Thursday, 30 May 2013

Happy Valley.......with Commas.

Fly catching Wagtails, Grey and Pied, displaying Sandpipers, Dippers and breeding Oystercatchers made for a fabulous day, and that was just on the Colgate Mill Stream. All the main Warblers were viewed along with Wrens and Robins in the varied habitats of the valley itself.
We came across 2 possibly 3 pairs of Oystercatchers with young. The first pair kept alighting on a fallen tree which was some 2 metres above the surrounding gorse giving a great vantage point for any potential threat. When not on the old bough one of the adults would either circle around the area or land on the ground nearby. I reckon JOHN and I covered around 2/3rds of the distance to the ford near North Middleton on Saturday but I had the use of the car on Sunday so, knowing everywhere would be busy headed back to Happy Valley on Sunday.
Heading out from the parking area in the Harthope Valley at Skirl Naked I climbed the stile and mingled in amongst the gorse. I was a little later than the previous day hence it was much quieter bird wise but I had my macro lens and tripod hoping for some images of insects or plants. This time I did make it all the way to the ford close to Colgate Mill, the building and in doing so passed through some nice mixed woodland disturbing a female Roe Deer which scarpered through one of the many patches of still blooming Bluebells. Sadly no Odonata seen but there were loads of White Butterflies including Orange Tip and Green-veined but the highlight here was 3 Commas.
Having returned to the car I headed along the Harthope Valley as John and I had done the day before but this was around 5pm whereas it had been nearer 2pm previously and again a bit quieter. Whereas on Saturday we had Flycatchers and later Ring Ouzel I had the pleasure of a calling Cuckoo. Always high above the valley, i asked a few walkers who had also heard it if it had been seen, but never showed. It called on and off for over an hour.
Comma butterfly.
Oyster. lookout point.

Macro of Common Broom


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lindisfarne / E. Chev....... with hyphens

Had to get a new computer/ operation on arm, hence the lack of posts.
THE Howdon Blagger and I headed up the coast yesterday (first day of a few days holiday for the wee man) and a fine days birding was had. Not quite the rarities of the previous few days but not being a big twitcher not a problem. It's as much about the location.
No explanation then for the visit to the fabulous Holy Island. We didn't even get as far as the main car park spending all our time on the Snook. NOT ONE DOG WALKER seen and some cracking birds. While I think on, a lot is being made of the serious problems all of our wildlife is experiencing and on the way up I was commenting to John how much, in my case, I had noticed the lack of Meadow Pipits seen. I mention tis because we saw loads on the island along with Skylarks in the rough grassland. Out at Half-moon Slack a Red-backed Shrike fed in the shelter of the trees around the water then the Barred Warbler was sighted doing the same. While here I picked up on a Short-eared Owl which revealed itself briefly from behind one of the dunes before drifting off north.
Leaving Lindisfarne late morning and with THE Blaggers tummy rumbling, lunch was consumed in Amble and shared with numerous Black-headed Gulls. Many of these birds fed from the hand. I sit with my arm out of the car window, chip in hand, with the birds taking them while in the air. Entertaining if somewhat noisy.
East Chevington brought us numerous Reed Warblers over the Beach Pool while listening for the Great version and a pair of Stonechats and Linnet looked stunning in the nearby dunes. Sedgies were much quieter than they had been when I was there a few days earlier. The Marsh Harriers showed very briefly and four Grey Heron flew overhead at various times along with eight Curlew which drifted down towards Druridge Pools.

N.B.   If you've been directed here by that lazy hound THE Howdon Blagger can I say hello. 39 hours birding in 2 days.........PAH. Small potatoes Mr. Hall, y can't take the pace !