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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Past Week

Just a few images from around the area over the past week , I did try for the Greenish warbler but alas no sign it was heard to call but only once ,also visits to Cresswell Pond, Holywell pond, St Mary's island & Big Waters.

 Huge numbers of Hoverflies this year this Knapweed was covered in them.
 Another Southern Hawker this one briefly settled at Big Waters
 One of Four Black headed Gulls I found with Colour Rings this bird found twice at St Mary's, I have still to find the details.
 Ruff at Holywell Pond also Common Sandpiper and Greenshank at the time.
 Colour ringed Med Gull ZNV  Holywell Pond they only seem to stay here briefly and I only got two photos.
 Cresswell I had the bright idea of sitting down at  the North Pool at the start of the causeway , but I attracted the curious , so perhaps the waders would ignore me and come along the edge , these guys had more patience than I as they just stood right in front of me  till I had to move.
 Obliging Snipe from the hide at Cresswell again Ruff  and Common Sandpiper also here.

St Mary's Island Guillemot on the rocks with only a few Sandwich and Common Terns amongst the Gulls , numbers of Knot increasing and I also had a Red Colour ringed Adult Med Gull but was unable to get the ring code. 
 Juenile Sandwhich Tern

Friday, 26 August 2011

Southern Hawker ... Emerging

Southern Hawker caught at the time of emergence when it turns from Larvae to Dragonfly the process took most of the day and it was still not complete when I left several hours later, it was rather cool in its chosen spot despite the pleasant and sunny day ,fascinating to watch this must be one of the sources of those alien movies as their back splits and the transformation begins .
Also witnessed the patrolling of up to three males ,a female egg laying, also the brief visit of Common and Migrant Hawker, with a good number of Speckled Wood ,with at one point four spiralling up chasing each other     
 At first it just hung there for some time ,but now you can just see the back is beginning to split open.
 It hung upside down for some time and at one stage I thought it had died ,but suddenly it had swung up and I had missed it.
 The wings are slowly pumped up ,but you can actually see them enlarge.
 Veins starting to show and also the wing spots called Pterostigma
The Female looks for a suitable place to lay it's eggs ,even trying the boardwalk below , till it eventually finds this rotting log in the pool where it remained for an hour or more.
Pond Skater  comes across a Moth that tried to settle on the water


I have linked some shots together to make a slide show of the process ,a bit of a breeze so it has moved at times.
video


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Newbiggin Meds !!!


A walk along Newbiggin  beach from the South side to Church point and along past the Caravan Park, not looking for anything in particular but I had taken my camera ,it was good to find a number of assorted aged Med Gulls in with the Black-Headed Gulls that seem to like this area .
A lone Seawatcher  in the form of The Liverbirder sat eyes fixed on the sea ,with little movement I did suggest he should have brought  a book, the path along past the Caravan Park has all but  gone due to erosion which makes it harder to get along and look down onto the beach at the same time.

 A couple of colour ringed birds that I have already recorded
 The Juveniles seem to change rapidly in their  first few months

 I counted 7 Juveniles but a recent count had up to 13 with a total of c60
The beach is a huge expanse so even though the birds get flushed there is always somewhere else to settle

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Big Waters

Spent a pleasant afternoon at Big Waters ,just a pleasant walk around getting some shots of whatever took my fancy , but the highlight of the day was a couple of Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other around the feeding area joined briefly by a female , but one of the Juveniles came down to the small dish that provides water and had a lengthy drink, nothing unusual in that you might think but its the first time I have ever seen a Woodpecker of any sort have a drink, let alone get a couple of photos , I know you lot that has them coming down to feed and drink in your garden sees this all the time but it was a first for me .

 Just the one Southern Hawker this one deep in the Nettles & Brambles as I found out when I tried to get nearer.

 Two Juveniles at the feeding area
 Its comes a litle nearer
 and finally lands near the small pool
 took a lengthy drink
 pauses can it see it's reflection (just visible bottom right)
this is one thirsty bird !!!!
 I like to take photos of Fungi they all remain un- identified but I just like to see them.



Thursday, 18 August 2011

Bonaparte's Gull

Monday I decided to go over to Seaburn to try for the Bonaparte's Gull, got there well before the high tide walked along towards Whitburn Steele plenty waders on the rocks but not many gulls around till the message came through that the bird was further to the south feeding just offshore with Black headed Gulls  , it always seemed the furthest bird so I had no chance with my lens ,eventually went up and further along the headland the bird could be seen below so I got some shots in case  it flew off, but that was far from the case, heavily in moult and missing most of the outer primaries apparently, in never lifted from the sea once in the couple of hours I was there. The tide rose and fell immediately, I always thought it stood for an hour but apparently here it drops away again ,this gave us access to the beach with the bird just offshore but alas the nearer it was the more shadow there was (never happy !!!) so we waited till it drifted occasionally into the Sun , what can I say a cracking little bird , thoughts turn to the last Northumberland bird a few years ago ,it could conceivably be the same bird . A tree nester which must be some sight !!!
While waiting for the tide to drop a Wheatear fed near the seating area just by the road giving stunning views.      
Also 3 otherss of my photos on Birdguides and those of others, link below.









Tuesday, 16 August 2011

White Faced Darter etc:

Just a few more images from the visit to photograph White Faced Darter at the end of July, I may have used an image more than once but it's been confusing sorting them out  so this is the last 
This is the ideal perch for a White Faced Darter prominent ,giving good visibility  and easily absorbing the suns rays  which seems so essential to their lives . I can only assume these positions are  held by the more mature males.
Despite their name other features of this species is very attractive,the red on the Thorax and sections of the upper Abdomen the dark spots on the wings  and the erratic flight all add to the appeal.
Black darter ,despite all the shots I don't seem to have captured a female/Imm male  of the White Faced Darter  they could have been dispersed in the Heather .
A pair of WFD coupled in the tall grass was as near as I could get
I was keen to get a close up of the face , it seems to add some personality to them, but they nearly always either faced away or to the side
This is probably the best I got of the facial expression , there was no chance of getting close with my compact camera.

This is the same perch as the first photo which was very popular , if I could do it again I would set the tripod and camera at this and just wait , but it would be hard with so much else going on.
These are Emerald Damselflies  unable to get them both in focus I had to focus from the Male to the Female, an attractive species seen at many ponds .





These Water Boatman  where constantly on the move swimming (or rowing) upside down ,investigating anything that touched the surface tension of the water , a Common Blue Damselfly made this mistake and was grabbed from below , I put the camera up to get a shot but it just flipped over and dived down ,fascinating to watch.
This Water Boatman turns over to dive
Again the coupled WFD from the previous photos having moved ,still face on but just to far away to get them both in focus.



Black  Darters coupled 


Four Spot Chaser
And another Four Spot Chaser