Sunday, 30 June 2013

Young Water Rail.......Big Waters

Kept making solo appearances in front of the main hide. Parents must be trying for next brood.
Cuckoo kept calling and finally made a very brief appearance behind the main scrape.
Feeding station was busy with local residents feeding young. Notably Tree Sparrows and Great Tits with a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker being chaperoned by mum.
Young 'un     having a pootle about.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Aerial combat

Spent some time in the lakeside hide at Gosforth Park this morning with the Black-headed Gulls and their chicks holding centre stage early on. Life for a chick can be a painful learning curve. Make sure you approach your own parents if you are going to beg for food because if you get it wrong you are going to get a good pecking or stomping for your trouble. Meanwhile back on the platform the Common Terns have young also but they aren't going far. Their parents however get involved in some entertaining squabbles.
Overhead thrills and spills.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The smallest Hawker

That's the Hairy Dragonfly.
I saw my first ever at Westbere Marshes in Kent, a female ovipositing in a ditch between the private fishing lake and the marsh itself. It has the shortest flight season of the Hawkers and is the earliest.
The female has more hair than the male !!
A twisting and contorting Dragon.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Little Waters........Big suprise.

I arrived at Little Waters having spent an enjoyable four hours between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. at Gosforth Park with the sight of a Bittern flying across the channel of water in front of the screen the main highlight. Camera was in my bag sadly but I did get some nice shots from the main hide of Black-headed Gulls feeding their chicks. The Terns also have chicks but they were sitting tight and never offered any photographic opportunities.
At Little Waters, after thirty minutes exploring the periphery I came across Brian (Northumbrian Birding) who, I knew, had the same target species as I did. A Broad-bodied Chaser had been photographed by Alan Johnson a few days previously and after initial disappointment the subject appeared more or less as soon as the sun broke through the heavy cloud cover. A beautiful specimen, a mature male. Initially a single Four-spot Chaser appeared over the pond and immediately the B.B.C. took exception and CHASED it off but a couple more joined it which didn't help our viewing. A Darter was also noted which turns out, I reckon, to be a Common Darter. The book says that they can emerge in June and go through 'till October.
Our Broad-bodied Chaser gave smashing views when perched but it did go missing not only chasing off other dragons but when the sun disappeared behind cloud cover. More time will be spent here over the next few days..............WEATHER PERMITTING.
One word.....BREATHTAKING.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Damselfly exuvia, Banks' Pond.

Sun kept coming and going as I drove up to look for Dragons & Damsels but on arrival at the pond it quickly disappeared. I had a very brief sighting of a couple of Dragons engaged in combat and at the speed they were travelling I would hazard a guess that they were Four-spot Chasers but with the poor overhead conditions neither were seen again. Glimpses of Large-red and Common Blue Damsels were had and some tenerals lifted as I passed through some of the longer grass but I knew my fate and settled down to try to view some exuvia in amongst the reeds. No Dragon exoskeletons could be located but large numbers of Damsels were noted. I sat and counted 31 in view at one stage.

Numbers of Swifts and House Martins kept me entertained over the water before the drizzle started.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Red Kite delight.

A couple of images from Saturday. The Howdon Blogger and I pootled around Newcastle and Gateshead and our last port of call was in the vicinity of the River Derwent. The local Red Kites were enjoying the thermals and we were enjoying the Kites.

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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Happy chappie

First Damselflies of the year for me.
On the way to the Rising Sun I encountered my first Large-red Damselfly in the Station Road ditch to the west of the country park. Relieved to see a damsel here as the ditch had been drastically widened last year and the habitat had been seriously compromised. A pair in tandem and three tenerals were spotted along the banks of the ditch and off I strode with a broad smile to the first of the ponds confident more were to follow. Follow they did but only at the one location. Dukes Pond and the Plantation Pond held nothing but the pair of ponds on the edge of the SEO fields had good numbers of Large-red.  Adults, both singles and coupled on or close to the water and juveniles, as one would expect on the periphery nestled in the vegetation waiting their turn to mature and venture closer to the water.
Managed to get this specimen to alight onto my finger. Captured the eye nicely, I thought.