Search This Blog

Sunday, 31 July 2011

St Mary's Island 29-7-11

Friday a trip along to St Mary's to look out for Roseate Terns ,the tide dropping plenty of Common Terns around and a few Sandwich, picked out a Med Gull on the north shore it had a colour ring  so I set about trying to get some shots using a different camera  than usual it was much harder to use but hoping the quality will be better when I get used to it. About 10 mins later located another Adult Med this one unringed , there was a frenzy on the beach with Redshank, Turnstone   & Black-headed Gulls all feeding as the tide rapidly dropped then they all spent time on the now exposed rocks  preening , good little session  
 Adult Mediterranean Gull
 Not sure if this is a full Adult yet thought I saw a trace of Grey/Black in the wing tips green ring with AHJH edit: checking the NTBC website (link on the side) this bird was ringed as a nestling 7/7/08 Germany and last seen Newbiggin 30/7/09

AHJH ring clearly shown is this shot
 Found this small Hedgehog in the garden one morning seemed OK so I put it in a box for the day with some food and water, which it had ate by evening and released it back in the garden.
Found this redish Spider amongst the wood chippings

Thursday, 28 July 2011

St Mary's Island & European Stormies

Went down to St Mary's Island to try out some digiscoping at the start of the prom Sand Martins with the occasional House Martin were feeding just over the sand and along the edge of the prom where thousands of flies having emerged from the seaweed rested on the side of the wall, the Martins skimmed the sand and turned sideways to skirt the overhang I only had my compact camera with me so tried to get a couple of shots ,the beach had hundreds of Gulls and amongst them a single Adult Mediterranean Gull so I tried the video on my compact also.
A couple of sessions of seawatching recently produced some fantastic views of European Storm Petrel in an unprecedented movement along the east coast ,early morning they past very close inshore viewed from the island, one in particular gave stunning views as it past about 40-50yds offshore,  I saw a total of 60 birds and apparently movement had continued all day ,will be interesting to see the total numbers reported along the coast with birds sighted from just about every bit of headland giving everyone the opportunity to catch up with this fantastic seabird.    

Monday, 25 July 2011


Another visit to Kibblesworth Pools a few days ago with more Common Darters around now very pale ones some in tandem, a pair of Emperors also coupled resting in the long grass till they went over to the trees and disappeared, still Four Spot Chaser , but Butterfly wise I did not see any Purple Hairstreak  
 Four-spot Chaser
 Emperors couple in tandem
 The same pair from the side
 and another closer showing how the male grasps onto the female
 I always like to at least try and get a flight shot
 This -Four Spot Chaser  settled near the ground as the sun went in
it sat there for some time allowing me to get closer , tried to get a shot from the front but it was off

Friday, 22 July 2011

Swifts 22-07-11

Checked up on the progress of the two Swift chicks up in the loft ,seconds before an Adult sat in the opening surveying the outside eventually flying off, the two young are progressing fantastically and its fantastic to watch ,there is another nest located above the drive here there is a collection of droppings on the ground and has been for sometime indicating the young are backing up to the entrance to defecate whereas these two have only recently started to do this , below this nest is the roof of the  utility room  there is a good growth of Lichen that apparently needs the presence of bird droppings to start growing.
In the previous clip I thought it was one of the parents present ,but now think it was a prospecting  bird that went in looking for a site 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Two Watercolours of Owls

These are Two Watercolours of   a "Desert eagle Owl " and a " Striped Owl " painted by John Hopkin 1977   Originally bought from the famous Brunswick Gallery in Judd Street London. Although I can't seem to find out anything of the actual artist , frame size 21" X 16" £60 for the two.


Books For Sale

I don't know about anywhere else but right over my house it is pouring down with rain so I have took the opportunity to sort out some books for sale.   Email if you want further details
 These five insect titles £15 the lot
 Insight into Ants £5
" Predators & Prey in the living world "
 New Zealand £6
 Butterfly £8
 The Classic "Birds of the World ............ Arthur Singer £5
 Fair isle Bird reports, 1991,92,93,94,.....96 for  £5
 Watching Dragonflies......... signed copy by Steve Dudley & Andrew Maackey
 Hawkmoths   £10
 These two for £7
 Natural History Society Transactions G.W.Temperley " A History of the Birds of Durham"  & The Northern Naturalists Union " The birds of the Tees Valley "    for £10


A visit to Kibblesworth Pools for Dragonflies found 2-3 Emperor Dragonflies, a Black-tailed Skimmer, and Common Hawker reported but I did not see it and some teneral Common Darter many of which lifted from the pool and headed over to the trees for cover ,numerous Grayling around the weather again changeable . Looking at my notes for last year Dragonflies where more abundant and out much earlier than this year , so what is the governing  factor the very good April and part of May seems to have had no affect on early emergence here in the North, yet in the South many species had emerged  earlier.  

Common Darter with cellophane wings 

 When in flight with legs help up  the stiff hairs  form a sort of basket which helps to catch small insects
 Just what can they see with those huge compound eyes.
 Grayling absorb heat by facing side on to the sun sometimes tilting over to get the most  from the sun

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Crimdon Dene

A visit to Crimdon Dene one reason to check out the Little Tern colony  and another the habit which is supposed to be good for plants . The Little Terns nest on the dune edge on stoney ground which is added to in the winter by wardens the area is fenced off but still seems to get some disturbance ,people seem to think the fence is there so they can use it to watch the Terns from , I have read that 57 pairs  had young  great little birds to watch fiesty when it comes to protecting eggs and young any bird that flew over or near was harried.
Typical of a British Summer it was nice travelling down and for a brief spell there ,but it soon clouded over and became cool so no hope of Butterflies other than the few out earlier, tried to find some new flowers for me without much luck . Called in at the wardens and was immediately given a seat  and a cup of coffee with  commanding views of the sea and coastline what a great spot to spend a bit of time

 I kept well away from the colony but birds would occasionally fly overhead ,this one about to have a mid-air scratch , a scope is needed plenty  of areas with a bit of height to get some good views from
 The fenced area containing the colony , without this they would not have a hope !!!

 Looking back up the beach the fence in the foreground and wardens hut on the hillside
 Some large areas of Betony the soil obviously suiting their needs
 I have to look this up as I am not sure what it is yet.
 Pyramidal Orchid
 Interesting coastline due to the rock type.
There must be vast areas of coast like this with thick virtually inaccessible cover .

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Thursday 14 July 11:00
Just an update of the progress of the two Swift chicks they have changed enormously in the past week , I had just switched on when the Adult came in but missed it in the delay before recording begins.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sunny Days

A sunny day looking for Dragonflies and Butterflies Meadow Browns and Ringlets in huge numbers along with Common Blue , only Damselflies on the pool, and a single Speckled Wood  was a new record, found another 20 or so spikes of Bee Orchids , I wonder if it is a good year for this species, Common Spotted Orchids also in good numbers.

 Small Skipper ?
 Common Blue
 Bee Orchid
 Bee Orchid in the tall grass, nice healthy tall specimens
 Azure damselflies the dominant species but also , Blue-tailed  & Large red

Meadow Browns in the hundreds these two coupled in mating