Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hollywell Pond...Jack Snipe

A trip to St. Marys Lighthouse mid afternoon yesterday turned out to be disappointing as i failed to locate the Firecrest that has been around for the last few days. After a dry but miserable half hour, the drizzle started and with that the mist began to thicken. From the prom. the usual selection of gulls and waders. Along to the island, causeway then beach nothing much startling but got my first close up glimpse of one of my favourite wintering birds, Sanderling. I found a nice rock close by to park my bum and spent a delightful half hour watching their keystone cop style antics at the waters edge. No matter how cold it is , i always get a warm glow when i sit and watch these birds. Away from the water there was an abundance of Redwing, Blackbirds and a number of Robins.
This morning i ventured down to Hollywell Pond which was quite busy. Large numbers of gull, Black Headed, Herring and Black Backed which when not on the water formed an endless stream to and from the direction of Seghill Tip. A large flock of Lapwing were interrupted for a couple of minutes when 30 odd Starlings descended on the water and decided to have a collective bathe. Unaware of this, there were 34 Canada Geese, 18 Greylag, 44 Mallard, 8 Tufted Duck and various small numbers of Coot, Moorhen, Pochard, a couple of Grey Heron, a Cormorant, 16 Teal feeding on the shoreline and what looked like a male Shoveller in eclipse. Anyway in amongst this lot over to the left of the public hide in amongst Bull rushes at the corner of the bay i spotted a Snipe. By now the mist was slowly beginning to drop and visibility was OK but starting to deteriorate. I had seen half a dozen Snipe up at Big Waters a couple of times in the last 10 days and i commented to Dave, who frequents the pond, how bright i thought the stripes on the back were. Never thought any more of it but then there were more Snipe that had flew in. By then another couple of lads had joined us and one said that one of them was a Jack Snipe. Sure enough, with a number of birds together you could see how much smaller the Jack was, along with the shorter bill and different colouration. It was also noticed to be slowly bouncing up and down. I must thank Bob Dac for the excellent views i observed from his scope as the mist was spoiling good views from my bins by now. No pics of Jack but couple of Teal and what i think is the Shoveler in eclipse taken on my compact Canon.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Harlequin Ladybird

Whilst up at St Abbs Head i noticed this Ladybird. For those who don't know there is a species known as the HARLEQUIN LADYBIRD which has been invading our shores since 2004. This invasive species is jeopardising many of our own46 species of Ladybird and needs to be reported if spotted.
Now i am not sure if this is a Harlequin, i can't remember the exact size of it but it almost has the letter "M " formed within its spots. Can anyone help as i may need to report it. Many thanks.


The pics i want to show won't download. I took them in raw, edited them, then into pics on computer but have noticed they are now "tif" does this cause a problem? Anyone know.
No pics for the moment.

Frustrated blooger

I don't know how many times i have sat down since my last post and not actually written a word. It's like this. I set off in my walking boots, rucksack full, batteries charged and raring to get out there. I don't give a toss what the weather is, (obviously a bit of nice light would be an advantage) it's just nice to get out and about. If i see something new, speak to someone interesting or learn something new i am a happy man.
When i get back i download and go through my images from the days explorations and decide which pics i will use on the blog. This is where the trouble starts. You see, i don't know much about anything that i come across, be it bird or fungi or insect or whatever. SOOOOO, when i have picked the pics, i have to do some research on what is in that pic. Then after 3 hours of hunting out the fungi i managed to capture underneath that dead branch, it's usually 1.30 a.m. and i haven't even identified what it was. AAAAHHHHH. Mind you, i've thoroughly enjoyed myself. There is so much out there to learn about. Anyway, that is why i am so slow posting my blogs.
Since my last post i have visited Rothbury, Upper Coquetdale, St. Abbs Head, Eyemouth, Cresswell, Druridge, Holy Island and Budle Bay and not managed one post.
Until now. I visited Seaham on Sunday and followed a walk i had which took in Blast Beach and Hawthorn Village amongst other places. There was a gusty westerley blowing so not much at sea but joined a couple of people searching out a Yellow-Browed Warbler at the south end of Blast Beach. Half an hours crack while we waited but no joy so off i set. I'll catch it on the way back. Passed a disused quarry (which i later found out was Hawthorn Quarry) and hung around hoping to capture sight of a bird of prey possibly, only to see a few Crows but was informed by a guy in Hawthorn Dene when i got there that Peregrines had nested last year but not this. Through Hawthorn Village onto the Dene....loads of fungi pics.....but on the way out was puzzled by the sight on the ground only 1 metre from the path. A Great Spotted Woodpecker had snuggled up and went to sleep. It was in the grass without any cover. I stood over it for a couple of minutes, actually trying to figure out what i was looking at, i knew it was a G.S.W. but couldn't figure out what was going on. Anyway eventually i disturbed it , at which it turned its head looked at me and casually flew into a nearby tree. Is this common behaviour? On the way back i called past the site of the Y.B.Warbler but no luck and took in Blast Beach, as i had read that it had been used in scenes from the film Alien 3. I know why........what a strange landscape, and a reminder of the pollution man has caused over the years.
Here are a couple of pics