Friday, 31 August 2012

Edmundbyers circular, Durham

A fantastic walk out of Edmundbyers yesterday via Muggleswick Park, Carp Shiel, Birkhot, Lamb Shiel and back brought us a number of bird sightings. No camera or bins taken as the forecast wasn't the best and when i arose at 6.30a.m. it was torrential rain. We crossed over the bridge at Burnhope Burn around 10a.m. and it was a raging torrent. The ford alongside was underwater and when we returned mid afternoon the burn had returned to what looked like its normal state and the ford turned out to be a series of large pipes side by side, allowing the water through and they must have been at least 800mm in diameter giving some idea how much the burn was swollen. It was overcast while out with bits of rain here and there and a definite autumnal feel in the wind. The SUN CAME OUT as we changed to get back into the car in what turned out to be a beautiful evening.
Buzzards 5, Peregrine 1, Grey Heron 1. Snipe 3, Red Grouse 40, Meadow Pipit 60+, Goldfinch 50+, Linnet 50+.
We covered 14.6km with a total ascent of 408metres and saw only 4 humans. Brilliant.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Killy G.C.G.'s

Called past Killingworth Lakes for thirty minutes last night on the way down to check the post at our other abode. Spent ten minutes with an adult Great Crested Grebe gently floating alongside two of its' offspring. The kids kept drifting slowly away occasionally but upon realising suddenly started moving back to mam / dad quickly like some sort of aquatic curling stone. The head never lifted but the legs must have been going ten to the dozen out of sight.
A family of Common Terns are still here and while watching one of the parents bringing in a small fish to the juvenile in amongst a group of House Martins i spotted a Common Swift. I quickly picked up on another three hawking over the trees on the far side. The Great Crested Grebe family drifted past as i waited in vain for the Swifts to come closer, they hooked up with the other adult. A Little Grebe was the only bird of note on the smaller lake.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Rosie and Sandie

Our usual Saturday soiree had myself and the BLOGGER FROM HOWDON in South Tyneside. Having paid the penance of £1.40 to pass under the River Tyne we continued on towards Whitburn hoping to catch a glimpse of Napoleons, errr sorry, Bonapartes Gull. No joy early on but having spent time beside the Foundation of Light and the beach north of Roker Pier caught up with the bird on the rocks of Whitburn Steel. Having enjoyed clear but slightly distant views we headed onto Whitburn Coastal Park where we spent an hour or so sea watching along with a circumnavigation of the park itself. Nothing exceptional passed by at sea while we observed and nothing overly exciting in the park but a nice walk nonetheless, i look forward to returning during the winter period.
The land of the Sand dancer, South Shields was our main destination as far as i was concerned and brilliant views of the Roseate Terns were had. We filled up the parking meter on arrival and had a sit down coffee before heading out to the pier. Initial sightings to the south side of the pier were had of Guillemots, close in to the beach, then loads of Common Terns. We switched our attention to the northern side and we had our Rosies there. I looked across the Tyne towards Tynemouth wandering why we didn't see these lovely birds on our side of the river and chuckled this morning to see a sighting at the Black Midden rocks today! A few Ruddy Turnstones mingled in amongst the Terns in semi breeding plumage and a bonus bird by way of a Common Sandpiper added to the enjoyment. Boldon Flats was paid a visit on the return home with Curlew and Snipe the highlights in among a number of Greylag Geese which we had seen lift earlier from the fields down the road. A quick hello to JARRA SID who John and i had the pleasure of for an hour with some handy local tips thrown in.
Had the phone and Internet finally installed on Thursday and a new car was gratefully picked up on Wednesday so the days of public transport hopefully have passed. We are creatures of habit and the upheaval of the past few weeks has been awful. I know one thing...........if we ever flood again, god forbid, I WILL BE RESCUING THE CAR BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE !!!!!!!!!
Beautiful Roseate Tern, just wish John had put more money in the meter.
Common Tern with just as Common Sandpiper close by. I don't find either common at all.
 If you want to see these fantastic birds before their imminent journey to Africa get yersell doon to Soo Shields pier......the Sand dancers aren't a bad bunch. You might even get a Black Tern like us, i see one came in this morning to the pier.

Monday, 6 August 2012 your face

Still no Internet or car so everything is still a chore. First time on line since last Wednesday courtesy of an extension into the neighbours back bedroom window so as to connect to the Internet in Segedunum. A trip out on Thursday with Mr. Cheviot to Castle Eden Dene was much appreciated and apart from the Dene itself an hour spent on Castle Bridge had us transfixed by the large numbers of Southern Hawkers tracking along the rides and water to join us on the bridge in the marvellous sunshine. Over 40 sightings of this Hawker with a few Darters joining in the Dragonfest. Loads of Butterflies, mainly in the form of Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and Ringlet acted as the support acts and a solitary Comma made a guest appearance. Please look HERE to see a macro image of a Common Darter resting on the bridges' handrail.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


I had to walk up to the north end of Ponteland from the airport Metro on Sunday and ended up in Ponteland Park for the first time ever. A most enjoyable 3 hours spent beside the Oxbow Lake and a cracking wildflower planted meadow area. A very distant Hawker was in amongst the Flag Iris on the lake along with a small number of Damselflies. I took some lunch with me and ate it while sitting enjoying the insects on the wildflowers, the Field Scabious being the favourite with most. Another Hawker appeared hunting the tree edge before coming to rest in typical crucifix position close by to me.
Southern Hawker "hanging out"
 A short time later i was standing on a bridge over the River Pont watching at least 6 more Hawkers taking insects above the river. That's almost as many as i've seen all summer. One of them took time out landing on a plant on the bank side before a second beauty landed on a post on the bridge to enjoy the sunshine. I stood and enjoyed the sunshine while enjoying watching the Dragonfly enjoying the sunshine. can't beat it, it's just a case of finding it first.
Fabulous Common Hawker soaking up the rays
Look at that stunning costa along the front edge of the wings.