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Friday, 30 September 2011


Well first the Sandhill Crane what a fantastic but  brief event , it was past before I heard about it  so all I could do was follow its progress South , AC even got some good flight shots of it , a fantastic  one off opportunity for a County first .
Sorted a couple of shots of the Owls at Prestwick Carr the Long Eared was in deep cover  and mostly either kept its eyes closed or was looking down .
 Coming to at the time a favoured post with prey.
 Some digiscoped shots as most of the flight shots turned out rubbish this night

 Absolutely cracking birds  and a privilege to watch
 Penny for your thoughts !!!
This one had tufts erect so not as relaxed as it could be , but with cars going past and people chatting   

Monday, 26 September 2011

Short Eared Owl- Video

I have got a lot of photos to process but had time to upload this 50 second  clip of a Short Eared Owl from Prestwick Carr I have taken out the sound as mostly you get the wind through the trees ,aircraft or someone talking.
Produced, Filmed, Processed , Edited  & Uploaded , as well as getting the gear to and from location , all done by me !!!!!!!! Just where do I get the time  !!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The past week or so !!!

Thought it about time I updated my blog although few photos of late.
I forgot to mention that I added American Golden plover to the bus list with a visit to Whitburn area the bird  located on the fields with the shooting butts a very windy day only one digi shot which was rubbish,had intended to return but the bird only reported once there after.
Also went down to Greatham Creek for the Sharp- tailed Sandpiper but alas it had gone ,10 Curlew Sandpipers on the small pools ,with 4 Ruff and lots of Dunlin and Ringed Plover but again the wind very strong despite the birds being reasonably close I could get no photos. A walk along to the hide which I had not been in for years gave some welcome shelter from the wind, thousands of birds seem to be feeding here ,but it's a vast  area, out of some of the nearer birds where 12-15 Black Tailed Godwits one of which was in difficulty floundering around trying to avoid the rising tide, a group of 25+ Grey plover and a single Avocet, back along the creak a Hawker patrolled over the seaweed. later at home a Swift circled over the garden .

13th a visit to Hollywell Pond only produced 3 Pied Wagtails , 2 Bar-tailed Godwit with a few Common Gulls in with the numerous Black-headed.

14th A Cycle along to Blyth Estuary for the rising tide saw numerous waders among which a single Ruff and 3 Curlew Sandpiper, with a Guillemot well up the river , 2-3 Speckled Wood Butterflies out. A brief walk to the old railway line near to my house produced 48 Speckled Wood  with as many as 6 together in one spot.

15th  Back along the estuary on the way north at least 3 Curlew Sandpiper still with the numerous waders feeding on the muddy shore. Stopped at Snab Point for a seawatch which produced 25 Manx, 4 Sooty , 2 RT Diver, 1 Velvet Scoter, 15 Teal, 9 Brent, 8 Arctic Skua  & 3 Pomerine Skua which came over high before descending to sea level where they caught up with and Arctic, all heading North with 4 RTD south.
Cresswell turned up 2 Scaup in with the Tufted and a Curlew Sandpiper briefly.

16th   A brief Seawatch from Seaton Sluice only produced Teal North and South and 9 Brent North.
A reasonably early start at the Sluice with some good numbers of duck moving totals from 7:30 - 11:00, Teal 400,Common Scoter 542, Wigeon 60, 1 RTD, 1 Manx,1 Sooty, 45 Curlew, Gannet 260hr,1 Pintail, 1 Red -necked Grebe, 4 Brent (North)
20 RTD, 3 Velvet Scoter, 4 Little Gull (South). I realise these numbers are small compared to other sites but a good few hours nevertheless ,the highlight being one of the longest strings of Scoter I have ever seen . Hollywell for the afternoon and a Spotted Redshank dropped in  ,Two Ruff didn't  but a Med Gull also dropped in. 
The famous Seal Sands NR it's huge you definitely need a scope just to see the birds never mind I.D. them, as expected plenty of Seals loafing around .
This Common Gull moulting to 1st Winter , 2 Bar -tailed Godwit  on the shore
One of 48 Speckled Wood counted near my home on a nice sunny morn, and I discounted  ones I thought I might be counting twice.
Graffiti this is down on the estuary not your usual rubbish with a spray  can , but still Graffiti  !!!!!

This is Perennial Sow Thistle sucking the life out of a Ladybird  :)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Cowpen Bewley,Saltholme,Shibdon

I had to go down to Middlesborough so I took the opportunity to call in at Cowpen Bewley Country Park it is a site that has recorded Brown Hawker in the Summer months  but I just thought I would get a look around .
Common Blue , Meadow Brown  and Red Admioral on the wing as where some Hawkers I did not have time to check them out properly plus it was a day of very strong winds and heavy showers, its a good area inhabited mainly by dog walkers with an area designated as  off the lead run , but most seemed to just let them run anywhere as well as the ponds of which there are several and a small lake .
Drove on to Saltholme it was stotting down (that is very heavy rain for non Northeners) so i dashed across to the Phil stead hide but only Little Egret and Ruff here, next stop Greatham Creak but the wind so strong I had to sit and keep the scope very low.
So I thought I would go home via Shibdon  at least I would have some shelter and a Spotted redshank and this is where I stayed till just before dark the water levels are controlled here and it shows with many Redshank, Snipe, Spotted Redshank & Green Sandpiper , two family groups of Lesser Black -backs amongst the gulls unfortunately they where just to far for some shots. There is a nice edge to this pond and I was sure of seeing Water Rail as the day ended but no !!!!
 Southern Hawkers at one of the small pools at Cowpen Bewley , if I remember cowpen is something to do with where salt we also have a Cowpen near Blyth .
 Red Eared Terrapin ? which I think has been here for some years it seems to being OK that must be about 15 " long
 Ruddy Darter settled beside me but it was the only I saw and actually my first of the year.
 This Juvenile Carrion Crow was odd  being very tame sat on the car roof looking down at me as I sat in the car , having nothing to feed it I asked a couple in a Motorhome and they gave me a bun !!, I wonder if someone has had it in captivity then just let it go ????

 Saltholme after the rain comes the sun briefly , Little Egret from the Phil Stead hide. This hide is outside the visitor centre so you don't have to wait for it to open at 10 (yes thats right 10 ' o clock before you can get in )
 Ruff on the pool edge
 Vignetting effect always a problem with digiscoping
 Common Seal near the creak
 Shibdon the rain has stopped and a little  bit of sun to brighten the day
The ever present Lapwing a feature of just about every pond such as this.

Lesser Black -backed Juvenile ,I would have like some closer photos but they kept there distance

Friday, 9 September 2011

Hawker,Darter, Vole & Lizard

A run up the coast to Cresswell and a walk along the road/ track to East Chevington, brief stop at the flash near Lynemouth revealed 5 Ruff , then the stop at Cresswell was also brief the water level very high and onto the road 2 Ruff and  three Black-tailed Godwits circled the point but then headed South.
Nothing of note at Druridge ,plenty of Common Darter and a single Migrant Hawker just a little to high for me , a walk along the tarmacked road was just a stroll  but was pleased to find a Common Lizard in the brief period of sunshine , and I nearly stood on this Short -tailed Field Vole ,which seemed totally unconcerned by me  even when I put the camera near 
Migrant hawker
Common Darter, absorbing heat from the ground
Still a few Butterflies around  also, Small Copper, Peacock,Red Admiral, Wall & Meadow Brown
I nearly stood on this but instead of it disappearing it allowed me to get a few shots

 Common Lizard  was getting some sun , which allowed me to just stand very still and get some shots

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cambois Car Wash !!!!!

A Garden first of late in the form of a Great Spotted Woodpecker , I could hear the call  and looked around to see it fly off, I have a dead Flowering Cherry tree in the garden so it will be out with the drill and get some suet etc.into it .

Washing your car Cambois style ,this young lad was testing his cars ability to keep him dry ,lucky for him there was no small Boulders coming over as well. !!!!!
A few Manx past and a couple of  Whimbrel, in the wader roost along the old staithes , cice 150 Oystercathcers, C200 Redshank, 60 Knot , 15 Dunlin, a single Kittiwake  and another Colour ringed Black-headed Gull got only one shot of the ring but the code unclear something like VVY ?

 Another look at Holywell Pond and another new to me Med Gull with a colour ring ,still awaiting details .
 A couple of Ruff along the edge.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Migrant Hawker

The other day I encountered my first settled Migrant Hawker usually find them fairly easily but not this year so I took what I could with the camera I had with me ,other things encountered , Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Common Darter , Emerald damselfly, Small Copper several species of Fungi but most of the photos dark due to the dull day , 
 Puffballs looking really fresh ,spores dispersed via wind and rain .
Small Copper oddly it landed three times on Knapweed that had gone to seed ?
Common Darter on the seat beside me it lifted several times before I could get this close ,complete with designer satubble !!!!!
 Migrant Hawker found this one already settled so it was quite obliging , it would be helpful but impossible to have the camera on a tripod for these type of photos as I am leaning over for what seems like forever and trying to keep the camera still.
 Pleased with this shot although the head is not sharp but I was more trying to catch the colour on the wing , not hard to see why they are becoming more and more popular with Birders