Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Eye have a problem

Struggling with an eye infection so not much text. "Hoorah!" i hear you shout
Met up with Dick Gilhespy of CITY BIRDING fame to share the wonders of the Rising Sun on Tuesday morning. A very enjoyable wander around with good craic, lovely light and a few nice birds.
Cheers Dick.
Images of a Blue Tit and a rather pale breasted Reed Bunting.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hello Ducky

Early visit in wonderful light at Killingworth Lake before heading up the coast brought this excellent image of a female Pochard. Later on Druridge Pool my first sighting this year of Little Grebe followed by first of Pied Wagtail on return from Low Chibburn. A first visit to Ellington Pond Nature Reserve for me brought prolonged views of two pairs of Gadwall, a nice Mistle Thrush and noisy Greenfinch. A nice stop off  point for an hour when on way to Cresswell/ Druridge.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Brizlee Tower, Hulne Park

Most of my postings concern wildlife but occasionally you see things that turn the head while out and about. The tower at Brizlee falls into this catagory in my opinion so i've included some very nice images taken by Jeff Veevers, my partner in crime, while out walking. He is much more of a photographer than i am and had the perfect lens to capture the splendour of this gothic styled construction finished in 1781. Commisioned by  Hugh the 1st Duke of Nothumberland and designed by the famous Robert Adam placed on a rocky hilltop overlooking the grounds landscaped by "Capability" Brown in Hulne Park.
Enjoy the images, i did.
The tower stands 26 metres( 87ft ) high.
160 metres above sea level.
Absolutely stunning, i think you'll agree.
The tower, as well as the photography.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Cinclus Cinclus, River Aln.

The highlight of a visit to Hulne Park on Sunday with Bigfoot was a pair of Dippers scouring the riverbank carrying nesting material in their beaks while doing so. I thought they might be looking for an appropriate site as they kept landing on rocks and disappearing into crevices in the bank. Other birds of note while out on Sunday included a pair of Treecreepers interacting, drumming Woodpeckers and soaring Buzzards on a number of occasions. I also had a very brief sighting of a Red Squirrel early on.
I ended up returning again on Wednesday after my walking pal Mr. Cheviot suggested a visit as he wanted to photograph Brizlee Tower a grade 1 listed folly, built by the famous architect Robert Adam, which overlooks Hulne Park.
This image was from Sunday, with nesting material.
While this was on Wednesday. The bird flew up and into the underside of the bridge before zipping off up Shipley Burn. On inspection i found this nest under the bridge.

Monday, 7 March 2011


Got my first bumbler sighting of the year today at the Rising Sun. Bright sunshine but a slight chill in the air. This Buff-talied Bumblebee, Bombus Terrestris, usually the first species of bumbler to appear, may be in for a shock tonight in tumbling temperatures. I spotted this little stunner while in stealth mode stalking a Coal Tit i had found in a conifer. It was in shade, so i  was waiting for it to move into better light so as  to capture its beauty. Isn't it funny how you can wander around for half an hour without wanting to capture anything on your camera and never see another soul but the minute you have a cracking subject you would like to capture a possee of dog walkers appear from knowhere and your nether regions are being probed by inquisitive noses. Canine, i must add.
Of course the bird buggers off.
So here is the Bumblebee.

      Buff-taled Bumblebee

Thursday, 3 March 2011

A week in and around the Rising Sun.

Last week it was half term so i spent my three visits on the periphery. At Scaffold Hill Farm i had the sight of House and Tree Sparrows together for the first time. The local white and grey moggie sitting fairly close below some feeders placed to the side of the farmhouse didn't seem to phase the birds too much, a pair of Reed Buntings even popped in as i looked on. A walk down the lane leading to Hadrian Pond brought me a lone Yellowhammer atop the hedgerow shortly followed by a nest which had been left exposed by the mechanical cutter which had passed through recently judging by the damaged ends of the mainly hawthorn. I think it is/was a Dunnocks nest.

A fantastic construction on closer inpection. (double click for more detail)
Hadrian Pond has held nothing more exciting than a few Teal but i'm hopeful i may get something more interesting over the next couple of months. I remember a female Ruddy Duck and her ducklings a couple of years back which sent Simon P. dashing along to see them when i showed him some images.
This week i have spent more time closer to Swallow Pond with numerous sightings of Goldfinch which, in the previous month, would have certainly brought views of Redpoll or Siskins, but not this week. I did however have the unexpected sighting of a pair of Oystercatchers on the Tern raft initially but shortly after they moved to the island in front of the waggonway hide. This was my first of this species in the three years i have been visiting the park but unfortunately on Weds. when i returned there was no sign. Red the Stag was in his now favourite field between the pond and Hadrian Wood. He must find the grazing sweet.

 An update on the Mute Swan that had to be dispatched a few weeks ago,
Having received a couple of e mails asking if i knew what had happened. I managed to finally catch up with Chris, one of the wardens at the Rising Sun, to find out what had happened to the Mute Swan. The report in the newspaper was incorrect. The Swan in question, the female, had been reported to the wardens as not looking too healthy. They took it in and decided to send it up to Berwick where it was found to have three OLD wounds which had healed over  The poor creature was found to be suffering from lead poisoning and was consequently put down. A sad note to end on.