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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Speckled Wood 19-4-11

Speckled Wood Butterflies are here again ,a short walk yesterday afternoon to have a look for these fantastic Butterflies saw my first one as it skirted along the tops of a hawthorn till it dropped down and settled  some damage in the wing on this one , but as I walked on found more and more twice had them spiral upwards right in front of me , I counted 10 in all probably a lot more as it was late in the day, last year the first one I found was on the 21 May ?, lots ,and lots of Whites on the wing also Peacocks and a single Comma !

 Speckled wood , they seem to like bramble.
Two spiral upwards

Monday, 18 April 2011

To The Hills 17-4-11

A run inland today up to the Cheviot area , a walk around the two hill forts of West Hill and St Gregory parked at the Village Hall of Kirknewton headed East, Blackcap the first bird heard singing Swallows overhead, more Blackcaps and Willow Warblers  on the edge of the gardens , some of the feral Goats on the hillside they seem to always be here, a Hare just sitting on the path ahead of us, the Yaffle of Green Woodpecker but no sign , 2 Buzzards over ,Meadow Pipits on the open grassland seemed more than I have ever seen in this area well over 100 birds . Two red Legged Partridge sitting on the wall watching us I  gave directions to where they were sitting  but  one step off the track and they where gone., two nice Male Wheatears  on the walk up West Hill ,Female on the top, another two on St Gregorys , but 7 birds on the track back down to the road  5 male 2 female (much more sheltered here) ,another 2 Hares & the gruesome sight of a dead Lamb with it's eyes pecked out .
called at Brunton Gravel pits on the way back , a hide has been erected and a car park made , but not sure of access, the usual Greylag & Canada a few Black headed Gulls and 20 Tufted Duck.
 Kids butting heads together
 Some of the feral Goats
 Wheatears in good numbers no Ring Ouzel though .
 Hare the wind was in our favour
 Tick on the track below, the river runs in the valley below Green Woodpecker here.
 View across the Millfield plain in the historic past this was a huge lake.
 The camera can't get it all in

A small stream separates the two hills
Kirknewton just below beyond the Gorse no sign of Stonechats they seem to have had a hammering from the harsh winter..

Friday, 15 April 2011

Black Scoter Bamburgh 15-4-11

A very early start today headed up to Bamburgh for the Black Scoter  I didn't think it would have gone but thought there might be a few up for it ,picked it out straight away in with 170 Scoter  the light very dull but it was still early, as more birders arrived I headed off for a walk along to the outflow of Budle Bay  20+ Fulmars at the old Quarry ,about 100 Sand martins over the Golf Course near  hill top , Willow Warbler singing and my first Grasshopper warbler of the year  got a couple of shots before it stopped singing, 2 Yellowhammers, many Meadow Pipits and Linnets, no Stonechats although I did not go to far into the Gorse area. I was looking for my wide angle lens to get a shot of Budle Bay and realised I had lost it checked all over the area I had been sitting , re traced my steps and low and behold there it was on the lying on  beach and all after a couple of hours ,good job it was quiet and in a bag. The weather had not improved it was supposed to be sun , sun ,sun, tried to get some more digi of the Scoter as they had come in reasonably close very difficult to locate then get the camera on it , a few  Red Breasted Mergansers North, couple of Long tailed Ducks, and for me only one Red throated Diver, 42 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks at high tide.
I was  amused by a group that pulled up and they all scanned the sea  looking via the windscreen with bins,............and the sea was probably all you would see !!!
 Only some poor digi shots for me , could have done much better if the sun was out !
 Grasshopper warbler
 Bamburgh early morn a small group of birders in the left corner
 Mares tail ?
 Grasshopper Warbler giving me a real song
 Budle Bay from the edge of the Golf Course
 I forget what these are for now
 Another digi shot
Another I can't quite remember will get the books out 1

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Saturday 9-4-11 Went up to Cragside to visit the house and grounds stopped at Paperhaugh Bridge on the way up as at this point I still had not seen Sand Martin nor did I here fisherman on both banks all I saw was a Dipper carrying food  to a nearby nest, Thrum Mill the next stop it was near here that one year on a nice warm sunny day a Bat flew back and forth along the river , so close you could see it glance at us as it past, mind that same night it rained very heavily causes local flooding. Another Dipper 2 Grey Wagtails ,  2 Mallard and  a pair of Goosanders . After looking around the house which is well worth a visit , a walk around the grounds or at least some of them ,headed up towards the lake but alas not much around anywhere a few butterflies in sunny spots Peacock & Comma plenty of Chiffs singing but no Willow Warblers or Blackcap, most of the vegetation is Rhododendron  its everywhere 10' feet high in places giving plenty of cover but I suspect little else. Only two Moorhen, a Goldeneye and a Little Grebe on the lake but I think it would be good for Dragonflies later in the year,walked around to the North on to the edge of the woods  here it opens out onto the moors, from here back to the car only had two Jays silent as they lifted from the ground,called at West Hartford on the way home JM pointed out a Green Sandpiper way off in the distance  a few Lesser Black Backs , Herring Gulls and Oystercatchers.

Cragside on the way back to the car park
The Iron Bridge from one of the windows
 Some fantastic art work, Taxidermy etc: this is a light shade I will leave it up to you to I.D.the birds
Gyr Falcon , King Eider which is upside down with its head twisted and I presume a Stoat although it looks a bit big to me.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Shorelark,Avocets and Merlin 6-4-11

Wednesday the 6th I was going up to the Cresswell area anyway but the note of some Avocets around was a bonus , I was told the Shorelark was still showing at Druridge and a guy even offered me a lift despite having just come from there , so thanks for that,the bird was indeed showing well so rather than push it off I sat down and hoped it would work its way nearer, but other birders arrived and it kept its distance. Plenty of Skylarks and Meadow pipits around ,Wheatears also on the move I had 12 on the way back to Cresswell, Yellow Wagtail in the cattle field just north of the pond, 5 Pieds and 2 White Wagtails, I had seen no sign of the Avocets but there calling as they flew in allowed me to get a couple of shots they dropped on the pool but left , heading back to the village a Male Merlin shot along the dunes nice end to the day and some good birds for my Birder on the Bus list, even though I had missed two buses  back home !!!!
 While hoping for the bird to come nearer took a couple of digishots
 I have overexposed this one pity as it is not a bad shot
This was a smart bird I got a couple of others with the camera which I will use as a header

 Yellow Wagtail Cresswell
 One of  12 Wheatears along the coast from Druridge to Cresswell

Two of the Avocets I think 8 reported at one point

Friday, 8 April 2011

Rothbury Circular 2/4/11

Last Saturday I went up to Rothbury  for a wal over Blaeberry Hill  around Addycombethen over towards Debdon. Walked along the river looking for Sand martin still not seen one but it was a rather cold dull start to the day , Red legged Partridge right on the edge of Town its a stiff climb up and over Blaeberry Hill no chance of  much in the strong wind had up to 8 Chiffs singing, two Wheatears on the top and later Siskin and a single Crossbill over , 2 Buzzard came down low but to far for the camera stopped by Debdon stream a Grey wagtail dropped in just as I poured the coffee out and nearby a Robin feeding young , by mid afternoon it was getting much warmer but too late for me it was time to go.
A temporary bridge is being erected in Rothbury so they must be going to do some serious work on the old stone bridge .bat boxes erected along the river.
Red Legged much commoner than they used to be but this a first for the year.
View towards Simmonside  fro the edge of Rothbury
 Looking over to the north/north east
The climb over Blaeberry Hill still looks a bit bleak
 there must be a Geological term for this huge boulder with all the folds
hand holding for close focus does not work this a little blurred and overexposed in the strong wind

 The track around and down towards Debdon on the left
 A nice little picnic spot

looking back over to the hill