Monday, 7 May 2012

Walking with Warblers............

.........and other birds. I had the car on Sunday for a few hours 'till the footy so headed out to bird but ended up walking 'n birding along the Bowes Railway Path. I had originally planned to visit Burdon Moor and Ravenswoth Fell but having left the car in the small car park opposite the Tanfield Railway i headed off along the path. I passed the spot of the site of Burdon Moor almost immediately but having not been to the area before decided to continue along the old rail line to see what i could come up with. I was enjoying it so much i just kept walking. Lots of Warblers could be seen and heard. Willow warblers, Chiff chaffs and Blackcaps seemed to be all along in the trees and shrubs that lined the way. Having had a conversation a couple of weeks ago regarding the lack of Yellowhammers at the Rising Sun it was great to see numbers of this species coming in from the fields and asking for that "little bit of cheese" before flying off and mainly dropping to the ground. With it being quite early i had the walk almost to myself at this stage with the odd cyclist whizzing by.
Warbler no. 1
I ended up eventually recognising Kibblesworth and decided while i was in the vicinity that i would visit the Brickwork Pools. Saddened to see on arrival that some retard in a 4 wheel drive had used the area as some sort of adventure playground and there were deep tracks all around the site, even through some of the smaller ponds. The sun had been out all morning and although there had been an overnight frost it was pleasant by now but didn't expect and didn't get a Damselfly. I had a couple of male Orange-tip Butterflies and hoards of St. Mark's Flies (the ones with the dangling legs) but no Dingy Skippers which i had been informed can be found at this site. Yet another Warbler kept me entertained as i sat for a while, thinking of the liquid refreshment i had left back in the car, before my return.
Warbler no. 2
The walk back entailed a long steady climb as these waggonways were designed for the trucks to roll down to the banks of the Tyne with the aid of gravity and pulled back by equine means. Not as many birds about now but a very vocal Blackcap allowed a fifteen minute break before i pushed on to call off at Burdon Moor.
Warbler no. 3
I was getting short on time so my visit to Burdon Moor was very brief but i got the lay of the land and sussed out the ponds there, one of which held Broad-bodied Chasers last year and talking to two of the local lads i found out which pond in particular was best. One of the others was pointed out as a spot for Common Hawkers when they appear. The guys i talked to had been there earlier and had returned to try to relocate a Whinchat that they had seen then but no show now.  I had walked just over ten km. as i found out later with an ascent of one hundred and sixty metres. I'm returning soon for the Dragonflies here and two other sites i know about and might take in Ravensworth Fell then.
Male Orange tip, Kibblesworth


  1. Sounds like a good walk John. Nice time of year for the warblers and I'm amazed by the number of Blackcaps I'm seeing.
    Not had an Orange Tip Butterfly yet, but the weather has ensured that I haven't seen many butterflies at all since that hot spell in March.

    1. The weather has been poor recently, to say the least Brian and it's not just the butterflies that have suffered with stories of washed out nests and flooded burrows. Hopefullt things will improve soon so we can all enjoy it !!

  2. Lovely to see the warblers Johnny & always nice to get an Orange Tip at rest, will keep an eye out for you posting pics of those Dingy Skippers, Linda

    1. I didn't see ANY Dingy Skippers last year Linda, in fact i didn'y see that many butterflies generally, such was the poor summer. I've only seen Dingy Skippers in one location, Shibdon Pond near Blaydon so i am raring to get the old macro lens out and try to do them justice. Fingers crossed for a nice spell of decent weather.

  3. John

    Very eloquently reported as normal. Am jealous of the pic of the Blackcap, have taken about 20 so far and not any of them in focus as they hide in the branches. It must be the height thing I think or the lack of it in my case (think I will take an orange box next time Im out with you so I can see what your seeing)


  4. John,
    You are more than welcome to sit on my shoulders, the views are stunning from up here !!!
    As i mentioned above i spent some time with this particular Blackcap, enjoying the lovely song BUT trying to get it to pose!! I actually go a couple of decent shots of it BUT a few were deleted.

  5. While i think on John, one of the guys i spoke to was Steven Fryer. A nice guy (we spoke to him near Lamesley that day) and very helpful as was his mate.

  6. John, next time you go to Burdon Moor try this-after parking car, go in opposite direction to Burdon Moor, walk thro the gate to Tanfield Railway,over the bridge and straight on along the track. When the track starts to fall have a wander over to the left where there is a large nettle patch good for butterfly. Also wander over to the right over the old pit spoil which is now covered with birch and scrub. Generally loads of warblers in this area with no restrictions to wander

  7. I will certainly have a look where you suggested when i return. I'll give you a shout if i have any success with the Broad-bodied Chasers.

    Thank you for the kind comments Cain. Very much appreciated.