Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Labels: Autumn Gentian, Bog Pimpernel, Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Lindisfarne Helleborine, Little Terns, Long Nanny
A run up to Holy Island, Lindisfarne with a start at the Snook the object to look at some of the Botany especially those plants new to me apart from the obvious such as Viper's Bugloss , Ragwort etc: the first plant of note was Autumn Gentian thought to be very early but it seemed fairly common once you got your eye in and could spot the flowering plants with ease, plenty of Centaury which is also a Common plant noted at many sites this was the Seaside Centaury , a few Orchids with the Common Spotted going over and Pyramidal Orchid coming through , and Marsh Helleborine in the thousands with literal carpets of them probably the only place in Northumberland you will see them in such profusion. The one most people travel to this area to see is the Lindisfarne Helleborine several where located its an attractive flower in it't own way but not the spectacle of the sheer number of Marsh . A couple of glimpses of Dark Green Flittilary with none settled was the only sighting instead of it being a nice sunny day as forecast there was a strong cool breeze , so I had wasted my time with the sun screen and luckily had a heavy fleece in the car , rain seemed to threaten for most of the day but did not fall till much later. I decide while I was up North I would call in again at The Long Nanny to see how the Little Terns where progressing , unfortunately it's not as if you can pull up in the car and have a quick look and by the time I got to High Newton it was about 5 so I went straight along the beach to the site by now as I was right on the coast it was decidedly chilly arrived at the HUT and set my scope up still a few visitors there , Little Terns chicks in various stages of growth a few had apparently fledged but I could also see a huge age difference in the chicks I observed , the wardens had trouble with a raiding Badger taking many of the Arctic Tern & Ringed Plover Chicks it could be the same individual that took so many eggs and chicks last year and will no doubt return year after year to this easy source of food , the tide coming in and by now quiet high so nothing settled on the beach not sure where they all go at high tide .This was a fairly brief visit as by now the rain was on the way and I was dressed for the earlier forecast of sun, sun sun, I had the forethought of picking up the brolly from out of the boot more to keep my camera and scope dry than me , I was also glad I had not driven up just to come here for such a short visit and on the walk back I was the only person along the entire beach !!!
Friday, 11 July 2014
The start of July saw the emergence of Emerald Damselflies only one at one site then a few more at another till by the end of the day there where many resting in the tall grass as it became overcast , Common Blue also out in good numbers , Four Spot Chaser 's now a common sight at most suitable ponds first Emperors seen at East Cramlington but only briefly as it flew off high , have seen numerous sightings of them since and got some photos of them resting , Banded Demoiselle still not common I have seen them as early as the startof June but wanted to try and get some video of the male dancing over the water, Butterflies in the form of Meadow Brown's & Ringlets seem to just appear with clouds of them in suitable long grass areas , typical the council decides to cut the grass at East Cramlington just as they emerge , you would think they would have someone that advises them just on the basics , the pond is visited on a regular basis by dog walkers who insist there dog takes a swim one day a guy with 5 dogs had them all in, one or two he threw in as they declined to volunteer , this is my cue to leave and go somewhere else . The weather is a bit hit and miss I leave in sunshine to arrive at a site and it's overcast, this is to some extent an advantage if you are there when the larger Dragonflies decide to hang up if it's just cloud they may settled on a Rush or Reed stem but if its overcast and cool they fly off usually into tree cover . There is something about looking for Dragonflies and Butterflies you get right into it totally absorbed by the quest to find them going about there daily life , trying to learn something about their behaviour or capture that elusive shot .
Posted by Northumbrian Birding at 11:50
Monday, 7 July 2014
towards the end of last Month we had a run up to Dunstanburgh Castle ,now I have been here many times while camping nearby , but today we actually went inside for a look around , I was very surprised at how large the site was and with some access to one tower the views are fantastic. walking around the North side at the top of the cliffs the smell from the kittiwakes etc: drifts over the top and the occasional bird would lift up on the thermals and the typical noise of a seabird colony and I wondered the castle inhabitants must have harvested these birds at this time of year , also it seems a popular site for fishing one chap I talked to had a nice 31/2 lb Pollock he had hauled up from the sea below you need a head for heights as its a hell of a drop to the sea or rocks below . The walls are only low now but they enclose a huge area of grassland and I thought what an opportunity to create a wildflower meadow much better than just grass, I did find a couple of flowers as yet no I.D.
Posted by Northumbrian Birding at 10:18
Saturday, 5 July 2014
Monday, 30 June 2014
I could not get back last Tuesday to try for the Little Bittern so at 05:45 on Wednesday Morning I arrived at the hide to hear that it had been seen again some birders had to leave for work so I was able to get a seat this time just got the camera out of the bag when the call of "flying left" so rather than try to get some shots I just got a very good view of the bird flying a semi circle over the lake and disappear to the left , well that's it I thought it's in the bag and not even 6 in the morning. I decided to stay around for the day why not as it was being seen albeit a flyover , the warden sitting on the left could hear the bird calling it was rather feint but you could hear the bird change direction as it called and with the distant rush hour traffic and the odd plane taking off and the gulls constantly screaming it was a wonder it could be heard at all. We sat patiently the the bird could be heard off to the west and a couple of minutes later MN picked it out sitting up in the reeds , not visible from my position so he kindly let me into his seat and I got some hasty shots before in went . I did manage to see it another 4 times from then on , the first time no one else saw it as it dropped down well over the far side , again I picked it up as it came nearer only one other person saw it , it was getting frustrating with the hide full and many not yet having seen it , again I picked it up as it broke cover some 30yds from where it had dropped in yet again no one saw it and I think they thought I was getting it wrong all the time . Well I said at least we know where it is and being on the edge of the wood at that side it would most probably fly back across the pond , one or two people seemed to think this was going to be a very large bird one remarked we should be able to see the reeds move as it walked through. Anway after only ten minutes I picked the bird up again and indeed it did fly around in another arc and everyone got onto it at last .I left and went to the west hide where it was much quieter staying there an hour or so from where i walked the circular route and returned to the main hide it had just been seen but I never heard or saw it again for the next hour or so before I left.
Could I please make an appeal to those that are not Northumbrian Natural History Society Members to at least think about joining it's from £30 per annum , with lectures, meetings, the reserve to visit , and a fantastic library access it's a small price to pay , without the society's management this site would be lost.
Posted by Northumbrian Birding at 11:30