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Thursday, 25 June 2009

Nightingale , Emperors & Red Arrows 24-6-09

Another warm and sunny day I missed the message re the singing Nightingale, I was out looking for more Dragons visited two small ponds which both had Emperors present ,the constant sun had them in the air the whole time another chance to try and get some flight shots , one just kept in the open area in the middle of the pond with two keeping to there corners and occasionally clashing together , Common Blue,Blue Tailed & Large Reds all laying , plenty of Meadow Browns, a few Ringlets,Common Blue, 2 Painted Lady, in the butterflies,Lunch time Nightingale still singing so I headed up ,took some finding and yes it was still singing, caught a glimpse before it moved again and again keeping to a sort of rectangle of bushes, it went silent for awhile and I lay down in the grass Buzzards overhead, it started to sing again and I just lay there, it was a surreal experience ,lying there on my own, in the sun , on an old railway track in Northumberland,with Nightingale singing just yards away,interspersed with a Wren singing from not quite the same song sheet but the same bush. To top the day off just caught the Red Arrows as they blasted over Blyth trailing smoke and heading east........................................
EDIT I forgot to mention the sign before the old rail bridge, "Private Cattle Grid ", but I must confess I crossed it instead of going through the gate, I had a good look around to check for CCTV first , I like to live on the wild side now and again !!!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

23-6-09 Northumberland Coast

What a fabulous day weather wise spent the day up the coast started at Snab point a couple of Harbour Porpoise, Cresswell, then to Druridge and walked through to Ladyburn lake more Butterflies about ,Common Blue, a few Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, 14 Little Gulls at East Chevington and 6 1st Summer Arctic terns, its looking good here I like to just sit and scan through them. they lift and settle, so its scan again, there must be a marsh tern here soon,checked the sea from the dunes a few Manx north, and three groups of Scoter the nearest one had 60 and another looked to be over 100, Auks everywhere, back at Druridge and checked the bay looking for Porpoise in the calm sea, 2 Red throated Divers, a great Northern Diver, Puffins close in , a group of 11 Manx very close in, looking fantastic in the early evening light a few more all moving North and numerous Gannets feeding ,nothing unusual in the day just a good day out ,no coat no fleece, just a decent hat.

Stonechat Cresswell

Cinnabar Moth

I think this is Hemlock Water Dropwort

Common Centaury

I have seen these moths many times , forgot the name for now will have to look it up later.

Druridge Pecker's in the form of Starlings

For non locals the view north to Amble at high tide

Ladyburn Lake to the rear

and the view South

While on the dunes at Druridge this Spider caught my eye. when I touched the grass stem it lay along its length the colour blending perfectly legs held forward to completely hide its profile, which I could not get a photo of

Monday, 22 June 2009

First Emperor 22-6-09

A late start today waiting to see what the weather was going to do , eventually got out but soon after it clouded over and started to rain everything disappeared including the first Emperor of the year tried to get some flight shots without much success, so I just waited the rain out, getting soaked the things I do to get a photo, eventually the sun came out now it was red hot and me with a wet fleece on ,anyway back comes the Emperor it chased after another Dragon which was ovipositing by dipping and flicking it looked large and I thought Four Spot Chaser but not confirmed not sure if they lay like this it was gone in a flash, Emperor eventually settled but some way off , and later it seemed to fly away but settled in the vegetation giving me time to eventually get some shots which only took me 2 hours to achieve.

Azure Damselflies coupled

Ah !!!! Bistort ( amphibious) with Large Red Damselflies coupled and laying

Very difficult to get in flight , more just to confirm I.D.

eventually it lands usually just for a second or two.

Settled here for some time

Some damage to the lower wing

Friday, 19 June 2009

Magpie Moths 18-6-09

Every year about this time I get Magpie Moths very common I know, the first one I notice is always around the front door frame and nearby I found another 4 all in the open , I might even get out the moth trap for the Garden Moth Count Week 20-28 June , I used to enjoy checking the trap ever morning both home and when away the problem was trying to I.D. them all, I have stacks of photos to go through from past sessions . I had a look in the back garden and could find none .

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Political Correctness 16-06-09

Early Tuesday evening I cycled along to Seaton Sluice just to get some fresh air, I only took my bins with me , going along the refurbed prom some new chalets have been erected where some stood many years ago before being demolished due to vandalism, these look quite robust with grass roofs, all are named after seaside theme, like Lobsters, Sand ,Starfish , even Brittle Star, 20 chalets named ,but they missed out Crabs whats the seaside without Crabs I ask, I suppose they decided they did not want anyone in Blyth to have Crabs.

One thing about cycling past birds you can get very close, within a couple of feet of a stunning male Stonechat, as I freewheeled past, wish I could get as close with the camera, looking over the bay nothing to be seen , no Terns , a few distant Gulls, plenty of Meadow Pipits along the dune path and lots and lots of Orchids,only went as far as Seaton Sluice stood by the watchtower and had a check of the sea, a Rock Pipit calling repeatedly ,I looked around and just 6 feet away a recently fledged young Pipit, I would have had to move back to get it framed ,if I had took my camera, I moved back to allow the bird in to feed it's young , having looked around I came up with numerous Guillemots ,3 Razorbills, 12 Eider, 2 Common Scoter, 6 Sandwich Terns and 3 Gannets south gripping stuff and still home by 9.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Blyth Estuary 15-6-09

Mid afternoon Monday I cycled along to the estuary, partly to check the pools created to filter the water pumped from the old Bates pit,running through four or five pools and filter beds it was very clear as it discharged into the river but oddly it does not seem to have much life in it , the reeds are growing well , a couple of Reed Buntings flitting about , but insect life seems absent, 12 mallard & a few Gulls around the fenced in pools , Moorhen called from the reeds, Meadow Pipits, Linnets & some young Blue Tits, and Willow Warbler singing, Common & Sandwich Terns feeding as the tide rose, as were Ringed Plover & Curlew ,Shellduck with young & Skylarks singing. I found another couple of flowers that I am not familiar with, the fences are festooned with chrysalis cases of Five Spot Burnet Moths , I know they are very common but still good to see.
I have I.D.'d this as Autumn Hawkbit

This I took to be a clover and in the vein of say what you see I thought an upright or standing Clover it's about 24" in height , I know clovers can grow tall but it just looked different to all the Red Clover around, anyway Upright Clover does exist but VV rare, I shall have another look at it.

Reading up on Orchids they can be very complex, well to me anyway

All that I could see had flown, just a small number of what was around

Off for a makeover

Completed makeover

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sunny Sunday 14-6-09

I should have went to Holystone today as it was a much better day to look for Butterflies, I just had a lazy day in the garden reading up on stuff I should have seen and trying to I.D. flowers I did see , about 20 Juvenile Starlings around the garden making easy work of the fat balls and also finding the two bird baths which I had to refill a few times over the day, they bathe which such vigour, Swifts entering their site on the side of the house it always takes them a few tries to get straight in but after a few goes its straight up to the gap, the site with the CCTV is unoccupied this year which leaves me very disappointed, I started on the wine so if something did turn up it would have to be within bike range, Swift, Swallow, House Martin,Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow,Magpie, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Herring,( these have also given up on the nest ) Lesser BB, Oystercatcher, and a single Fulmar which is a new bird for the garden list.
Below picking up the bits that drop are Wood Pigeon Collared Dove, several Starlings & House Sparrows

Not the best of shots but I love the expression of the bird on the right

This bird bath is 4' X 15" a stainless steel shelf that lay in the garden waiting to be put up in the garage,till I noticed how popular it was as a bath, looks like it needs filling again, So now I am a baths attendant........... No Bombing, No Smoking, No Petting, No Vulgar Behaviour (thats the Starlings banned then) read up on some great facts, did you know a Swan can have as many as 25,000 feathers , Guillemots can dive to a depth of 180mtrs, and something that puzzled me why Manx Shearwater was named Puffinus puffinus, I don't know if this is true or not , but apparently a specimen of a young bird was sent to ornithologists labelled as a Puffin and so named, later to be identified as a Manx Shearwater.

Getting some sun

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Holystone 13-6-09

It was getting on by the time we got on the road to Holystone, stopped at The Gibbett on the way , Cuckoo across, with redpolls also three Buzzards lifted from the trees at the roadside, the Hloystone area was covered in dark cloud so we waited in the sun till they past, through Elsdon with the large Mott and Bailey mound then pulled in at Harehaugh car park, Large red , and either Blue or Azure Damselflies, blackcap singing , a lot of traffic past and it sounded noisy so we moved on , Holystone a nice little village in a nice location, clouds over again and some rain ,a walk along the Forest track, not the thorough exploration of the area as intended, Roe deer , Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Blue & Great tits ,Gsw calling but no sign of Green Woodpeckers, there is a large number of Wood Ant nests in this area, 2 Buzzards over the valley and Cuckoo calling, fleeting glimpse of Redstart, dull and cool for most of the afternoon , only a Common Blue, four Crossbills over as we had our coffee
Had a walk to Lady's Well here a spring comes into a pool supplying water to the village ,not sure if this is still the case, lots of Monkey Flower/Blood red Emlets along the stream with Blue Tailed in the grass.
The Gibbet

Looking over towards Cheviot & Hedgehope

I think this is that large yellow spiked flower

Orange Hawkweed

Common Heath ?

Common Blue

One of the many Wood Ant Nests

Countless numbers busying around moving bits of twigs etc:

Holystone Common looking West

Lady's Well, Google it for more information

Seems the flowers are tasty

Lots of variation in the flowers these ones especially red !!