|Size in relationship to a Damselfly|
Monday, 25 August 2014
Emperor Dragonflies seem to becoming more and more common , this year I have found at least one at about every pond visited and up to three at one site , getting photos is another matter altogether , with July being very warm and long spells of sunshine Emperors can stay on the wing for long periods of time ion the search for females and to keep away rival males or anything else it sees as a rival, so although this year I have seen more Emperors than any other year to date they have been so active . I did find several that had indeed landed but usually well away from the me
close up of the ovipositor
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Well I was surprised at the news of a ringed Caspian Gull at Amble harbour and the fact it had been there a few days ,so I headed up today not having seen Caspian Gull anywhere let alone the County . Bird located within minutes helped by the bright yellow ring on it's leg , the wind blowing hard along the harbour so I got down low with the scope to have a good look at it. The bird seemed settled and started to preen but not revealing it's flight feathers , but would suddenly take off catching me out ,where it would disappear but soon drop in again onto the sand bank opposite the harbour ,it keeps to itself and did not appear as aggressive as the Herring Gulls moving out of the way several times when approached , I got a couple of shots of it taking off so will try and clean them up to see the wing structure clearer ,as far as I can remember this is only the second record for the County the first being a Juvenile .
Posted by Northumbrian Birding at 18:02
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 !!!
Posted by Northumbrian Birding at 10:23
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