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.