Friday, 29 August 2014

Bank Holiday

Got out with  Mr Sedgydoonemin on Monday for a few hours, good time whilst we
were both fighting fit then age began to tell on us as bones started to creak and
bits and pieces began hurting so we didn't stay out too long but still managed to
get a few pictures.

Three little beauts.. sunbathing in the garden

Too tired for anything more so heading to Bed

Monday, 25 August 2014

Marsh Harrier at Big Waters

Out on my lonesome on Saturday so just stuck local with a quick trip to Shibdon where Ruff and Greenshank were the highlights, up to Far Pastures where the highlight was the banter with a quick flythrough also of a Kingfisher.  Suspect some of the dedicated Kingfisher Paps were testing the place out with the upcoming closure of the hide at Gosforth and as they were bored watching nothing I treated them to a dissertation on my favourite subject, myself, so if you want Part II, be there next week at the same time.  Then moved onto Big Waters where a couple of hours in the company of Ian D and an extremely tame Snipe was very pleasant.  Also had an Emperor Dragonfly outside the hide and on the pond were 25 Coot.  On Sunday I headed to Howdon Wetlands as I had missed last week due to other commitments and it was very quiet.  The Coot family seemed to be down to 1 young with the adults still paying very close attention to it as there was still a few large Gulls around.  No sign of the Swans or the Tufted but a couple of Teal and a few Mallard with quite a few Moorhen on the larger of the ponds.  On the trees at the North side I counted at least 17 Grey Herons although there was a bit of movement so there could have been more.  On my way out I did bump into 2 Foxes which departed quickly down the cinder track startling most of the birds as they tore along the berm.  I then headed up to Big Waters again for the regular Sunday Saunter Walk and there was a record turnout of 5 with only the Auditor missing, (good job though as we saw 6 Buzzards at 9.30 and another 5 at 10.45 which is a total of 11 to my reckoning but the Auditor will no doubt insist that it is only 6 because.....blah blah blah).  We also managed 4 youngish Sedge Warblers, Migrant Hawker, Meadow Pipit and as we neared the end of the walk I was lagging behind (for a change) photographing Dragonflies when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large bird so shouted Buzzard to the others who were 15m ahead they turned around and within a couple of seconds the shout Marsh Harrier was heard from Alan J, thought I had better start looking through the bins now.  We had some views of it as it flew around for a while but just a couple of distant (6 actually Alan) photographs were taken as I was more interested in watching it.  In the hide the tame Snipe was again having its dinner outside along with the ducks and the Coot who had also been pushed onto the scrape by the appearance of the Otter.  Well done to Alan J and the Auditor Graeme B for giving the North scrape a well needed haircut and muddifying it fantastically, now we just need the Waders to notice it.  As Alan F was leaving he spotted a Nuthatch (Big Waters Mega) and a Treecreeper outside the hide, out we all went, got the Nuthatch and glimpses of a bird that was acting like a Treecreeper but hard to tell in the darkness of the woods so no definite ID but plenty of Long-tailedTits were moving through.  

Great time over the past couple of days so here are some of the pictorial results:

Distant Ruff at Shibdon
Young Willow Warbler having a stretch at Big Waters
 Snipe partaking in a 2hr Lunch outside hide at Big Waters

A video of the Snipe feeding with
chatter from the guys in the background

 Some of the Grey Herons at Howdon Wetlands
Sedge Warbler at Big Waters 
Some of the 11 6 Buzzards at Big Waters

Got lots of pics of Red Admirals but you can't resist another
shot, bit like the Kingfisher Paparazzi
Southern Hawker 
Migrant Hawker 
Marsh Harrier 
"Run Lads, the Otter is behind us"
Back at home the Starlings are massing in large numbers with up to 150 coming
into the garden at feeding times and along with the 2 big flocks of approx 50-60
House Sparrows are devouring the food, particularly the Suet Balls

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Peregrine's Breakfast

Absolutely stunning views of this amazing predator this morning through the binoculars and the scope but it never came within within 200 metres that is why the pictures and video are so bloody awful.  I got out of the car and walked through a gap in the hedge and the first thing I noticed was feathers floating down and it only took a couple of seconds before I spotted the  Peregrine heading off to one of its lairs for a tasty takeaway.  Unfortunately cameras were in the bag and the scope wasn't on its tripod but at least I had some good views through the bins.  After a couple of minutes I was ready and waiting but all it did was stand and devour its prey then after 15 mins of tugging and chewing it took off and headed to another inaccessible place taking with it the remainders of breakfast for ............  What a start to the day

The video was shot at 300x as you might have guessed but thats life.  


Grey Wagtail at Last (Hooray) On A Windy Sunday at Big Waters

Sunday went for the normal walk around Big Waters with Alan J and Ian D but the wind was a bit strong so we decided to search the protected areas hoping that something had tucked themselves away from the wind.  Quite quickly we realised this was the best ploy as we managed fleeting glimpses of a Spotted Flycatcher, a couple of Goldcrest and quite a few other birds.  A few Butterflies were also on the wing in the protected areas and a few Odonata were as well.  We did this for about 2 hours and then headed for the hide to get out of the wind which seemed to be picking up even more.  All the Ducks were taking cover on the scrape next to the hide making it easier to count for a change.  Also there was a solitary Teal and a couple of Snipe which all in all made for quite a nice morning.  As usual here are a few snaps from the outing

They were tucked away in the stubble field keeping their
head down out of the wind with another 3 just metres away

This Southern Hawker came very close to us in their normal
inquisitive style carrying what looked like a butterfly/moth which
at times appeared white/yellow then landed and proceeded to 
devour it in what seemed seconds

This male Migrant Hawker (pretty sure it is a Migrant) just wanted to get out of the wind (like everything else) and put its feet wings up

 Several Goldcrests were calling but only managed a shot of this one

Blackbird devouring his own personal stash of berries and when we returned later and came close a couple of times he did fly in to see what we were up to

I think this is a Ruddy Darter even though it is not the normal deep shade of red but has the pinched waist and the black legs 

Grey Wagtail in the spot where Alan has been telling us is the right place for it for years (ps he missed it and so did I, congrats to Ian for spotting it)

Just for you know who - Devils Scabious (his favourite flower)

Nary a day goes by without one of these little buggers putting in an appearance
and causing mayhem on the pond

Finally a couple of butterflies
Speckled Wood

and everyone's favourite the Red Admiral

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Day Out in Northumberland

Was 5 mins late picking John up and for once in his life he was on time.
Quick Latte and up to Cresswell were a nice 90 mins was spent watching
Ruff, the Spotted Redshank and the other inhabitants of that great place
although I reckon a better view could be had of the Sand Bar if.................

We then headed up to Druridge where great views of Ruff, Common Sandpiper,
Dunlin, Great Crested Grebe, Turnstone and through the scope a gorgeous 
Wood Sandpiper.

Then off to Amble for (in no particular order of importance) chips and the Caspian Gull.
We got both (in spades).

Anyway here are a few pics from the day followed by a couple of compilation videos.

Swallows being fed in their nest

Video showing bits from the whole day

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Bioblitz at Briardene

I attended the Bioblitz at Briardene, Whitley Bay on Saturday.  It was very
well attended with quite a lot of people volunteering themselves and their
expertise ( I contributed a little time and even littler experience and I learnt
a lot also.  I had some other commitments also so left at 2.30pm and came 
back at 7.30pm and stayed till 11pm enjoying immensly the moth-trapping
session.   The lunch break was great with copious amounts of coffee/tea and
the bacon butties and the hot dogs with just kept on coming.  The Friends of
Briardene certainly know how to look after you.  Didn't take many pictures
but here are a couple from the day.

Tree Wasp - there seemed to be an irruption of them
in the same place, looked very aggresive

A Pebble Prominent Caterpillar - an amazing looking creature

 One of the many lovely flowers I failed to identify

An even more amazing looking creature, a Puss Moth

A great little video

I did manage to get up to Big Waters twice this week, the first time to see the Black Tern as I dipped on the the one the previous week.  I did get some excellent views through the Bins and
Scope but it stayed up by the Hide feeding for over 90mins.  Got a couple of long distance
pictures, not even ones you could call a record shot, but sh*t happens.

Nice couple of shots of a Shoveller though.

One of the Otters which has been busy the last couple of weeks was casually swimming
around and it actually looked as though the Martins were giving it a bit of grief

Finally an end of evening shot - Just Lovely