Monday, 15 December 2014

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Little Waulk along Tynemouth Pier.

Heavily cropped
......or did i get something else ??? A juv Razorbill perhaps ?

Monday, 24 November 2014

A Raven, Hume's Leaf Warbler and two Waxwings.........

......not bad for Sunday mornings birding.
Tynemouth was my first stop. I saw the gates of the north pier were open, and having tried and failed to gain access on my last three visits, i made a bee line for it. I spent an hour in the shadow (although there was no sun) of the Lighthouse gazing at the North Sea  and saw.........nowt. Well, apart from gulls and cormorants. On the way back i heard the distinctive GRONK of a Raven. It had already passed overhead so i only got a couple of record shots in very poor light.

I didn't check out Priors Park but instead headed along to the Brierdene to check out the Hume's Leaf Warbler which i saw almost immediately from down in the dene. It looked like photo opportunities might be better higher up so i joined the small throng gazing into a Sycamore above the dene. I did get some more nice views but there were always branches in the way and the light was still poor so hardly tried to capture anything with the camera. A couple of Waxwings were reported by The Three Muskateers so i made my way in the direction of the Whitley Bay Golf Club and picked up on the Waxers quickly.  Ten minutes in their company before they lifted high and headed off south in the direction Monkseaton Drive but i have seen since that they returned.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Aint been out too much in the last two or three weeks with the odd half day visits to Tynemouth, Prestwick Carr and Gosforth Park the venues.
Gosforth afforded me a few views of the Bitterns. The highlight a ten minute session with one in full view preening and looking to feed. You can only take so many pictues of even  a Bittern so decided to capture some video footage, which isn't the best, (need some practice) so here is a non moving image.
 Tynemouth on Saturday was relatively quiet. A number of birders were on the prom. below Knotts Flats scoping the River Tyne over towards South Shields looking for the Grey Phalarope which had been seen on both sides of the river on Friday but the bird had flown, as they say. Sadly the pier was closed  AGAIN and i had to settle with views of Purple Sandpipers on the Midden Rocks. Priors Park held noticable numbers of Blackbirds and Robins once more and i had the joy of a gleening single Goldcrest for a couple of minutes.
Ptestwick Carr gave me three firsts. My first Redwings of the autumn, my first ever bathing Bullfinch, it splashed about in a puddle on the bumpy road and my first Tree Sparrows at this site. They seemed to favour a raised piece of scrubby ground halfway up the horse fields on the way to the sentry boxes. Very skittish and attempts to get an image were abandoned in case they may have settled in the area. Will check it out next time i'm up there.Willow Tits very much in evidence and a couple showed well on returning from the red flag area. No SEOs .

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Hoping for a Shag.....

...i called in at Blyth South Harbour. Only Cormorants on the old staithes. On the lookout for a Snow Bunting or two but dipped on those also. I did have this beaut patrolling the harbour after i lifted it from under the wharf.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Raggy-arsed dragon.

Well.....raggy winged.
Makes you wonder how the fella managed to stay airborne or not get predated.
Migrant Hawker.

Not so raggy dragon.
Common Darter.
There have been a number of Migrant Hawkers on patrol along the new dog walking and cycling path leading to the Oddie and Budge hides at Druridge Pools. Favouring what is left of the brambles just as you cross the ditch.
The Common Darters used to be seen all along the path (that might have changed) but are always to be found at the far end where the style takes you out to the Old Rectory.
The new improved ( not for the wildlife judging by the damage done to the plantlife along the raised banks) path already has litter accumulating along it, and in the hide, not to mention the dog shit just starting to be deposited. I hardly remember seeing any litter along here before and not once can i remember seeing a dog walker never mind the remnants of such a visit. In the last couple of weeks the steam of dog walkers has been increasing, so watch where you tread. Never mind camo gear, better get a high viz jacket so the cyclists don't mow you down !!!.

Anyway, hopefully off to see a man about a Death's-head Hawkmoth !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

I struck Gold...........

.......but not much else.

A few sightings of Goldcrest in the bushes at Druridge but i have a feeling it may have been the same bird. Apart from a number of Robins nothing else of note.
A Velvet Scoter early morning was enjoyable followed immediately by a Kestrel showing its aerial prowess by hovering stationary at Snab Point for over 3 minutes in winds exceeding gale force. The birds tail was at ninety degrees beneath the body most of the time.Light was no good for an image unfortunately.........if i'd been able to stand upright and still that is.
A Barnacle Goose was present in fields just north of what is now Cresswell Duck Pond as i stopped briefly early morn. and later as i headed home late p.m.

Below is a couple of images from Sunday morning of the Shorelark which was close to Chibburn Burn. I was one of only five birders that saw it for 10/15 minutes picking thro' the strand line. It had been seen briefly 15 minutes earlier by one gent for only 30 seconds. Both times it disappeared into the dunes.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Getting to know you.

A kestrel was chilling and occasionally checking out the ditch below its chosen fence post at St. Marys Island this morning until, enter stage left, a couple of Magpies appeared a good 50 metres further along the same fence line. As expected they made their way towards the Kestrel and decided to give it grief. One of the Magpies and the Kestrel disappeared over the fields.
Getting acquainted.

The Howdon Blogger and i arrived to be greeted by beautiful light. Sadly i didn't manage to capture any decent images in the thirty or so minutes it glowed. Our only options were Rock Pipit, Pied Wag or Crow at the south end of the prom. where very high tides had left huge piles of 'weed piled high way up the beach, which would have been lifting with life later as the tempertures rose. Check out the wrack if you're down in the next couple of days (dog walkers permitting, as ever).
A brief Golden Plover aerial display was nice but will become dazzling as numbers increase. All the usual birds on the rocks. Although i did manage a Wren and Robin on the larger dry rocks north of the north bay.
Three Goldcrests were the best we could manage in the trees by the wetland with two Stonechats either side of a Reed Bunting out in the open just before the Kestrel caught my attention.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

BLIMEY ! That is slimey.

I literally had 30 minutes to kill at Gosforth Park before picking the missus up from work at Freeman Hospital. This ended up being 15 mins after a chat with warden Paul on the way in. I was going to have a quick walk around in the time i had so didn't bother with a camera. Sods law, i quickly came across this Slime Mould and ended up dashing back to the car for the camera and tripod leaving me with less tham 5 minutes to get a couple of images. The missus wouldn't appreciate me turning up late with an excuse that i had been held up by a Slime Mould.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Gossy Tern

Gosforth Park, Common Tern
Quite simply, beautiful birds to watch.
Only five juveniles left on the Tern raft. Numbers of Mallard on the water and not much else until i spotted a Little Egret in the trees between the hides. It lifted after a bit and headed in a westerly direction. I headed around to the other hide and on the way noticed what must have been the same Little Egret on the flash outside the reserve. Talking to a gentleman in the hide he said the L.E. had been hanging about for about 3 weeks. Just before i had to leave to pick the missus up from THE Freeman a Red Kite briefly appeared at the far end of the reserve but quickly disappeared being mobbed by Corvids.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Better late than never, hopefully.

Wednesday 16th July '14
I was watching from the Oddie Hide at Druridge looking over the large pool when a pair of Great Crested Grebes caught my eye mirroring. Some more displaying followed then some weed was presented.
This looks serious.

Thursday 17th July '14
A trip up to the Druridge Bay area had me heading to the Oddie Hide again and sure enough not long after i arrived the Great Crested Grebes were displaying again.
It wasn't long before the female headed towards the nest.
WAIT A MINUTE. That wasn't there yesterday. They had obviously constructed it overnight. If you look in the first image, no nest, and that was just about the same place as today.
The male looks raring to go but much posturing by the female but this went on for five minutes.
Eventually the eggs are fertilised.
And the couple finally look pleased with themselves.

Sunday 20th July '14
I went up to Low Newton for a walk around taking in the Long Nanny. Along with Cresswell Pond i called in at Druridge and was concerned to see the nest on which the female is now settled was very low in the water. My first thoughts were of was the heavy downpours that had been forecast almost anywhere. I wouldn't think the nest would take too much rain to be flooded out. Lets hope either the rain keeps away or the male starts building the nest higher. I think all that i've seen so far points to these Grebes being inexperienced and i don't think the male will add any more material. Whatever the case fingers crossed for this pair.

I did see one of the Wood Sandpipers early this morning at Stringer Scrapes at Low Newton and i lapped up the views of the Tern colony, both Little and Arctic, at the Long Nanny. I sat and had a late lunch there watching both species of Tern bathing in the Nanny with quite a few stunning looking Dunlin, many still in breeding plumage, and four Ringed Plover probing the edges of the burn just in front of me. I was told of the Curlew Sandpiper as i walked the path approaching the Druridge hides but did not see it. The Budge Field has some cracking areas of mud but there are numerous large tussocks of grass all around so lots of places for birds to disappear. The three Spoonbills seem to have deserted the Budge Field for Cresswell with four Little Egrets keeping them company. The three juvenile Avocets continue to mature nicely and a handsome Ruff is also at Cresswell but was very distant in the twenty five minutes i had on the way home.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Hello, goodbye.

Cresswell Pond this morning was busy, busy, busy.
Something going on continually. The action centring on the sand bar with the Avocets deciding who could stay and who should go. Initially, for an hour or so, anything bigger than a Wagtail, apart from a Shelduck and young, would be dispatched without delay. Grey Heron, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Snipe, Dunlin, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and Common Sandpiper were all treated the same and all fled the wrath of the Avocets. There was one exception. A single Magpie landed and three Avocets headed in the Mags direction but stopped a couple of metres short. All three voicing their disapproval of the presence of the pied intruder but this time they were happy to keep a watching brief  'till the Mag left of its own accord. For some reason ALL birds were under attack from now on. This included the Wagtails AND the Shelduck, the young duckling was sent spinning across the sand on two occasions. Things eventually calmed down and a truce somehow came into effect.
Four Little Egrets suddenly came in together, brilliant.
But less than thirty seconds later and without provocation............................


Friday, 11 July 2014

Howick moths, up close.

You can get "up close" with four of the moths captured at Howick last weekend HERE if you feel so inclined.
Meanwhile, here is another for your entertainment.
Poplar Hawk Moth

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Female Common Hawker ovipositing.

Banks Pond
Other Odonata on show included............................
Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies.
Common Hawker and Four-spot Chaser Dragonflies.
There were newly emerged (teneral) Common Darter Dragonflies and Emerald Damselflies.

Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Common Blue Butterflies were also observed.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

To bee or not to bee, that is the orchid.

Having been to N.T Hospital earlier i thought i'd call in at the Cobalt Country Park to see if any Bee Orchids were showing. A glance at the ponds would also be on the cards. No orchids and there was quite heavy cloud cover and when the sun did come out it was very briefly. A few Common Blue and Blue-tailed were the best i could muster. I did have a scour of the hill beneath the Sundial and thousands, yes thousands of Burnet Moths were on the wing. As i checked my phone when returning to the car i saw that Joe D. had put up an image of a Bee Orchid on Twitter. I texted him for directions but they were so complicated he rang me to give them. I didn't actually find the four spikes he had tried to put me on but found my own.
In bright sunshine but breezy.

A stunning orchid at the Rising Sun.
I did hook up with Joe and see the others. Will have to get back in next few days in softer light.
A Four-spot Chaser was located by the double ponds but no Broad-bodied which had been seen a fortnight previously.