Monday, 30 January 2023

January Joy


Icy morning at the Academy Pools, Sunderland.

Red-throated Diver

This one approached close to the pier at Roker. Must make the effort to try and snap a summer plumage bird. (Trip to Scotland necessary.)


These have moved back to the coastal parks in small numbers. Two large flocks of Fieldfare were around Widdrington Village yesterday.

Reed Bunting

Still plenty of common birds to keep my photo challenge going.


Male and Female flowers. This was the only non-bird photo in my challenge. Couldn't resist it. So easily overlooked.



Oh no!

Sparrowhawk with Starling. Amazingly this one escaped. This was at Newbiggin.

Water Pipit


Firecrest (above) Goldcrest (below)

Yes on my third attempt, i was treated to 5 minutes of fast and furious feeding by the Firecrest. It then disappear into the undergrowth and didn't reappear.

Didn't think I would get any decent photos as it was whizzing around the bushes, very close.

Then I looked back and I found these two pics and I'm very happy with them.


Friday, 20 January 2023

Sparrowhawks ...and more

Common Gull

Still looking for a scarce gull without luck. Not even on a pleasant walk to Tynemouth from the ferry.


The bill is over-exposed but it meant the light on the folded wings showed more detail. Click on image to zoom in.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

The Marine Parks (North and South) have been very productive with the commoner species.


Mistle Thrush

These birds seem to be paired up already. I think they are early nesters but the sharp frosts this week may delay them?



c20 Redwing feeding in the leaf litter.


In the last two weeks I have seen many different birds. Tynemouth Priory (above) and South Marine Park (below). Also birds at Cornthwaite Park, Roker Park, Whitburn Steel, Harton Cemetery, Marsden Quarry and Trow Quarry.



This bird is overwintering in the North Marine Park. 


Thursday, 12 January 2023

Daily Photo Challenge

A trip to Saltholme last week was enjoyable as usual. I managed to read and photograph 10 neck collars and 3 leg rings. Sadly they were all part of the feral (or naturalised) flock and seem to commute from an area near Richmond N. Yorks and Saltholme.

This year I wondered how I could set myself something new to get me out on the worst of days. I decided to take one wildlife photo each day and post them on Twitter. There must be no repeats and I have decided it can include plants when I'm desperate. Perhaps It should be renamed Natural History photos.

Black-headed Gull
 10th Jan

Because of the file names they may not appear in chronological order on my blog but they will on Twitter.

Black-tailed Godwit
5th Jan

7th Jan

8th Jan

Hen Harrier
2nd Jan

Herring Gull
6th Jan

9th Jan

Long-tailed Tit
4th Jan

Purple Sandpiper
3rd Jan

3rd Jan

Snow Bunting
1st Jan


Pondered whether this may have been female Green-winged Teal. However after 40 minutes waiting it never shuffled once to reveal more of its speculum or head. I was very cold by this time and gave up.

Tufted Duck


Wood Pigeon 
11th Jan

Photos will be posted on my twitter account daily. Some days it is easy  to find 5 or more good subjects, but on cold, wet and windy days it is a real challenge. As a result I shall be visiting parks and gardens and targeting the more common birds. Obviously as we approach Spring the variety of birds will increase and there will be Insects and Flowering plants to include. So 11 down and only 354 to go.

Twitter Account : Tyne2Tees


Tuesday, 3 January 2023

2023 A Mixed Start (Purp update)

Best Wishes to All

I hope it is a year full of  good wildlife news.

A trip to Northumberland early this year and three highlights were Water Pipit, Snow Buntings and Hen Harrier. Better still I was able to catch up with AP and GW

Today I came across this Purple Sandpiper. Colour-ringed and probably one from Svalbard. I have sent off details and hope to get a reply. Received a very quick response from , Kjell Mork Soot. Bird ringed as a young female on 30/08/2021. Location Longyearbyen, Svalbard. This was the first sighting since then (16 months).

Love the delicate streaking on this Redshank at Whitburn this morning.


One of the South Shields, Snow Buntings.

My first failed twitch of the year. Yesterday I visited Northumberland but when I got home I received a call about the Walrus at Blyth. I wasn't ready to head straight back up through the tunnel so, just like last year at Seahouses, I planned an early morning trip today. Just as with the Seahouses Walrus it was a big mistake. I arrived well before sunrise but Thor had slipped away about 45 minutes earlier. I spoke to one of the team keeping watch overnight. She showed me some amazing pictures. One was taken with a thermal imaging camera and it showed the Walrus as a huge mass of heat alongside all the cold landing platforms. Secondly an image, taken after it had left, of the frost covered landing area and it showed a huge area ice free where it had been overnight. 

Top Dog  Turnstone

New Years Day, Flower Hunt.

This has become a bit of a tradition. I usually go to Alnmouth with my mum. We record the plants in flower. Normally we expect to easily get into double figures. This year the venue changed to the Leas and Trow Quarry. Only 3 recorded; Gorse, White Deadnettle and  Groundsel. Today on a walk from the carpark to Whitburn Steel I managed a better selection: White Deadnettle, Common Chickweed, Shepherd's Purse, Groundsel and Winter Heliotrope.


Last year I managed to keep one of them 'Not to find a rarity in 2022'.

This year I am back to my normally grumpy mood and CBA,

Oh and before I forget. I saw one of the Whitburn Weasels this afternoon even though I was hoping for a rather bigger mammal at the start of the day.