Thursday, 31 May 2012

Snatched opportunity

That's all I'm getting this week. Drowning under work and it looks like the weekend and Bank Holiday are seriously in danger. Intermittent Internet connection isn't helping so just a Swift one then from a couple of days ago.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The ears have it

Hot weather and mammals tend to get a bit dopey
Good for the camera though

Saturday, 26 May 2012


Interesting times this morning with many young birds just leaving their nests. Best of all was a pair of Willow Tit feeding at least three young. They were so noisy I feared for their future however 100 yards down the road two young Magpies were just fledging from their nest so hopefully the adults would be to busy to notice.
It's a tough world out there so maybe just stay in here a day longer.
Earlier No 100 on the 2012 Prestwick Carr list just failed to evade being photographed. Common Tern heading back toward Big Waters I suspect.
A nice east breeze to keep the temperature comfortable and the range flags full.

Panting hot

Another hot day to make up for the first three weeks of misery in May. Good job for the east wind just taking the edge of scorchio. Still, after moaning about the cold it's now too hot for some. I'm off to see what I can find.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I could be so happy

Two days of sun and what a diference. The sky is full of screaming Swifts. Tonight two Pipistrelles fed behind my house as the new moon grew in the north west along with Venus. The Blue Tits have taken advantage of  a bounty of green caterpillars and are feeding their young once a minute! The sun set to a chiaroscuro horizon. Perfect if I didn't have to wake up to the same shit I dealt with today............. tomorrrow.
On the Carr the larder was full of tasty morsels. Three or more Whimbrel remain. The first time I've known them to do so and they are behaving the same as the Curlew so possibly a breeding attempt may be the result. Whitethroat, Willows and Sedgies in abundance but Grasshoppers low possibly due to the recent flooding. At least three Blackcap territories up the range bridleway and a similar number of displaying Snipe.
Ducks and Oystercatcher still present and I just caught this Mallard + 9 crossing the range bridleway. Butterflies for the first time in abundance this year with my first Wall Brown, numerous Orange Tip plus Peacock, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell to boot.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What's that yellow thing up there

Yes the suns out and here I am stuck in front of the computator. This little splash of Yellow is of course Grey Wagtail, one of a nice pair found at Plessey Woods Country Park on an abortive hunt for Red rumped Swallow at the weekend.
Not much on the local patch at the moment with two Redshank and two Oystercatcher being the only remaining waders now the flood is largely gone. Did catch sight of this little blighter at Mayfair Cottage. Still a few around from the mink farm at Kirkely Mill that closed a good few years ago so now a resident population. I understand at least three have been shot recently in the locality.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Rook bun

Outside the front door of the Bay Horse Pub, a Rook makes good use of somebodies discarded lunch.
I guess that's why its called Dining town...........

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Close but no cigar

The male Redstart was singing full tilt last night and giving tantalising glimpses as it fed in the willows. I assume the female may be close by on the nest and I've possibly got the location although won't be certain till they start feeding young.
Cracking bird but a shame he's so shy. Maybe he will relax as I'm sure he's got used to me watching him.
Some better weather conditions may help without backlit greyness and a stiff breeze.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


The first young are beginning to emerge.
Young Chaffinch waiting under cover to be fed at Prestwick Carr
and Greylag young at Hauxley cuddling together for warmth whilst attentive parents see off any unwelcome visitors.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Narcissus returns

The Ponteland Parakeet on tour at Prestwick this afternoon and just lovin his own reflection. What a pretty polly.
Hey you've got a redder nose than mine.........I'm green with envy.
Now don't look back in anger........just feed the window like this.......parrot fashion.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mistle play for me

Saturday mornings sunshine was more than welcome and my usual wander was pleasant if a little too warm as I still had the lining in my coat. The flood had been topped up by the recent rain but Whimbrel were the only birds of note. I can't remember multiple birds staying for this length of time before and wonder if they would breed like the Curlew whose flock has now largely broken up with pairs dispersed over the farmland to the north. This Mistle Thrush is one of a pair holding territory at Mayfair Cottage and has been on his own of late so I suspect she's on the nest.
He spend most of his time either in the trees keeping watch or feeding in the paddock to the west and if Crows or Magpies come close the usual battle ensues.
It always pays to keep an eye out for the neighbours when they fly over. 
There's still three Wheatear in the horse paddocks and I saw quite a few up the coast yesterday afternoon in pursuit of some Birdguide reports. In preparation for seeing some 'hot' birds I took the lining out of my coat and of course.......froze my butt off. British summertime eh!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Great crest

Overshot a meeting a site visit at Heddon yesterday and went up to Whittle Dene where the Grebes were looking good.
If you go round in circles really fast you can create a whirlpool you know. The main target of my visit, Yellow Wagtail was heard but only seen in flight disappearing into the rape. Pretty good cover for a yellow bird!
The Common Terns are back and vocal with some courting chases going on. Unfortunately the greyness flattened any good flight shots. For some reason the Agency has the northern reservoir drained down four feet or so for maintenance. Hope it doesn't disturb their nesting although last time I looked their raft was nearly at the shore line.
Back on patch somebody in a horse box had found out the meaning of soft verges. Today god is trying to fill up that reservoir again and topping up the flood on the Carr to boot. Hopefully I'll get a Yellow Wag here or better still one of the birds I've been told I've missed over the last week. Green Sand, Wood Sand, Garganey, Greenshank, Whinchat and another big bird. I know I had an exceptional week last week but I'm greedy and if I'd seen everything that has been present I'd be on 105! Actual count 97 and hoping.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Sedgy & Scratchy

After weeks of waiting and only one of each species present on Friday this morning saw wall to wall Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers. At least six territorries of each up the range bridleway and a similar number along the bumpy road plus three or four Groppers and numerous Willow Warblers.
Notwithstanding all the singing the Whitethroats were obviously straight down to nest building with this bird repeatedly returning to this branch then down onto the ground nearby.
Sedge Warblers perching nicely on occasion although the shrubery in this instance got in the way of the composition.
 Upon which subject...........
the pair of Redstarts just choose to tease me. I'll get them yet!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A lambs tail

In the garden this morning a couple of Pied Wagtails having a face off whilst under the Jackdaws nest in the front pine trees a strange find,
The Jackdaws are notorious for bringing all manor of rubbish to line their nest and one of them has found a lambs tail lying in a field.
Other Dinnington corvids are also in full breeding swing with the Rookery near the Village Hall having at least ten, probably more, active nests.
I snapped this Crow in the distance yesterday being one of many showing leucistic character especially in the wing. This one appears to have only greater coverts that are black.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Hit the bar

I managed to arrange a job visit up the county this afternoon so after work headed to Hauxley to see what was about. The north wind was howling round the Ponteland hide and I could have been in the high arctic given the temperature. The usual Greylags were about, one pair with four young, Shelduck, Tufties, Teal and a Heron to amuse me till a pair of geese dropped in.
One of the long staying Bar headed Geese at Hauxley appears to have taken up with a Greylag and he/she was giving it some stick at one stage despite a slight disadvantage in stature.
Eventually they both started to call as the usual prelude to heading off in flight possibly to create a Barlag Goose.
 Dodgy shot but my first Common Sandpiper of the year fed around the pond
and hot legs turned up for a brief visit.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

My boots are well and truly full

There I was watching a big bird being mobbed by Crows when there was a commotion of Gull and Heron calls to my right and a unmistakable profile hoved into view.
I watched as it flew high in front of me ignoring all the hangers on when it suddenly turned toward me and looked like it was going to land back on the flooded fields.
It did a circuit but as two Herons approached it turned again and flew sedately away off North.
As you can see from the colours of the images I was battling with exposure looking up into a sky that for once had some patches of blue and upon return home was dissappointed with the photographic results but cock a hoop with the experience.