Sunday, 30 June 2013

Christo working at Hauxley?

Visiting the Ponteland hide at Hauxley over the last two weekends it is obvious something is going on in the dunes.
Is it the artist Christo and Jeanne-Claude famous for wrapping the Riechstag and Pont Neuf Bridge along with numerous other installations across the world.
Or does someone just like big sandcastles? No it's archaeologists looking for a pre-historic cemetery. Here's the explanation.
Nice to see the Wildlife Trust promoting a bit of diversity and also a nod of respect to Mick Aston of Time Team who passed away this week. I thought Channel Four had shot themselves in the foot by cancelling the series but now it seems appropriate that a line has been drawn in the sand.

Friday, 28 June 2013


Meant something when I was a youth but in this case it's a young Tree Sparrow having taken food from the feeder finding a quiet place on the roof to snack....
....and suffer the delights of an English summer! Well I suppose Wimbledon is on and they need to keep the grass watered.
The letters could also stand for young Tawny snoozing. Taken earlier in the month when we had some sun resulting in a fuzzy backlit image! With the parent it spent a week mooching around the place but was always difficult to photograph as without sunlight they were barely visible. Now they appear to have moved on but a nice visible Garden Warbler in the same area in the last few days. Again dullness ruined the images.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


What a week so far. No time to do anything so the weekends photo's remain largely unexamined. There were a good few of these young Black headed Gulls about. It looks almost like a separate species.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Signs of an upturn in the construction industry

but will there be a sting in the tail?

Friday, 21 June 2013


A trip to the woods found this stump that had been well covered with Hoof Fungus a species endemic to the Birch which makes up a good proportion of the wood at the centre of the Carr.
A clump of Oysters
and a ring of I don't know what but on appearance alone I would guess Parasol would be a start.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

All change

My correspondent in Howdon tells me the aforeblogged Beetle is a Cardinal Beetle. I checked my book and the illustration shows a black head but further research reveals there is a red headed variety Pyrochroa serraticornis.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Now that's Red

With bird action at a low I have been scouring the hedgerows to increase my patch species list. I've seen one of these before but never had the wit to find out what it is. Nice and easy I thought being bright red but my Beetle guide came up blank. I Googled Red Beetle but the links  were obsessed with the Red Lily Beetle as it is a pest so Wikipedia it was who identified Common Red Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva for the Latinistas). So back to the guide and there it is page 166 with a dull brown illustration.
I waited to see if I could get a shot as it opened it's wings but no hope although did catch some falling pollen.
Just a hint to those interested in nature like myself but only just expanding one's knowledge. Don't be an arse and buy the biggest book with all the species in to start with as you'll just be wading through loads of things you will never see. I did this by purchasing the Europe Dragonfly ID rather than the British and after a while had to spend an hour crossing out all the species I was unlikely to see to reduce searching time. Or am I just lazy? Viva le internet!

Monday, 17 June 2013


Hauxley on Saturday and two young Lapwings fed in front of the Ponteland hide whilst the adult saw off allcomers, particularly two Redshank to whom she had a particular dislike. Nice to see young almost ready for independence even if their tails were a bit short.
 The diligence of the parent probably a major factor in their survival.
Also passing through two young Moorhen with their parents who still appeared to love them despite their appearance.
Hopefully it wasn't one of them taken for lunch by the local Sparrowhawk!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

A warning to the wildlife of Prestwick Carr

My new stop gap lens (till I win the bleeding lottery!) has a handy macro feature so you just don't know where I'll be sticking it. Oh I'm going to be so...... macro.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Short life

As I went out to check the feeders this morning the Blue Tit pair that have been feeding young in the box on the side of my kitchen wall gave me an unusual amount of grief. As I approached the sunflower heart feeder a Jackdaw flushed from the forest that is my garden and I immediately saw the cause for the Blue Tits aggression. A freshly fledged chick just twenty feet from the box lay contorted on the ground, no doubt killed by the Jackdaw. One of the very same that are feeding their own young in the front garden trees and that have given me a 4.40 alarm call every day for the last two weeks and I have protected from cats, neighbours, jobbing gardeners, Rooks and more recently a Lesser Black back Gull. Depressing start to a depressing day although the Blue Tits appear to have more young in the box and around the garden so not all doom.

This Great Tit pair have used this road sign for the last five years. Perhaps councils should install all such signs at a jaunty angle and leave the closure caps off to promote wildlife.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Isn't it just typical

You get a new piece of kit you want to try out and the light levels are like mid winter in Scandinavia and there's not a thing moving nor showing its behind.
Consequently you will have to put up with some reflections on the weekend past.
At least it was sunny

Monday, 10 June 2013


The current spell of warm weather has brought all the hedgerows into bloom with the Hawthorn being particularly abundant on my patch.
 Less so this Laburnum on the range bridleway which is the only one I know of.
Plenty of Buttercips though both in field and hedgerow
and Common Comfrey in its three colour variations. I prefer the darkest.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Nothing but blue sky

and the occasional poser
Thanks for the Beetle ID Gordon. Seems somewhat appropriate bearing in mind your roots!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Give me a leg up will ya

Being a bit quiet on the birding front the camera is turned on other subjects whilst waiting for that mega to stray through the patch. The warmer weather has promoted a large hatch of Crane flies up the bridle track.........
and the first Damselfly I've seen. Female Bluet I think
Have checked my Beetle ID for this monster but there must be a dozen similar so I'll have to study in greater detail. Camera still playing up especially when I point it down.

Monday, 3 June 2013

May I take your coat?

I took this image in poor light the other evening and whilst trying to clean it up noticed the Deer still had most of its winter coat. I'm no Deer expert so I consulted one who is.....a stalker who confirmed that most of the Deer he had shot recently were only just starting to lose their winter wooly just like this one. He was also careful to point out that he wouldn't shoot this one as it was a Doe and looked like it was still carrying. This bambi is safe for the moment then.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Found and lost

Report of a Red backed Shrike at Cambois destroyed what little work ethic I had and off I set having delivered tea to the folks. I pitched up to find the road into the village blocked by Police and Firemen so parked on the edge and wandered up the disused railway line being the site of previous twitches for Marsh Warbler (success) and Golden Oriel (dipped). Half way along and still no sight of the bird I spotted Tim and Maurice with A N Other who obviously had the bird in their sights so I back tracked to avoid flushing what they were viewing and joined them to get distant views of the bird as it repeatedly perched and dropped to feed. Spent a good half hour hoping it would move nearer in which time I found that Mr Other was actually a Lost Geordie. Small world this blogging lark. Hopefully he got some good digiscoped pics. These shots were the best I got just after the bird had taken a lizard into the bush moving around the base to find a good spike to impale it on and rip it apart. Nice.....