Wednesday, 1 April 2020

April


Primrose


Skylark

Displaying on the ground.

Well spring is starting to get underway. More flowers in bloom, first Sedge Warbler and Sand Martins a more regular sight. It is however only April 2nd and in Northumberland we always lag behind more southerly counties by two to three weeks.


Cars arriving in numbers at the weekend resulted in the Druridge Pools track being closed. Similarly I saw a posting showing that the country park is also closed.

Strangely quiet now. Not dissimilar to my early visits here 25 years ago. The overhead electricity cable are now gone along with the jangling calls of Corn Buntings. Increased dog ownership, regular reports of scarce birds and increasing populations of breeding summer visitors (birds that is) has made the area very popular.


Ground-ivy


Twite

See video at end of post to hear it singing.


A fairly immobile newt (it was very cold that morning).


Today the bales were no barrier to the dog walkers.


Sweet Violet
(White variety. Remember photographing similar plants at Branton a few years back.)


White Dead-nettle



Sunday, 29 March 2020

Struggling?


This is only the second day in a row where I have not left the house and it is a struggle. These pictures were from earlier in the week.

A regular returning Avocet to Cresswell





Not many of these today I bet. It is cold and we've just had a light hail shower.



Up to six of these were displaying nearby.





I am managing to see some birds from the house. Yesterday I managed Peregrine, Buzzard, Kestrel, Skylark and Great Crested Grebe, Unfortunately the Lake is only partially visible from the house and the West End with most birds can not be seen.


If the current advice continues I can still go for daily exercise from the house.So tomorrow morning I will be doing that. Only avoiding it this weekend because I thought it might be busy. It turns out that most people are being sensible and keeping their distance.

At least the exercise bike has had a dust off and is helping. If it ends up as a total lockdown I might have to get the Nintendo Wii up and running. Table Tennis tournaments here we come.

Hope you are all fit and well and coping with this. Take care everyone!

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Daily Exercise


I am very fortunate to be able to walk from my house to four different birding patches. If I set out very early I can avoid most people and the few I have seen are keeping as far away as possible.


I also live close to a farm so my garden birds are varied and numerous. So a total lockdown would be bearable. The most dangerous times will be when I need to visit a shop. I should not have to do this for another two weeks. (Plenty of Sphagnum in the lawn for emergencies.)




Yellowhammer



This GWE was at Druridge very briefly yesterday. The Longhirst bird was reported on RBA a few minutes later so it could be a second bird in the County. I am not reporting birds that might encourage a gathering of birders and therefore I would expect others to do the same. I will not be upset if I miss a few 'megas' this year.


Garden Birds are very amusing. I'll let you think of your own captions for the Woodpigeon pictures.







Red-legged Partridge


Twite


Grappling Marshys


This Hare was running down the fence line 100m from me. I guessed it would appear around the corner (10m from me). I crouched and waited! Yes! It the started coming even closer. When it finally noticed be it moved away a little but not at speed. Magic moment!



Sunday, 22 March 2020

Through the Window


Goldfinch



Woodpigeon



House Sparrow





Collared Dove





Jackdaw






Dunnock


Starling



Coal Tit


Tree Sparrow
(background bird)



It is a tricky time. There is plenty to see from my window (phew). Some birds did a no show; Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Robin and Wren. I could set up my scope in the bedroom and add to my garden sightings but it might be a little disconcerting for my neighbour ;-) .


I have managed to get outside but only very early and  I head home early before the crowds build up. Challenging but important. It is amazing how many people stop to talk and it feels rude not to respond but I am trying not to get involved in long conversations. I am also not going to use the bird hides from now on. Finally I will not be reporting any rare birds to anyone!


Let us hope this will be over sooner than later.

Take care and Stay Safe!