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Monday, 28 April 2014

Wryneck- WhitleyBay Cemetery

The news that the Wryneck at Whitley bay Cemetery was still showing and very well to boot saw me head up ,nobody around which was not a good sign , walked the rows back and forth and up and down with no sign it took over an hour and twenty minutes to locate the bird by now there where numerous birders also lured by the term "showing well ". Eventually it did show very well indeed I took my 50D out the case located the bird ,framed it only to find the "no CF  card " flashing before me , into the bag there is always a spare but not today , I have not used it for some months and should have checked the kit first. So I had to leg it back to the car for my SX50 and so the day was rescued somewhat ,with the bird giving a good display as it searched for food ,incredibly cryptic plumage it stood out ok on the grave stones but could easily blend into dry leaves etc. It flew off several times looking incredibly small reminded me of a Sparrow .
The Cementery had 8 services today so parking was a problem.  

 A Blackbird alarm call saw it lay prone briefly and sit here for some time , checking things out

 It was remarked at how grey this bird was I've not seen that many and this being my first Spring bird

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Thrunton Woods

Thrunton Woods last week more a walk around than with the expectation of seeing anything special ,also a chance to brush up on my map & compass skills ,not exactly needed to get around here but a map at least is essential for Northumberland . It was very warm out of the wind as we parked near the caravan site and headed along the track , in a water filled ditch I noticed some orange funghi can't say I have seen them before they where a bright orange on translucent stalks . Willow Warblers and Chiffs singing Buzzards overhead ,I was hoping to come out onto the more open south end of Thrunton but now the planted pines are at some height and cover what used to be open ground where I have usually seen Merlin, non of this was shown on my map which is now very out of date ,so I have since purchased one online for £5.19 post paid where as my local Smiths wanted £9,99 but not in stock, I do like to support local shops if I can but have to admit the internet is a boon .
As it was so warm I did expect to see some Adders but also they may have warmed up early and went off looking for food ,so despite my searching of any likely spot I did not find any. We sat at the edge of the crag where years ago I spent the night in a shed watching over a Peregrine nest ,which despite lots of volunteer effort was still robbed , the tree height is  above the edge now and it's hard to see the extent of the crags , but while sitting here Crossbills& ,Buzzards over and a Siskin displayed and sang above us .Heading back down to the road I noticed a large area of the centre has been felled this would have perhaps been the better route up, the old brick works pool is now a fishing lake complete with log cabin , only a couple of Mistle Thrush seen on the way back also plenty of Peacock and Small Torts..  
 Everythingis busy gathering gathering nest material or looking for a site

Don't think I have seen this before and no idea of a name

Thanks to Nigel of Abbey Meadows Blog for the ID. Bog beacon (Mitrula paludosa).
seems rather an apt name !!!
 The sun had brought lots of people out this area now very popular with Mountain Bikers
 Jay drops in briefly
 Just over this rise it used to be clear and a good vantage point
 Lots of these Tiger Beetles flitting away ahead of us
 Frog near a very small pool
 View from the crag with the trees coming up over the edge
 Looking towards the sea
 Trees, Trees & more trees

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Long Nanny

Last week I went up to Beadnell via the bus and walked down to the Long Nanny just to see if it was feasible,Meadow Pipits and Skylarks seemed everywhere but no Stonechats, the site as expected was deserted the beach looked as though it had been ravished by the winter seas , the sand stack that I last saw Sand Martins investigating   has vanished and even the course of the burn has changed slightly . The Tern nesting area seems much lower than other years and I fear for the birds on the large Spring tides . only a few Gulls on the burn outlet but there was a large flock around a nearby pool in a field , about  12 or so Ringed Plover along the beach in with Sanderling . I walked to High Newton along the beach which is by far the easier and quicker route although I prefer the route along   the short grass path which is good for Butterflies but as I had to connect with the bus I chose the quicker route ,which saw me have time for a drink in the nearby Joiners Arms.

 Looking towards Beadnell in the distance
 The Burn as it snakes it 's way to the sea
 view from the warden's hut
 It will not be long before the air will be full of birds

 looking towards Newton to the south
 The Wardens Hut at the Long Nanny
 Coming back through Craster we are halted as they attempt to pull a fishing boat with a length of rope tied to the back of a van !!!
Craster harbour from the bus, it was here that a Med Gull took up residence for a year or two
 Passing Warkworth castle
 Amble Braid the weir covered by the tide
Amble and the Marina

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Rothbury - Blaeberry Hill

Monday 14th April
A visit to Rothbury  to go up on the hills and look for Green Hairstreak , a sunny day with a light cool breeze , the detour to the town is still in operation its over a year since the road was closed must have been some slip. It's a bit of a slog to get up to   Blaeberry Hill as  its a straight and direct climb from the main street via a tiny alley next to Millers shop I think is the name . Well I walked all over the hill luckily rides have been cut through the heather  plenty Peacocks around masses of Bees but no Hairstreaks , so eventually I went for a walk around the edge of the hill and onto the top , birds encountered several WW lots of Chiffs, Brambling Redpolls a  single Red Grouse , Swallows over  3 GSW but not a single Raptor over , and yet on the coast I had 5 Buzzards in the air at Dru, and even 2 soaring near Morpeth on the way up . Later I arrived back at the hill and sat to watch but only more Peacocks around , I did find an Emperor Moth Caterpillar here once . Heading back down into town takes very little time it's so steep you could roll into a ball and end up in the river , the carpark on the river edge is now free  which is what it was & should have always been , visitors rather than pay for all day would park in the town blocking the streets preventing those with huge 4x4's from getting to the wine shop !. Goosander on the river and several Mallard and BHG  Dipper feeding young still in the nest Grey Wagtail and Heron to end the day , will have to try and get back up before the end of the month or try some other sites.
Looking down & over some Birch Scrub I picked out this Redpoll , it is a little overexposed but was very pale overall ,it was rather distant and I had great difficulty picking it up in the camera 
 Lots of Peacocks around
 Rothbury lies down in the valley , houses come right up to the wall at one point.

 Just noticed there is a face with the hat pulled down !!!!

 A couple of Small torts this one already been in the wars

 Lots of small patches of Wood Sorrell around amongst the bracken must have been woodland here at some time
 Distant ruin of a castle or manor House cant't remember the name
 Pixie cups & Matchsticks
 Several pairs of Wheatears around this one was singing , it's very faint song but the sound does travel ,took me ages to pick it out .
 Trying to get at that awkward spot !!
Dipper feeding young  ,there was only the one adult unless the other was still on the nest, I could see roughly where it was but did not venture to close
 Nice Grey Wagtail it seemed to be nesting on the opposite bank
 It spent the time flycatching
 It seemed puzzled with the Dipper which kept going under in the fast flowing water , managed to capture the two together
 Very obliging Goosander  there always seems to be one somewhere , that comes to bread , handy for photographs just keep the sliced white out of shot .
 Goosanders are actullay very hard to get the exposure right with the contrasting head against the super white body
Finally a Grey Heron drops in early evening