Liz we have tried to make our gardens as "spuggy friendly" as possible. The best advice I can give is to let those trees and hedges get a little unkempt and put some food and water out and they will do well. Ours have. Being next to a major dual carriageway heading into Newcastle we don't get a huge variety of species so a visit from a Sparrowhawk is welcome, even at the expense of one of our cherished residents. They have done reasonably well again this year and this is nature in action after all.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

This one's for you Dave from Widdrington.

Knowing that a certain gentleman was giving social media a break I thought I would post these couple of pics as he is partly responsible and might not see them otherwise.
I followed his tip on a promising new pool he had discovered out on the old Stobswood opencast site. Arriving at 05.50 having spent a quiet 30 minutes around Dru previously on the walk in from the main road I heard my first ever Quail !!! Even better a couple of minutes later a second bird joined in. I gave it 20 minutes hoping one might reveal itself (knowing neither would) before heading off in search of the pool. I could hear one of the birds calling almost constantly for quite some time and even had a comment on a birding photo site on Facebook from someone who read that I had been there this morning asking if I had heard the Quail !!!
I could see the water in a depression in a field but having a had lots of birds on view, all common species, I decided I would carry on and explore further. I eventually ended up at a wooded area in the north west area and was immediately greeted by a mewing Buzzard. The bird approached & passed overhead, at a decent height, on a number of occasions. I spend around 3 hours in the vicinity, walking a bit further on, exploring the perimeter of the wood and a body of water some 40 metres long in front of the copse. Initially I found only Blue-tailed Damselflies but later a few teneral Common Darters lifted as I examined the surrounding fauna whilst checking out the Butterflies. Hundreds of Small Skipper were noted along with many Meadow Brown.
Still the Buzzards continued to be vocal. Not just at me, I may add. Just very vocal. I had seen quite a few birds also, again all common but as I was leaving this last Buzzard dropped down towards me & kept me me my closest encounter ever with one in flight allowing me to capture a couple of nice images.

As the temperatures rose I was knackered by this time and as I passed Daves pool I decided that I would return later & explore it. I saw 2 people on horses in the first few hours while out there and 6 in the last 10 minutes as I returned back to the car. An added bonus in my book.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Change of tack.

I've decided not to post every month as i suggested in my last post. I'm making this more about the images than the words from now on. I much prefer Twitter for that. I will include a few words but less of them.
With thanks to Dave Elliott "BITTERN !"

Saturday, 28 January 2017

"About time too !" i hear you say.

I'm going to start doing a monthly post on Blogger. This isn't the first of them i'm sitting here at 00.52 on Saturday morning, off to bed soon and for some strange reason felt like posting something. The January post will follow in a few days.
I had a bitterly cold session down at North Shields Fish Quay the other day but the place has a special place in my heart as i lived just above the quay for 12 years when i was a young 'un and it was one of my favourite playgrounds. Many hours spent exploring and getting into mischief about the place.
I was the first to discover a "white winger" this winter at the quay as far as i know as i came across the first winter Iceland Gull about two weeks ago pootling about in the gut. As per usual with these things it was about five minutes before i had to get back with the car but rang the better half and was granted an extension of fifteen minutes. I had called by last week in passing for an hour or so and the Iceland was still there but a couple of Glaucous Gulls had joined it. On Thursday i had a few hours so i could take my time, enjoy the smell and feel of the place and watch the gull action. It wasn't just gulls that provided the entertainment ! An ex falconers bird was zipping about looking for lunch but fish was definitely not on its menu but as far as i know it came up short. Turnstones are always a joy to watch, and here the boats seem to provide many tasty morsels for them. A Grey Seal made an appearance just off the quay out on the river. It came up with a flattie on a couple of occasions but i managed to miss the shot both times. The Iceland by far the most stunning of the gulls but the Glaucs with their pirate like activities the most entertaining. It was bitterly cold in a biting breeze coming straight from the west along the river but the sun made a show for a while which eased the pain. While watching the antics of the gulls and seal on the seaward side i saw a potential photographic opportunity and on one of those rare occasions it came to fruition. I was very happy with it.

Iceland gull with the south pier of the Tyne in behind.

Falcon on patrol.

Iceland & Glaucous in flight over the quay.

...and finally a shot i captured early last Saturday when i went down early hoping to capture a nice sunrise over the mouth of the Tyne but when i got home i discovered some dust on the sensor which ruined those images. When i turned to put that camera and lens away to swap for my camera with my 300mm lens on this next view caught my eye. The High & Low lights were part of that early time in my life as was Cliffords Fort .....and the light was superb !

Monday, 17 October 2016


One of the supporting cast.
Sometimes the birds and light come together and i cannot think of anything more satisfying.
Not so early on Sunday as i went down to Tynemouth to have a wander around and see a first for me in the form of a Dusky Warbler. I know the area well as i'm a regular visitor and having seen a good number of Blackbirds & Robins i then headed to where the Dusky had been reported. Some prolonged views but getting a decent image was another matter and very quickly i decided to just enjoy the bird and if i did come out into the open would then try to capture it. It could be seen without foliage blocking the views occasionally but always fleetingly and combined with the fairly poor conditions i didn't even tried to capture one image. Thoroughly enjoyed my first sighting and a dozen or so of the lads attending made for good craic. The heavens opened and off i sped. A few hours later, having visited my sister in Cullercoats and been fed n watered by her, i resurfaced just north of St Marys Island in Whitley Bay.
By this time the clouds had cleared and we had nice conditions in the main. A Barred Warbler had been spotted briefly a wee bit north from where a few birders and i were anticipating the sight of the Pallas's Leaf Warbler that had been present from the previous day. The Barred was never seen again as far as i am aware but the Pallas's gave brilliant, if slightly distant views for the next couple of hours. As before quite a few birders came and went, or remained, and the craic was more then enjoyable. To add to the enjoyment of my second newbie of the day dozens of Goldcrests were flitting around the mound like little jewels. One of the best birding afternoons that i have spent i reckon. I didn't manage any decent images despite everything in my favour to capture that superb "keeper" but i'm happy enough seeing the birds without taking a pic. Any images are a bonus in my book and not the be all and end all.
I have to say that the Pallas's Leaf Warbler was by far more stunning than i had absolute beauty of a bird ! ....and the Goldcrests set it off nicely. It verged on birding heaven yesterday.