Saturday, 30 October 2010

2 species, 4 images, no waffle...........NICE

Reed Bunting


..............taken at St. Marys Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear.
             ( don't forget to DOUBLE click to enhance the enjoyment  )

Monday, 25 October 2010

Killy and The Carr

Having seen the forecast last night and a car available to me i set the alarm for 6.45 this morning. I wasn't disappointed as the dawn broke and the light looked superb. I popped outdoors 3 times in the first couple of hours and feeling the temperature, or lack of it, kept finding "little jobs" to be getting on with delaying my departure.
O.K.         It was freezing outside, the words, monkeys, balls and brass came to mind, but not necessarily in that order and i didn't actually leave 'till gone 11.
I hadn't been up to Prestwick Carr for a while so decided that was the place and would call past Killingworth Lake for a quickie on the way. You can get some nice waterfowl on the water in winter ( WELL THAT'S HOW IT FELT ) but not today. There were numerous birds about but only the usual suspects, the highlight being 3 cormorants. Oh yes, and it was bitter in the biting wind which scythed across the larger lake.
Off to Prestwick within 20 minutes and on arrival, as i organised myself and changed footwear, 3 Common Buzzards drifted gently over the wooded area in the "military zone". I had 2 species in mind. I had hoped for a possible Short-eared Owl and i ALWAYS see a budgerigar err Yellowhammer.
Set off up the track to the sentry box and a battle ensued. A battle between the wind and the sun. The sun was winning the fight on my right hand side but was getting slaughtered on the left.
Not much on the way up to the gate by the box. No sign of any Swallows and only a Robin and some Blue Tits (no jokes please ) to keep out the chill. There was however a bit more activity in the area close to the derelict building. A scan in the area where the Tawny Owl had been resident earlier in the year produced nothing but all around were the sounds of Blue and Great Tits, Wrens, another Robin, at least a couple of Blackbirds and a lone Goldfinch! I eventually located most of the birds but never reached into my bag for my camera until i caught sight of a Willow Tit. Lush. Didn't want to spook it so i just watched it through the bins for 2 or 3 minutes then slowly sidled into my bag and got the camera out. While i was doing this it called and an immediate reply came back and i could see a second bird a couple of trees further along the track. I tracked the first bird with the camera for a further minute or so but never got a shot off and it eventually disappeared in the foliage never to be seen by myself again. Totally gutted as the light was still superb but i did get great views for 5 minutes so can't complain. Back to the car, a coffee and off along the bumpy road but no owls and only Bicycle Bill worth mentioning...........and NO BUDGIES EITHER!!!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Fungi in Fenton Wood nr. Ford, Northumberland

Continuing on the fungi theme, these images were captured on a return visit to Fenton Woods. Mr. Cheviot and i had been out walking 2 weeks ago and had called into this area of the woods at the northern tip to examine some cup and ring markings indicated on the map. Having found the markings we spotted some lush fungi as we exited the woods to continue the walk on to Ford Moss. The day we did the walk was the Friday before the large fall of migrants down the east coast. That particular day the conditions had been very misty with a steady N/ N.Easterly wind not making visibility of Ford Moss very good so a return visit to the Moss itself is on the cards. Anyway, i waffle. Remember "more waffling than warbling".We called back to explore the wood further last Thursday spending 4 hours or so but knowhere near covered as much ground as we wanted. Mr. Cheviot had spotted some stunning Fly Agaric last time but was disappointed not to find any this time. Any names put forward would be extremely well received. Enjoy.

      The 2 specimens in this image were 125mm and 170 mm in size and partially hidden in the bracken undergrowth. Very striking.
A very different feel to my previous posting of fungi. This time reduced if hardly any light resulting in use of flash and long exposures.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Depressed? Miserable? Weather getting you down? look here...........

These are some images i captured at the Rising Sun Country Park the other day, you know, THAT day when the sun was shining for a couple of hours. They certainly brightened my evening up when i was sorting them. There is nothing nicer than a quiet autumn day when the sun still has the remnants of its summer feel. That pleasant warmth and golden glow that it casts.
But that was then.........and nowt more miserable than when the sun aint shone for a few days. As is the case at the moment with either the cloud cover or mist. I've included one of the last Dragonfly i've seen for a few days in with the fungi.

If they haven't managed to cheer you up a little i suggest you go to the cupboard and get out that can of Heinz Cream of Tomato, heat it in a pan, pour into a mug and cup it in your hands as you consume it.
......and finally my last Dragonfly so far this year, a Darter, soaking up the suns rays. I hope i see a few more Darters and will be disappointed if some Hawkers don't reappear also before the end of the month.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Orange-flanked Bush Robin

Decided to visit St. Marys' this afternoon to view the above bird......WHAT?
O.K.   Red-flanked Bluetail if you like, but can i point out at this stage that the Robins in the vicinity had a problem with it and quite a few chased it off. I rest my case, you honour. I think THEY might know better than US. What a spanking AND obliging little beauty. As per other bloggers, light was awful so no decent images ( "It doesn't stop you other times!" was the call from the cheap seats.) i thoroughly enjoyed the 90 minutes i had with it, made even more enjoyable by the appearance of the Stalker sorry Blogger from Howdon, whom i haven't seen for a while. After sharing the bird and some banter for 20 mins. or so we had a wander round in failing light picking out large numbers of Robins. Others seen included Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Blackbirds.
Before my jaunt to St. Marys' i had called past Tynemouth, but all the stunners have moved on. The Shorelark had been viewed in the morning but was absent when i was there. I still enjoyed my visit as it was an area i played around as a child. Recollections of sitting on Lord Collingwoods canons and scrambling about in the Spanish Batteries came flooding back. Aye, and the Black Middens.
Does anyone remember the stench from the Guano Works that drifted up Tanners Bank. I can smell it now!!