Monday, 27 June 2022

Saltholme (getting to know the area)

I arrived early so I could explore Dorman's Pool. Great area for reedbed warblers, Water Rail screaming and my first Green Sandpipers of the year.

Then across to the Phil Stead Hide. It is open earlier that the Saltholme reserve. These two spots mean it is possible to drive down before the worst of the traffic and fill a couple of hours with birding before the RSPB reserve opens.

Distant Red-breasted Geese

Spoonbill even further away.

The Dragonfly Pools are a good addition and are now giving great views of Four-spotted Chasers and Emperors

Once a major rarity, the Great White Egret is now a regular visitor to the North East. Up to four seen at Saltholme this year and Birds in Northumberland at a regular site.


Saturday, 18 June 2022

The Leas

It is the time of year when birders turn to Moths, other invertebrates and Flowers. Don't panic, in 10 weeks they'll be back chasing weary migrants.

I'm back on twitter but can't help but wonder why. I keep blocking and muting people. I was the same when I started. So easy to respond with quick put downs and not to think of the other side of the argument. Tweeters seem to forget theirs is not the only opinion.

Well, I hope I don't fall into that trap again.

Pyramidal Orchids

Common Spotted-orchid

Northern Marsh Orchid

One of several hybrid types I'm guessing.

Common Spotted-orchid

Bee Orchid

Bladder Campion

Tufted Vetch

Apart from the flora along my new patch. It is also wonderful to sit and watch the seabird colonies. Just like watching bird feeders they can provide hours of amusement and intrigue.

It is nearly August!


Thursday, 16 June 2022

South Shields Pier

I think this is the carcass of a Quail. Looking at reports a few were arriving on the coast this week. So possibly fresh in and killed by the local Peregrine. (All assumptions!)

Then this tame Budgerigar was on the Pier also, and made me think. This obviously was an escape but I do recall that people with aviaries often have Quail in the aviaries to clean up the discarded seed etc. Perhaps both escaped from the same aviary.

Guess I'll never know.

One of a few Large Skippers outside the North Marine Park.


Friday, 10 June 2022

Washington WWT

Grey Wagtail



Small Copper

Common Tern


The path along the river from the Dragonfly Pools to the Woodland Hide (with feeders) is terrific. Plenty of hides and lots to see.


Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Cleadon Hills

Grey Partridge

Think I'll have to wait for flowers to emerge on this one.

Common Spotted-orchid

Hoary Plantain
(Plantago media)
and Quaking Grass

Away from the hills a break in the clouds and Bottlenose Dolphin


Friday, 3 June 2022

Getting to Know the Patch

A walk from my flat to Marsden Quarry, east to the South Shields Golf Course, on to Cleadon Tower, and the Mill (on the Hill), then to Whitburn (remembering the site of a LEO winter roost from my youth), along the rifle range footpath to the cliff tops and the back home via Souter Lighthouse and the Leas.

A beautiful early morning walk with singing Yellowhammers, Skylarks and numerous Common Whitethroats. The walk was only spoilt by two irresponsible dog owners and their aggressive out of control dogs. (I'll be carrying a walking stick with me next time I follow this route.)

Dingy Skipper

This was on the old railway track (Marsden Rattler). Do I remember a Hoopoe from here in my schooldays?

Getting to know the Marine Parks on other morning walks. The Pied Wagtail pair on the bowling greens have fledged three young.

Cow Parsley

Umbellifers are a bit of a challenge for me. Hope these are correct.


Red Clover


Yellow Rattle


(Finished flowering.)

Bush Vetchling
(A guess, sorry.)

I have to comment that I think South Tyneside are doing a great job along the coast. The Leas are a great recreational area for everyone, yet they still manage to leave large areas uncut for the wildflowers above. These areas are also terrific for nesting Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. Sadly the majority of dog owners are ignorant of this fact and still allow their dogs to run wild in the long grass areas. 

Similarly, the cleaning staff, emptying bins, picking up litter and sieving the beach sand every morning must curse every morning. Herring Gulls empty the bins to get at scraps. Most of these bins are in car parks and the litter could be taken home easily by most visitors. The local youths enjoy Trow Quarry as much as me but for different reasons. It is so depressing to visit early morning and see it strewn with plastic bottles, cans and food containers.