Friday, 24 March 2017

Boiler Breakdown

Well it seems like lots f things are breaking down at the moment. Firstly this week it was the coffee maker (always a bad thing ... got to have coffee in the morning). Yesterday it was the central heating boiler. The good news is I can get some chores done, the bad news for you another blog post.

Danish Scurvygrass
(Cochlearia danica)
Although I expected some red on stalks


Caught and Ringed Sandvatn, Iceland 08/2009
Observed Caerlaverock, UK 03/2011
Photo (above) Druridge Pools, UK 17/2017

Early morning, poor light. Lots of these (50+) Druridge

Highlights of the week included Sand Martins, increased numbers of Chiffchafffs, Sandwich Tern, Manx Shearwater and Water Pipit.

Amazing colours on this Meadow Pipit (almost Red-throated like).

Hairy Bitter-cress

Still hanging on 6 at burnmouth on Thursday (24th), plus Twite

Pacific Diver was missing for a few days before I spotted this. Turns out this is a Greylag goose. A report on DBCP and at Blyth proved to be inconclusive and so it is likely the Diver has simply headed off.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Ace ... no Jack!

Flowers now open on
Common Whitlow Grass
(Erophila verna)

A tiny plant easily overlooked.

Hairy Bitter-cress
(Cardamine hirsuta)
Another small plant, looks good through a hand lens (yet another thing to keep in my pocket).


The Pacific Diver had a wee trip to DBCP. Great for photos, but it kept its distance especially when the light was good.

Some grubby plants around DBCP.
Marsh Marigold
(Caltha palustris)

Ugly Duck
(MF suggested Tufted x Scaup hybrid.)

Lesser Celandine
(Ficaria verna)
Not the best flower condition.

Grabbed a few more shots of these but it was so windy I didn't expect to find a decent result. Pleasantly surprised by the results.

(Tussilago farfara)

Lots of these in flower.All these showy yellow flowers proving a most welcome food source for emerging insects and therefore all the early migrant birds.

Today proved to be a special day. House Martin and three Sand Martins, 6 Avocets, 2 Ringed Plovers (checked closely as LRP reported at Saltholme yesterday). Whoopers on the move again. 4 Barnacle Geese and all the usual patch suspects ... can't get any better.

Oh Yes it Can!
I found this stunning Jack Snipe. I quickly took five snaps and moved away. It didn't flinch.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

WeBS and a bit more?

Spring Flowers starting to emerge. I initially thought this might be Early Dog-Violet but the ever helpful BSBI members corrected my ID and it is one of the varieties of Sweet Violet (Viola odorta x)

I am really just a beginner at this 'botanising' and will be spending some serious time improving this year.

(Cladonia sp?)
Scarlet spore-producing bodies at the tip of stalks (called podetin).

Rothbury and Cragside made a welcome break from the patch.

Struggling with this. tiny plant (1cm). Basal rosette of  leaves. Leaves quite hairy. I think it might be Common Whitlow Grass but it looks nothing like the other examples I've seen online.

(Primula vulgaris)

Today this interloper caused a stir. The resident pair of Stonechats were agitated by its presence. The white rump and beautiful markings are reminiscent of Siberian Stonechat, however, the extensive orange breast suggest it is just a variant of our Common Stonechat.

The Resident male. Clearly agitated by the presence of the new male.

I was delighted to see the Shore Larks back at the burnmouth and on leaving this little beauty popped out in front of me and patiently waited for me to snap its profile.

Lots of singing (If you can call it a song ... tuneful it is not.) Reed Buntings but few are in full breeding plumage.

BTO WeBS completed for Chevington, Widrington MoorLake and Stobswood. Good variety and good numbers. I think we may also have a rather welcome surprise this year ... tease!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

It's a Jungle Out There!

Lot of Song Thrushes along the coast I hope they stay and breed.

The Pines at Felton Lane Crossing are being felled. This 'Jungle Fowl' has been displaced by all the work.

The Gyr Falcon has been seen around the bay over the last week. Watching it at rest, through the telescope doesn't always reveal its transmitter. It was just visible when a mobbing crow ruffled its feathers. Even as it flew over it wasn't obvious. However one of my blurred flight shots show the transmitter.

Will we ever get a wild one in Northumberland?

My first Lowl of the year. Always great to see.

Amble harbour this afternoon.

Lesser Black-backed Gull was my first migrant of the year. Chiffchaff in DBCP was probably an overwintering bird.

Reports of Sand Martin, Swallow and Wheatear further South are encouraging and surely it won't be long before we get some up North.