Friday, 13 January 2017


Druridge Bay Country Park

This well managed area provides shelter from the wind, a decent road and free parking. At times I find it a good alternative for parking when visiting Chevington as you don't have the pothole problems.

This used to be the classic place to see all three 'sawbills' but now it seems only the Red-breasted Merganser is a regular winter visitor.

The wooded areas offer plenty of diversity and a slow walk around Ladyburn lake can produce a good day list. Be warned it is a popular place for activities such as running events, dog shows and water sports. So Winter days are often the best.

The Moss and Lichen identifications are not necessarily correct but are my best guesstimates from my limited books.Haven't had time to check them on the internet. Contact me on Twitter if you know more.

Evernia prunastri
Mousse de Chene (French) Oak Moss

Cladonia coniocraea

Eurynchium praelongum (Top centre)
Scapania nemorea ((Bottom right)

Xanthoria Sp?

Opegrapha atra



Ringed as 3rd  calendar year + in  April 2013 near Oslo, this bird has been reported every winter since at DBCP. My latest sighting 10/01/2017

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Geese and Quiet

Russian/European, Greenland Taiga and Tundra (sorry one is missing). Great variety and numbers of the scarce Geese on my patch (and nearby). At least 15 European White-fronted Geese in one flock.

River Blyth

A busy area but also so peaceful on a Sunday morning.


This lovely Black Redstart had a settled routine, which meant that with a little patience  I would get my pictures .  

To Ring or Not to Ring?

Colour rings are easy to read in the field and with photographs and quick replies the information is useful and very interesting.

Likewise these coded rings are probably better although good photos are often essential to read the code easily. Only one ring required!

(L41 ringed Maletangen, Norway 12/09/2016 observed Newbiggin by the Sea 04/01/2017)

This bird has been reported more than 12 times, showing the usefulness of these rings.

(2H62, originally ringed at Great Yarmouth Beach (13/11/2013) and has wintered at Newbiggin every year since.

Metal rings are no longer of any real use (my opinion). Only useful if re-trapped. According to BTO figures less than 1% are re-trapped. (I assume many of the re-traps are controls giving little new info.)

Other considerations which need to be taken into account. There should not be a culture of 'Ringers Ticks', birds should not be paraded before the cameras (release them straight away) and on bigger projects you need more ringers present. (To fix flags, colour rings, transmitters etc. at least ten minutes per bird. If you catch 6 birds the last one ringed will have been in a bag/cage for an hour.)

I hold my hands up and admit that I saw my one and only Radde's Warbler because the ringer waited a short time for local birders to arrive.
A lot more local study work i.e. feeding patterns, breeding success could easily be achieved by putting in the hours with a pair of binoculars. I'm not sure much is achieved by constant effort sites and tape luring other than a raised stress level in the birds.

Finally I do believe some of the projects especially the Harrier and Cuckoo satellite tagging projects are helping us learn some valuable information.

My opinions only!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

(Second) New Year Plant Hunt

Decide to try path from my house to Druridge Pool this afternoon, looking for plants still flowering.

Twitter @BSBIbotany

This Fumitory was still in flower but not 100% on ID.
Think it is ... Common Ramping-fumitory
(Fumaria muralis)

Red Clover 
(Trifolium pratense)
... on side of ditch near entrance

Red Dead-nettle
(Lamium purpureum)
... I think

Common Field-speedwell
(Veronica persica)

Shepherd's Purse
(Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Common Chickweed
(Stellaria media)

+ Groundsel and two unidentified species. Amazing what you can find in January.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year

Mum's Favourite bird

My favourite Kate

Branton Nature Reserve
Paths nicely cleared making the walk even better. Thanks to whoever was involved!

... in flower of (G)course xxx

Tree trunk looking like a Giant Otter

New Years Day!

Lots of changes in Alnmouth; one-way system, marked parking areas and no place to park except the beach. A big improvement! Also work around the Golf Course pond looks promising for birding.

Had the beach more or less to ourselves this morning but then the place was heaving later as people took the plunge.

My favourite Xmas Pressie

Coquet Island
Great Website

This year my plan is to improve my Botany Skills, Plant Identiication esp..

BSBI organise a New Year Plant Hunt. The idea is to find as many flowering plants in a 3 hour period on either 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th January and add them to the website.

above Hybrid Campion
(Silene dioica x Silene latifolia)

below Groundsel
(Senecia vulgaris)

above Shepherd's Purse
(Capsella bursa-pastoris)
below White Dead-nettle
(Lamium album)

Pea sp???

Green Alkanet
(Pentaglottis sempervirens)

probably one of the Woundworts


I identified six plants in flower and have three more to check. After submitting my records I noticed Northumberland seems to have very few people involved?