Sunday, 23 July 2017

Garden Visitor

Sadly we ended up with one less House Sparrow last week as Margaret spotted this Sparrowhawk plucking its victim on the ground behind the picnic table. The House Sparrow has suffered major declines, along with many other species, lately and combined with our neighbour Liz we have tried to make our gardens as "spuggy friendly" as possible. The best advice I can give is to let those trees and hedges get a little unkempt and put some food and water out and they will do well. Ours have. Being next to a major dual carriageway heading into Newcastle we don't get a huge variety of species so a visit from a Sparrowhawk is welcome, even at the expense of one of our cherished residents. They have done reasonably well again this year and this is nature in action after all.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

This one's for you Dave from Widdrington.

Knowing that a certain gentleman was giving social media a break I thought I would post these couple of pics as he is partly responsible and might not see them otherwise.
I followed his tip on a promising new pool he had discovered out on the old Stobswood opencast site. Arriving at 05.50 having spent a quiet 30 minutes around Dru previously on the walk in from the main road I heard my first ever Quail !!! Even better a couple of minutes later a second bird joined in. I gave it 20 minutes hoping one might reveal itself (knowing neither would) before heading off in search of the pool. I could hear one of the birds calling almost constantly for quite some time and even had a comment on a birding photo site on Facebook from someone who read that I had been there this morning asking if I had heard the Quail !!!
I could see the water in a depression in a field but having a had lots of birds on view, all common species, I decided I would carry on and explore further. I eventually ended up at a wooded area in the north west area and was immediately greeted by a mewing Buzzard. The bird approached & passed overhead, at a decent height, on a number of occasions. I spend around 3 hours in the vicinity, walking a bit further on, exploring the perimeter of the wood and a body of water some 40 metres long in front of the copse. Initially I found only Blue-tailed Damselflies but later a few teneral Common Darters lifted as I examined the surrounding fauna whilst checking out the Butterflies. Hundreds of Small Skipper were noted along with many Meadow Brown.
Still the Buzzards continued to be vocal. Not just at me, I may add. Just very vocal. I had seen quite a few birds also, again all common but as I was leaving this last Buzzard dropped down towards me & kept me me my closest encounter ever with one in flight allowing me to capture a couple of nice images.

As the temperatures rose I was knackered by this time and as I passed Daves pool I decided that I would return later & explore it. I saw 2 people on horses in the first few hours while out there and 6 in the last 10 minutes as I returned back to the car. An added bonus in my book.