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Friday, 31 August 2007

25-08-07 Boulmer Beach Digiscoping

Eyebright only a few millimetres acrossStarted the day at Alnmouth on the south side to look for terns on the beach there was a few just up the river but no Roseates in with them, 105 Curlews on the river edge, on the walk back a Sparrowhawk flew past with a very slow fluttering flight as it came to an open area its stalled slightly before continuing all along the dunes, I had put the camera away and thought by the time I got it out it would be gone so I just enjoyed the scene ,usually they fly low and fast , onto Boulmer where the Lifeboat open day was in full swing we later parked past the houses and I had a session digiscoping waders on the shore be continued

Nikon 4500 at full zoom from my seat on the beach,birds fed at this pool for much of the time,
and attached to my Kowa 823

Sun setting over Foxton

Tuesday, 28 August 2007


This bird soon recovered and flew off, no way I am handling them after seeing the parasites they have .
Looking out on the world beyond

This is just an outline of the Swifts that nest in the loft of my house there are two sites that have been used for some years, one is accessible and one set in the side wall somehow but they do end up in the loft sometimes, at the most accessible nest this year I installed a CCTV complete with infra red light and sound so there was no need to add anything extra in the way of lights etc.
I had tried the camera before installing and it seemed ok it just runs through the video to the TV select the channel AV and hey presto an insight into the world of Swifts, in early may I switched it all on and was surprised to find a House Sparrow had taken up residence and already had four small young which grew rapidly and the picture was great ,but they all disappeared one day and two days later a Swift occupied the nest followed a couple of days after that by a second, both birds spent the night at the nest but vacated during the day, not sure of the actual date of laying as the eggs just not visible, but the first hatch was 17th June with a second on the 18th but this soon died leaving just one, both birds continued to roost at the site every night .
At first growth seemed slow , as you looked in there seemed no change but looking back later in the day after good feeding the change was notable, then the feathering appeared, all activity of note was taped via the video such as the pair preening each other and screaming and the youngster getting stronger and larger , moving around more backing up to the entrance by the 11th July to defecate but not always with accuracy .
Both birds fed the chick one seemed more attentive than the other probably the female but no way to tell them apart, as the youngster got larger and larger it was getting harder to tell the three apart other than the shorter wings of the chick, it became a tight fit for all three, the adults continued to preen each other around the head.
On the 14th July I first noted the testing of wings with vigorous flapping and some good views of the spread wings, the change is fantastic to watch, but compared with the adults the wings had a lot of growing to catch up with the length of the adults which look un-gainly off the wing , I caught many feeds , change overs and other behaviour on tape and by the start of August the young bird spent more and more time at the entrance, partly to catch the adult as it entered and partly to look out onto the world beyond, it could now be seen from the outside as well as the inside on the monitor.
5th August and I had left early with no chance to check the nest and when I returned later the nest was empty , I suppose I did not expect to see it leave expecting it to go out with perhaps the female, it was not till later and I thought I should have put in a long play tape and just recorded as long as I could to catch its exit, just like I should have also put in a calendar clock in front of the camera so that I would have a date and time stamp on the video when I recorded any activity.
So that seemed to be the end Swifts had left from above the gardens and I thought that’s it for this year, but on the 9th August I could hear a bird trapped on the loft hatch door, my first thought was this is the youngster trapped and it has not fledged, so with box in hand I opened the door and down slides a Swift into the box,( not the first bird I have taken out)
I took it outside and propped it o the wall with the intention of getting a couple of photos before it recovered itself , but a neighbour came over and as I explained what I was upto the bird flew off
Now as this was an adult there where one or two possibilities 1 the bird had been in the loft for a few days. or 2 its the adult from the second nest so I listened for the next couple of days and sure enough could here something in the loft , so with net and box I entered the loft to find two youngsters above the second nest site so I left and was relieved to see an adult go in later that same day ,checked out the loft on the 12th & 13 th with no sign of the young , I should have moved the camera so I could check on them but did not want to disperse them from the site so left it, before next year I will improve the access for the birds to this site from the outside as I have watched them make a couple of attempts before landing in the right spot to get in.
So again thought that’s it but one night (13th) I put on the camera to see if perhaps the House Sparrows had returned to the empty site and was surprised to find two Swifts both looked like adults ,these came back on the next few nights till the 16th when only one bird which was gone by 9 the next day , so that was my theory that the young would accompany the adults after fledging dispelled, but why did they come back some form of pair bonding before they depart south , May 2008 seems a long way off till they return !!!!!!.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Heron & Curlew over St Mary's Emeralds

Female Emperor
Wings worn ,you could here it hitting the reeds as it lifted
Trying to capture egg laying,perhaps a bit too ambitous

6 Mergansers just offshore East Chevington
Druridge Pools

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

15-08-07 Roseate at last

My first Roseate at St Mary's on the high tide

11-12-08-07 Sat/Sun

Spotted Redshank,Snipe & Ruff at Druridge
Exuviae........don't ask me how to pronounce it.... the larvael skin of a Dragonfly
Emperor laying the first shot seems to enter the water
and now is stirring presume to discharge the eggs ?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Trying one of those arty shots was hoping for Dragonflies posing on the flowers or leaves but they where to far away

Caught in a Spiders web these Blues are still trying to mate
Released them the male trying to get rid of the last of the silk
Hover flies not hovering Scaeva pyrastri ?

Three of us photographing this Common Darter as it sat in the sun

Mesh Web Spider ?

Sunday, 5 August 2007

4/5-08-07 Sat/ Sun, White Winged Tern

Spent the weekend not doing hardly any birding other than Saturday late afternoon went to St Mary’s but nothing much doing and Sunday called into the Vintage vehicle rally on the way up the coast but stayed all day, in the late afternoon I thought we would walk down to the outfall of Chevington to stretch the legs and have a look for Roseate Terns, but at one of the hides I looked out and found an Adult Summer White Winged Tern looking rather splendid in the afternoon light it spent most of the time at the very North end but did land on the Island a couple of times where I got a couple of digiscoped shots as well as some flight shots, phoned in the info and later could see a few birders down at the South end looking up it ,landed on the island again and had a bathe in a small pool but blocked by a Lapwing as far as a photo went ,looking tiny behind this, they always look larger in flight probably the darker plumage, the Lapwing moved and I got a couple of shots one with its wings open but at to slow a shutter speed with Digiscope you get what you get, a very nice bird and a surprising end to the weekend we never did get as far as the outflow. Digiscoped image White-winged Tern East Chevington

Digiscoped image White winged Tern East Chevington

31-07-07/-03-08-07 Monday to Wednesday

Monday was mostly spent sea watching with the highlight being Storm petrels feeding offshore for some two hours before I had to go and get something to eat, Sooty & Manx Shearwaters, Roseate Terns, a couple of Little Gulls, Arctic Skuas and One Adult Pomerine and other cast of extras, doesn’t seem much for about 8 hours watching but its great one of birdings pleasures that you have to work at and can’t get via a pager, I walked a section of Blyth beach where two Ringed Plover tried to lure me from there chick which I later saw from cover of the wall but during a heavy shower so no photo it must be one of the busiest spots for dog walkers so they had there work cut out, the rest of the week I tried to find Butterflies or Dragonflies but with limited luck Emperors are still around but far to flighty I did find a new one for me Emerald Damselfly I had them last year but I thought it was a faded Blue heh I am new at this, a female Mallard walked her large brood past me and on to the water showing no fear

Ringed Plover trying to attract my attention
Emerald Damselfly
Now look left & right
Spot the Butterfly
Image turned and enlarged reveals a Comma