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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Black-necked Grebe....Big Waters

Tuesday the 18th decided to check out the Black-necked Grebe still present at Big Waters another fine sunny day bit cool unless your in a sheltered spot which is the first thing I checked out looking for any dragonflies , only Speckled wood at the western dipping pool and an obliging Southern Hawker , got in the hide  plenty of Duck on the water including 2 Great Crested  and numerous BHeaded  and some Lesser Black Backs , I located the BN Grebe but it was way off  even for the scope , then I was distracted by a Kingfisher which came into the western scrape bit  to far away so I digiscoped it , ALWAYS  fantastic to see there are numerous perches for it to use luckily it sat around for several minutes , I videoed it till it flew off so stopped the vid only to have it pop back on so I missed the flight and dive , eventually off it went so back to checking the pond . The BNG by now was over near the Island so as the hide there was now empty I legged it around it did come fairly close but never managed any decent shots a GCG swan past it the size difference was  ridiculous got them both in only to find the BNG had put it's head down  and spoilt the shot .  So back around to the main hide carefully checking for the hoped for dragonfly taking a rest in the sun but nothing , a Migrant Hawker in front of the hide  would not settle so I tried some flight shots good job it's digital  , checking the pond again was deciding to go somewhere else , a guy said there is supposed to be a BNG here but I can't see it , I located it way over the pond by it's action of swimming with it's head under water before diving , this guy was expecting something on the lines of GCG size  so through his bins it would just look like a lump in the water . If he had seen it close up which it eventually did come , I'm sure he would have been impressed ,who wouldn't as it swam off again I headed home with the intention of  an evening at Holywell Pond  to record Bats ................... I got a few other surprises too !!!

Not the best flight shot but not bad for a Digiscoped shot

You have to take off the red eye reduction in your camera to get the eye colour :)

Southern Hawker taking in the Sun
Very confiding individual but the wind blowing it around
Tried some flight shots of this Migrant Hawker

Always seemed to be facing away but at least holding station
Speckled Wood just a couple around the reserve

Thursday, 20 September 2012

More Bonxie action

Monday decided to go back up and look for the Pectoral Sandpiper reported at Lynemouth  but apparently a Peregrine had put everything up  and nothing returned save a lone Ruff. At Cresswell  started at the North end first 3 Stonechats and 2 Wheatears by the car park, headed up to the hide the Bonxie still present on the spit , two tight flocks of Coot kept close to the reeds and as expected when the Bonxie did eventually take flight there was sheer panic it made several attempts to drop on to birds settling eventually on the water and drifting /swimming around it seemed to try and get nearer to birds . I was trying to follow it via the scope and camera at one stage it lay prone on the water swimming towards its target keeping very low till it lifted and tried to drop onto something . Again it dropped on the water then at one point attacked the Coot right in front of the hide disappearing for a few seconds but still no kill , eventually settling back on the water for a prolonged bathe before settling back on the spit .....panic over.
I decided to check the path up towards Warkworth lane , it was warm and sheltered in parts several Speckled wood and lots of Common Darters on the wing , there are a few small ponds either side of the track but no waders around, chanced on a Hawker which settled briefly , ended up at the lane nothing out the ordinary so headed back a Black Darter crossed the path and watching it till it settled I was able to get a couple of shots till it started to lash down so into the trees till it stopped then headed back to see if the darter was still perched and got some more shots rain drops included.
On to Druridge bay to look for a Whinchat which was located with 2 Stonechats , 17 Bar Tailed and 3 Black tailed on a small pond by the old coal road , Gannets looked as though they where very close inshore on the high tide so I went over again mostly juveniles dropping very close inshore. Last stop Lynemouth flash again  there was some waders around but the looking into the light it was impossible to check them out  3 Yellow Wagtails along the edge ended the day .

 Bonxie swimming prone just before an attack
 You always hope the bird is going to come close , but when they do it always catches you out ,here it has just lifted from behind the reeds
 100 Pinkfeet in the fields near Cresswell
 Black Darter after the rain
 Black Darter very settled but in an awkward location
 numerous Speckled Woods today noted at most locations
 Female Migrant hawker lands briefly
 Gannets feeding close inshore
 Sparrowhawk mobbed by Corvids
Despite there being 3 Yellow Wagtails could only manage one snap
After several unsuccessful attacks the Bonxie settles for a prolonged bathe before heading back to the spit .
Apparantly this bird dropped into Holywell Pond Tuesdsay where it killed a Coot but strangely did not eat it ,heading off south after awhile.

Badger Cull

I have here a link to Stewarts blog about the proposed Bdger Cull  he puts his point very well and with such passion far better than I could ever write please read and sign the petition against this stupid act !!!!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cresswell and the Bonxie

Saturday headed up the coast stopping at any sheltered spot that mat have had any Dragonflies, at this time of year they can be found hanging from a bush or tree trying to absorb the suns energy  we found plenty of common darter a 2-3 Speckled  Woods on the wing also Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell  but no larger hawkers. Checked out the flash at Lynemouth single Ruff and Curlew sandpiper in with the c50 Dunlin good to see some waders on here at last, masses of Hirundines  over to hard to even estimate with mixed feeding of House martin , Swallow and Sand Martin. Passing Cresswell the car park was full of cars so we headed to the top end  which actually had nothing other than a singing Chiff  on to Druridge again nothing much of interest but at least more Butterflies in the form of Small Copper ,Painted lady and Wall Brown with again many Common Darters landing on your head ears and anywhere else they could land . Back at Cresswell I headed to the hide now nearly empty no sign of the Bonxie till it suddenly appeared on the far side looked like it had been off for a bathe it sat preening for forty mins , so I checked over the pond Long Tailed Duck perhaps male 1st winter, Great Crested Grebe  and a quick count of the Gadwall got to me to 100+ the most I have ever seen (I have since heard of much larger counts) this a species you had to go to Gosforth Park for the one reliable site of the day. Well the Bonxie seemed content to just preen moving briefly before settling down on the ground , so I decided to move on packed my gear away and was just heading out the door when all hell broke loose the Coots in a mass panic as was everything else the Bonxie was on the wing creating havoc it made a couple of half hearted attempts to drop on something before settling into the field  ...panic over  though the Coots still milled around in a tight flock not sure what to do , no leisurely feeding and loafing around today for them . 
 Curlew Sandpiper ,Lyenmouth flash best viewed in the morning else your looking into the light as here

 Plenty of Ladybirds around at some spots !
 Common Darters a plenty at Dru these on the bench
 Red Admiral
 Small Copper on Bistort
 Painted Lady first for sometime
 And the Bonxie in flight creating panic in every direction

Monday, 17 September 2012

St Mary's Island

A report the other day of an adult Sabines Gull off St Mary's  Island so I thought I would have another look along,stopped at Seaton Sluice to look for Kittiwakes in the hope of a Sabine's but the feeding flock way too far out ,4 Sandwich Terns , 20 Teal and a few Redshanks and Knot with 90 Pinkfeet South and 2 Swallows West with a flock of about 40 Goldfinch on the wires, at St Mary's went onto the Island and had a look at the sea , actually plenty birds around mostly in the form of Gannets and the majority of these where Juveniles , surprised to see a Great Northern Diver heading south , picked out a  couple of feeding flocks of Kittiwakes which  I grilled in the hope of a Sabs but just a bit to far away for my scope and I started to wonder how good is the new Swarovski  modular scope going to be in seawatching with it's 95mm  lens and up to 70mm zoom eyepiece  for checking distant flocks etc , I'm interested in having a look at one  at just under £3000 it should be not just good  ,but very very good !.
As the tide started to rise a few Sanderling and Ringed Plover dropped on the rocks  so I checked them out one Sanderling had a colour ring but I could only see a Green and then a Yellow but could not get the combo, several hundred Golden Plover just off the causeway then dropping onto the rocks from the prom, 10 Pied Wagtails on the Golf Course and and 3 Swallows over 

 Ringed Plover we just take them for granted but what a smart bird

 I'm fond of Sanderling such an energetic bird , especially when they feed on the beach,
 I took a few of the tight flock in the hope of getting the colour ringed bird, heads are tucked in but the eyes are open

Two Sea Kayaker' s fishing around the Island I talked to them on the beach but they had not caught anything

Friday, 14 September 2012

Blyth River waders

Yesterday the 12th September I cycled along the River Blyth and around to the area we used to call Monkey's Island just to the east of the boatyard , the tide already pushing in and most of the waders had left apart from a number of Redshank and 6 Knot with a Goosander  in the open water ,headed further upstream looking for any colour ringed birds be they gulls or waders , 30 or so Black headed's feeding from the outfall pipe not sure what this is from, Redshank by far the most common wader here , they have the annoying habit of giving there alarm call chasing everything off but then they settle not far away , so trying to approach waders with Redshank  in front is a waste of time. Thought I picked out a Little Stint  but by the time the scope was up the lot had moved over to the other side and I could not find one. Went as far as the two bridges four Goosanders here and about 20-30 Mallard  which seem to feed at this area. Kingfisher calling between the bridges but could not locate it , two pure white Doves under the road bridge looked odd, back down the river too view across to where the waders gather sometimes to roost  but most fly off to the staithes over at Cambois. Set the scope up to check over the other side it's a fair way off so a scope is essential , in the rain picked out a wader with the Dunlin  couldn't make it out for some time till it brightened up slightly and I could see it was a Wood Sandpiper, also here a Black tailed Godwit and Spotted Redshank , about a dozen Swallows hawking the river which was although rising very still , a Whimbrel was heard but not seen and a Skein of about c100 Pinkfeet headed South  a very good couple of hours despite getting soaked.
 A couple of digi scoped shots the waders where rather far off
 Wood Sandpiper
 Black Tailed Godwit and Spotted Redshank(left )

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Black-headed Gull Foot Paddling

Today I observed  a Black-headed gull  Larus ridibundus  foot paddling on short grass I know Common Gulls frequently do this as do Herring gulls ,I remember reading something about first recorded I think by Tinbergen in  an article for British Birds in the 60's , can't say I have seen BHG do this before or probably just not noticed  it . There is a lot of short grass along our coasts  as towns  always seem to keep the grass very short  on the extensive links like those at Whitley Bay's "Astro Turf " areas ,someone must go along with a measure marked in Millimetres to keep it that short . Wouldn't it be nice to see an area of wildflowers      now and again with tall grass you could walk through  looking for "Butterflies" which oddly don't seem to like short grass ! or imagine small fenced off areas with actual trees in wow! . I noticed The Briardene had been tidied up or sanitized depending on how you see it, I looked for the Med Gull that frequents the car park or at least did , I wonder if they have been recorded foot paddling , I have been know to paddle but that was in my youth I'm sure the sea was warmer then !!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Rant, Rant, and Fungi

Busy at the moment so not much time to get out other than regular checks of the local flashes as I run back and forth to the local recycling site  and an occasional look along the river , you see all sorts at the recycling centre while there earlier in the year someone pulled up in the newest registration car which could only have been picked up the day before so there first trip out was taking a load of old rubbish like branches etc to the tip , a guy in a large 4x4 squeezed in next to me having reversed in to "offload" he opens the boot to reveal two small carrier bags of garden waste,its a funny old world some (actually many) drive to the tip with very small amounts of rubbish in the mistaken believe they are recycling and hence saving the planet , but not taking into account they may have driven miles to get there. A large container is where you deposit the  now defunct TV, weather it's because its actually not working or simply because its silver and you now want a black one , it was full of portables to 46" flat screens  I have no idea what happens to them, next to this is a huge skip for electrical s of all kinds , it's mind boggling the amount of stuff we throw away . On the other hand there are those tossers that can't even drive to the tip to dispose of rubbish but choose to dump it out in the sticks, a huge TV dumped near the Elsdon Gibbet earlier in the year , do these tossers just drive around for miles and miles looking for a "nice" spot to dump their stuff I say funny old World !! 

I have wood chippings in the garden and every Autumn some unusual Fungi comes through ,this type seems to rot from the top down showing the gills .  

Blyth River near Alcan ,I went down to watch the lifting of the blades for this wind turbine , but it was to windy , I presume someone climbs up the inside to connect it.

and next day they had already lifted them into place ,I don't know the size of this one  but it seems to dominate the area , now the ones on the pier look very small in comparison , how many more to come I wonder not just here but in the County.