Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31 2011

Chevington first today; a single Little Gull, that soon flew out to sea with the terns was all that the north pool had to offer. The south pool had a Marsh Harrier.

Onto the beach, and two Arctic Skuas were just chillin’ on the sand, so I did a double quick back to the car for the camera and then back to the beach, only for the skuas to now be out at sea chasing terns!

A small gathering of terns on the beach was mostly Arctic, with a couple of Common, and as I was trying to get close to get pictures, a Roseate flew in. I managed a few shots before they all spooked and flew off.

Roseate Tern Roseate Tern

Further along the beach, a sad sight; a Gannet with a broken wing. As I walked along towards it, it looked fine, until I was getting near and it tried to flap its wings.


Doesn’t look too bad in this picture, but it was finished.

Heading back south, I stop briefly at Druridge pools, and the only thing of note was another Marsh Harrier.

Cresswell had a small flock of roosting Dunlin, a large flock of Lapwing, a single breeding plumage Black-tailed Godwit and an adult Yellow Wagtail, along with all the usual suspects and all of the above were being terrorised by a Peregrine.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26 2011

Today and after work, another sea watch at Newbiggin.

I only did five hours tonight, but my two day old Storm Petrel record count was broken. Eighteen on Sunday, twenty five today. Most of the birds were moving steadily north, a long way out, but occasionally a bird would appear closer in.

The supporting cast included; two Arctic Skua, six Bonxie, six Sooty Shearwater, seven Red-throated Diver,forty-ish Manx Shearwater, forty-ish Common Scoter and a Little Gull

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24 2011

With Storm Petrels being seen at all points along the coast, I had to have a go. I waited until the Sun was over the yardarm and would be behind me before I set off. Within thirty minutes of setting up, I had seen three Storm Petrel fly past, and by the time I left six hours later, I had seen eighteen!

To see that many in a day was unprecedented, until today I had only seen seven in Northumberland (and two of them were in the hand).

The supporting cast today included; seven Bonxie, six Sooty Shearwater, about fifty Manx Shearwater, six Little Gull, two Roseate Tern and seven Velvet Scoter.

Bob, David, Alan, Alan, Alan, Jimmy and Roger all turned out, and a good old chunter was had, and the birding was good!

I’m pleased I went! (unless I get Alan's cold...)

And I see that the Marsh Sandpiper is back at Blacktoft Sands, bugger!

July 23 2011

Torrential rain overnight and a cold wind from a northerly origin put an end to any hopes that we would find any late obliging Purple Emperor or White Admiral! We did have a look, but nothing was on the wing, other than a brief Purple Hairstreak.

So with the forecast being poor, we decided to cut short the weekend and head back, at the end of the day. A stop at Cotterstock, eventually gave us a single Red-eyed Damselfly and a couple of Brown Hawker and another Kingfisher, but no new fish!

The next stop was at Barnack Hills & Holes. We were just through the gate when a Holly Blue was found

Holly Blue

this was taken with that well known butterfly lens combination; 500 + 1.4 extender.

Further into the reserve, the target was showing very well, with lots on the wing; Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue Chalkhill Blue Chalkhill Blue

And after a lot of searching, the final tick of the day, Marbled White

Marbled White

A great trip that will have to be replayed next year, a couple of weeks earlier!

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22 2011

A weekend away, places to go, things to see…
First stop for Roger and me was Blacktoft Sands, to try and see the long staying Marsh Sandpiper, alas it was not to be, as there was no sign of it. We did have eleven Spotted Redshank, fiftyish Black-tailed Godwit, a Green sandpiper, a Little Egret and two Bearded Tit. One of the wardens staked his reputation, that the bird he had found was a Pectoral Sandpiper, only thing was that it was a Ruff!

So eventually we were at Fermyn Woods. It was cool and windy with very few butterflies, until the sun broke through and we had a flurry of activity. Purple Hairstreak, and an almost certain Purple Emperor, that skimmed by us. A White Admiral raced through and out of sight, very poor views. Brown and Southern Hawkers are seen but very little else.

A short drive away, at Fermyn Country Park, all the pools are dry, so no dragonflies, but the grassland had an Essex Skipper.

We carry on to Wadenhoe, where the highlights are under water. There are no dragonflies other than Brown Hawker and Banded Demoiselle. The fish are good though. Chub, Gudgeon, Dace, Perch (seen catching another fish) and a Pike that tried to catch a Chub.

While here two Kingfisher are seen, one of them not too interested in us being there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12 2011

A planned trip way out west didn’t happen after I watched the weather forecast that said the west would be wet. So I went back to Cambois, in the hope that the family parties of Sandwich Terns that we saw on Sunday would still be there.
The tide was down but coming in, so I set up the hide and waited. After an hour the birds were close enough to start taking pictures, half an hour later, I had to leave as the incoming tide was swirling through the bottom of the hide!

Plenty of big Sand Eels being fed to the youngsters
Sandwich TernSandwich TernSandwich TernSandwich Tern 

So I walk back towards the car, thankful that I put on the waders. I’m struggling to walk over the soft mud, carrying a still erect hide and a tripod with a 500 and camera still attached, but eventually I get to the tide line and the first thing I see are two Grayling followed by a Hummingbird Hawkmoth! Far too much lens on the camera to take pictures of that, I struggle back to the car still carrying the hide, tripod and lens. A “quick” change of attire and lens and I head back, only for there to be no sign of the Hawkmoth, it’s gone! And the Grayling are very camera shy while I am there

So onwards to Druridge. A hyper Dark Green Fritillary was on the track (and another later, next to the parked car). Two Common Tern were posing on the rocks, each trying to be the best looking bird of the day.
Common Tern
And one of Sundays two Yellow Wagtails was still showing very nicely in front of the hide. The Green Sandpiper is still there on the far shore, in the same place as Sunday.
Yellow Wagtail
It’s a fascinating thing, sitting quietly in a hide and listening to the noise that is made by others coming and going. Doors being slammed, shutters being crashed open and closed, and a bloke that is supposed to be a warden sitting in the hide whistling! And then when you come out, you find two tossers stood on top of the baffle bank, watching their dog in the pond!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10 2011

Cambois again first this morning, at a different area that Roger told me about, and Grayling were easy! I’ll go back to there.

Next, me and Alan head north to Cresswell, firstly to the village, where we have a look at the sea behind the ice cream shop, this gives us three Arctic Skua in the bay and then on to the pond, where we spend some time chewing the cud with Alan. An Avocet just being visible on the other side of the pool.

Onwards to Druridge and a brief Dark Green Fritillary, no Wood Sandpiper but a Green Sandpiper and two juvenile Yellow Wagtail.

Next Chevington, where we spend time chewing the cud with Alan (that’s a different Alan!) The male Marsh Harrier put in a couple of appearance's and on the second, a youngster took a wobbly flight and got the food.

Still heading north we stopped at Foxton, where we had Little Egret, four Common Sandpiper, Greenshank and four Goosander. Boulmer was quiet, probably because there was a bloke hauling his jet ski up the beach!

And finally the Long Nanny. Dark Green Fritillary are the target here, but it takes a while before we find any. While we were looking we had Common Blue…

Common Blue

…and Small Heath…

Small Heath

and then the target

Dark Green Fritillary Dark Green Fritillary

A visit to the tern colony gave us a lot of  Arctic Tern and a handful of Little Tern, and on the walk back, another Little Egret on the river.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

July 6 2011

After the rain this morning, the weather turned out not too bad! So I head for Banks pond in the hope of some dragonfly action. Two Emperor males, that clashed next to where I was put on a canny show, sadly not for the camera. So again, the damselflies saved the day. Lots of Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Emerald.
Common Blue DamselflyCommon Blue Damselfly 
Common Blue Damselfly
Emerald Damselfly
Emerald Damselfly
a moth (the Liverbirder tells me its a 5-spot Burnett)(Ian thinks it is a Narrow Bordered 5-spot Burnett)

I left here and went to Bellasis Bridge, where the Banded Demoiselle where on show, but again not for the camera, and still no Quail up the road. On the way back I called into East Cramlington Nature Reserve, where there where Azure, Common Blue, Large Red and Emerald Damselfly. I took no pictures at all, in fact I just got back to the car before a thunderstorm came through.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

July 5 2011

Summerhouse Lane ponds were my first stop this morning, looking for some Dragonfly action; none!

Plenty of damselflies, of which, I managed to photograph Emerald and Blue-tailed

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly Emerald Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly

Leaving here, I head south, as the car is facing that way, parked in the lay-by at the roadside. The delightful little seaside village of Cambois is just down the road, and it was here that I head to next.

I parked the car next to a genuine fly-tip area and wander off along the picturesque disused railway lines, and it wasn’t long before I flush the target of my search, Grayling.

GraylingGrayling Grayling 

And then I head for home, my car needs fuel, and I didn’t take my wallet. I have enough to get me back, but if I have enough to get me to a garage, well…