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Friday, 30 August 2013

Great Crested Grebes-Killingworth

Could not resist the temptation to go to Killingworth Lake to have a look at the Great Crested Grebes , a lot closer than I expected being just by the road most I have seen in the past have been at least 100yds away  especially with young ,so it was a pleasant hour or so just watching their antics , despite being so close two photographers one sitting actually down on the shore line with what looked like  a 500mm lens  so he must have been only getting head shots but he still rattled off the shots like a machine gun , but the real interest was just being able to watch these stunning birds go about their daily lives by far the best views of GCG I have ever had . Interesting to see the Colour ringed Coot is still around and has  been for a few years now . A few Tufted also on the water  
 First bird encountered had the west end was this Goosander again it had come reasonably close to the shore but all the photos revealed possibly why as it was dozing in the sun had had it's eye closed the whole time . The Lake is a good place to see Goosanders in the winter
 Great Crested Grebes are a stunning bird  to see ,this juvenile enjoying the ride
No wonder they are growing fast if that's the fish diet

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Big Waters

A visit to Big Waters to see if I could catch up with the Water Rails which had been showing well in front of the hide I did see a Juvenile but it was way off  to the side as the water levels had risen . Southern Hawker at the small dipping pool ,and several Wall Browns on the wing also a Small Copper the first for the year two Buzzards over the A1 section and several Speckled Woods on the wing .

 Southern Hawker

 Small Copper on Tansy
 Wall Brown a very active Butterfly always on the move
 Numerous Common Darters but away from the pools
 Two Buzzards soaring over the A1
Numerous Speckled Woods  at least they like sitting in sunny spots ,now I just give them a passing glance how fickle we are !!!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Another look for Dragonflies

Another one of those days looking for Dragonflies no sign of Emperor's ,4 Spots , or Black Tailed Skimmers which are now replaced with Southern Hawkers and Migrant Hawkers  in the recent couple of weeks I have only seen Migrant hawkers on the wing but today one settled on a tree and 5-6 Southern Hawker which is the more commoner at first and the one encountered at most small ponds they will come right up to you to investigate . A few more Common Darters around but still not in a large numbers and  on this day no Black Darters yet
 Southern Hawker

Common Blue Damselfly

 Migrant Hawker

Came across these eggs  I couldn't get any nearer for a better photograph anyone any idea as to what they are ?

 Speckled Wood a bit more prominent with 10-15 on the wing
 Common Darter they like to rest on the ground as well as a  perch presume they absorb the heat from the path
Another Southern Hawker
Ended the day at Seaton Sluice this Razorbill just offshore with a Juvenile

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Black Tailed Godwit -Colour Ringed

At the end of  July Three Black Tailed Godwits  dropped onto the roadside flash at Blyth links one of which was colour ringed , the details are as follows: 
Ringed in Sept 2009 as an adult male. Short history below.

Hazelwood Marshes NR, River Alde, Suffolk, E England
Orfordness, Suffolk, E England
Hagi, North Iceland
Blyth Links, Northumberland, NE England

As you can see the history of this bird is brief  and has not been reported since 2010 , if you see a colour ringed bird why not try to record the details, sometimes it can be a challenge , bird in long grass , water, leg held up etc: but thats half the fun and the bonus is getting some information back on your sighting.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Coquet Island visit

As  I wrote in the last post  a trip over to Coquet Island with the Natural History Society and North Northumberland Bird Club at the end of last month  weather was a bit dull and cool to cold with some fresh seas on the way out ,but we stayed in the lee of the Island which was reasonably sheltered . The was not a photography trip as all you can shoot is from the swaying boat but they did go in fairly close what does not come across in photos is the noise and smell of a large colony it is very impressive , a Seal popped up to investigate and several more nearby . Birds shot overhead in every direction and I braced against the rail to stop swaying tried to follow some with little success , Roseates could be picked out on the rocks etc: but I did not pick any out in flight , and all to soon it was time to head back by now the seas had calmed some  or we where going with it , everyone remarked how good it had been and for a mere £7 (return) what a bargain .
 We Near the Island ,last year we went around and then towards the jetty ,this year  it was straight to hang around then drift south slightly
 The other boat of the party it looks quite flat but not onboard
 I would love to visit the Island sometime even if there where no birds
 It does have a small beach
This is from the south the other boat now holding station off the jetty
 Crowds of Puffins and many flying off in all directions
 Not sure if this is a prime spot or not.
 Plenty of Juveniles on the beach I will leave you to ID them all
 The terraced nesting boxes
 Numerous Seals around the Island
 Roseate Juvenile on the jetty
 The Puffins just too quick for me and the lens

 Light improved for a few minutes
 Not sure if the hide is to be out of sight or out of falling debris lets say !
Roseate with Juvenile 77 pairs was the last count I heard ?

Back to the calm waters of Amble where I had a red  colour ringed Med Gull probably the Serbian bird but the photo did not reveal any detail and it would not play ball for me.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Druridge Pools

I am a bit behind with my photos for the blog of late,partly due to the lack of storage and the processing speed of my computer it's time for a complete reboot I think but boy what a task that is . While on the way for an evening visit to Coquet  Island( for another post) the end of last month I called at Druridge Pools 
Black Headed Juvenile drops down and chases the Common Tern away I used one of the shots for my header this month

 Fortunately for us birders, birds do like to have a bathe in front of the hide even if you have to stand up to see out the window and between the grass stems . The classic Tern wing stretch now there's a design for flight , pity we cant get someone to design a hide you can actually see out of without having to stand between seat and shelf. One of the best hides in the area is at Hauxley the wader hide and I must confess I did see the Greater Yellow Legs from there .

Taking a bath now those wings just don't look real at all !
Juvenile Yellow Wagtail also drops in for a bath
 Presume from the same same brood but very individual
 One of the Little Gulls drops in to the shore
 They always look so delicate the ones observed at Blyth earlier in the year would often paddle on the water surface as they fed in the surf zone.   Fab birds.

I do like Little Gulls would love to see them on there breeding grounds in large numbers

 Here with a Common Sandpiper I did also have the Yellow Wagtail in with them just as I pressed the shutter its head went down behind a stone spoiling the threesome shot.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Banded Demoiselle & More Dragonflies

Some more Dragonfly photos from a trip out to look for Banded Demoiselle a nice sunny day again we are getting spoilt this year but it will perhaps help species to make up for last year and even give the chance for some to expand North such as Broad Bodied Chaser, and recently Four Spot Chaser also Speckled Wood which are now very common. I enjoy looking for Dragonflies  a very pleasant way to spend these sunny days  next to seawatching that is . Which is where I'm off now  must be a Sooty and a Minkie out there tonight 
 Banded Demoiselle  male on territory 
 Banded Demoiselle another with those black beady eyes
 Signal Crayfish one unwelcome expansion species
 Banded Demoiselle 
 Banded Demoiselle tried to get some flight shots video would have been much better
 This is a Damselfly larvae
and this is one that has emerged

Common Blue Damselfly on a goose feather not hard to guess from what species

 Numerous Leaches seen not sure what they feed on this about the width of your hand
 Male Emperor showed well in flight but always landed  facing me
 Four Spot  Chaser several seen

Starting to show some wear from battling with other Males

Female Emperor egg laying there was also another just out of shot as I could not them both in first time I've had two together 
 Another Leach this one even larger , I wonder if you still use a Cigarette to get them off  I had better carry a couple of Woodbines !!!!