Friday, 29 May 2015

What a Prat

Lots of these flies. Noon Flies Mesembrina meridiana

Often found on logs and gate posts warming up in the sunshine.


A short visit to North Northumberland but left before any Churring activity. Was planning a later visit after planning my route, but it will have to wait a couple of weeks. My early evening visit did produce Cuckoo, Whitethroat and lots of Hares.

1st Summer Little Gull
Adult BH Gull

Thanks to a phone call from DD, I arrived at Bothal Pond to get some great views of this Black-winged Pratincole.

Unable to get flight shots I settled for distant, heavily cropped ground shots.

This was no doubt the bird seen in Cleveland, of which news emerged too late for locals to see.

This will be seen as a positive for the WhatsApp group but only because DD put the news out immediately. Why others choose not to do that, is difficult to understand.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Mad May Hare

This Hare was trying a little Shadow Boxing another two were doing the real thing yesterday  ... March?

Linnet reaching their best plumage this week. It doesn't last long so it's worth looking closely at them now.

The decision about heading to Holy Island today (Sun) was made partly when I got a puncture yesterday and by not waking until 6am this morning (too late for the tide). Some birds had been grounded by overnight rain including Wheatears at Chev, Hadston, Druridge and Newbiggin.

*** How could I forget .. every cloud has a silver lining ... not going to HI meant a trip to Druridge, Spoonbill on the Budge Fields and as I left AC to check the plantation a stunning fly past by a Hobby or should that be a fly past by a stunning Hobby!

This Cuckoo appeared just as I heard about a Kentish Plover and all the associated nonsense of the Appgate Scandal. I would expand on this but I'm not sure I could without using expletives and being offensive. I'll leave it there.

First Orchids I've noticed. Northern Marsh
Dactylorhyza are well known for variation/hybridisation (Worse than Ducks?)

Bird's Foot Trefoil

The track to Chev was closed most of the day because of the Druridge 10k run. When it finally re-opened I was greeted with the sight of a spectacular Great White Egret. Red Legs, Green/Blue skin around the bill base, Black bill and amazing aigrettes. Amazingly, no birders arrived within the hour I watched it, most having seen the previous birds this year. (Slight disappointment for me as I left the camera in the house.)

Friday, 22 May 2015

Woodland Magic

A trip inland to a site near Greenhaugh turned into quite a magical morning.

Firstly this fox entertained me, catching prey in the grass verge. The fox was not bothered by my presence and even ignored me when I got out of the car to take some photos.

It is hard to believe that people would rather chase these beautiful animals with hounds rather than watch their hunting ability. I bet some of the hunters marvel at the Arctic Fox on TV but don't realise they have such a beautiful animal on their doorstep.

On to Sid Wood (as recommended by AC)

The amazing Lichens indicating a largely pollution free environment.

My target bird for the day was Wood Warbler ... easy.

They might not be so easy soon as the tree canopies block the light and provide maximum cover.

Polytricum commune
This moss forms a mini forest on the ground.

This photo looks so much better on my phone. Here the yellows look a bit washed out. I must have taken 30-40 photos and only three were in focus ...but that will do for me.

The area of coniferous trees adjacent to the beech/birch woodland held Siskin and Crossbill. The Crossbills were feeding in the birch tree (eating buds I think). Crossbill will be easy to view as they will no doubt use the puddles for drinking, so a careful approach along the road is needed. The Siskin was either picking up seeds or gravel from the road (or maybe both).

After Lunch back on the coast BB managed to spot two small waders land in front of the Budge Screen. Turned out they were Temminck's Stints. Still too distant for a decent photo.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Now With Notes

Adding notes today in my coffee break. Got so fed up with the slow speed of my computer yesterday that I gave up after adding the photos.

Spoonbill found by JA (19/05/2015)

It was surprisingly active for a Spoonbill; feeding, flying and preening. Then after a short time it decided to head high and west.

Later Tuesday IR called me to tell me about four distant stints at Druridge. After much debate we agreed they were Temminck's. Several birders braved the hailstorm to see them and some even had point blank views (if only short ones). They were gone the next morning but two turned up again today (more in next blog).

Orange Tip (First Wall Brown also seen).

Unusual display between two families of Canada Geese. The lowered, extended neck posture with open bill was directed at the other adults but no sound was made. The goslings fed unconcerned.

Iceland Gull (QEII CP) 20/05/2015

This bird gave great views and has been present for some time now.


This Avocet was ringed as a pullus, 10th August 2012 Cresswell pond (one of a brood of three) by IF.

It was first seen back at Cressell 03/04/2015, then later on the Blyth Estuary. Yesterday (when I took the photos and today it was on Lynemouth Flash.

Left Tibia Lime over Blue
Right Tibia Black over Blue
Right Tarsus Metal

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Out and About

Fabulous ...

On the last post I mentioned how uncooperative these birds can be. Ha ... eat my hat, a pair of duelling males took not notice of me and the camera. I was delighted :-)   .

First Lapwing chick of the year. Sadly the Druridge crows are on the look out for these young birds.

Despite the poor early light the camera coped well with these shots I thought.

Finally a trip inland was well rewarded. I think flycatchers are my favourite birds. So to see two species nearby was amazing. The Spotted version kept in the canopy and no photos were possible. It may have been a new arrival as they are one of the last to arrive. The Pieds seemed well settled and at least two territories were noticed with other birds heard ... good news. The more settled birds allowed these photos. The last one has a soft focus affect was caused by the leaf in front of it which I couldn't avoid.

Finally it's hard to resist photographing  Swallows, caught the light right here.