Monday, 31 August 2015


Lots of young birds out in the sun yesterday also more prone to giving a photo opportunity as they need a good look before deciding you're a threat. Young Willow Warbler a bit out of typical habitat.
Spotted Flycatcher obviously astounded by my spots
No 102 for the PC 2015 list and added to the 'from the platform' list
Blackcap in my garden this morning. Possibly like me woken by a Little Owl calling from a telegraph post at 5.30am
and Mum Pheasant who had been feeding under the platform with her eight young made sure they dispersed so only got one in shot.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


Painted Ladies hit the patch today with four up the Bridle track this afternoon.
Many other butterflies as well with 13 Peacock, 10 Red Admiral, six Wall, a couple of Small Tortoiseshell and a Speckled Wood along with various whites all notable by their clean fresh condition.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Keeping lunch down

The colour ringed Lesser black-back gulls found by DE remain at Hauxley no doubt attracted by a number of fish lying dead on the rapidly expanding mud bank.
Having pinched it off a Crow the adult spent half an hour pecking and hammering away at this dab with little reward.
So it's down in one with a bit of a struggle
Then junior turns up and starts pecking at the adults beak prompting a reluctant regurgitation after which the adult picked up this bit of seaweed and tried to convince the youngster that this was a far better offering. Junior was not even slightly convinced.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Knot grey at all

Still retaining some breeding plumage these Knot at Hauxley last night could be a totally different bird to the plain grey specimen they will moult into for winter.
Excellent evening at Hauxley with these 3 Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 10+ Redshank, 20+ Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, only 1 Oystercatcher and 50+ Curlew with Little Egret, Kingfisher and Sparrowhawk also making for interesting viewing.
I call this Knots landing
The Curlew Sand was also showing the remnants of red breeding plumage. No Wood Sand shots as it wandered out from the reeds about an hour after I arrived and just as I focused on it, off it went flying west and away.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

On the path

The road of work took me south to that land where red replaces black on the background of white. I had an hour to spare on the journey so stopped off at Whitburn with the hope of a hoard of twitchers indicating a rare migrant being present. A walk along the coast path to the observatory found little but people so I headed in to the country park behind the hide and there on the gravel path in front of me an unmistakable silhouette. Wryneck, my bogey bird till recently and self found at that. Shame it wasn't en patch. A picture was snatched before it headed into the undergrowth returning to the path further down before I had to bid it farewell.
At Brenkley this morning more off patch waders with 5 Ruff and 3 Dunlin adding to 2 Little Ringed Plover and a Tree Pipit GB told me had been there earlier. Now what excuse can I use to extend Prestwick Carr 1km east? Flooding would be the solution but if that were the case Newcastle would be Waterworld (Happy 20th Anniversary Kevin)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Thursday, 13 August 2015

I may have to expand my patch

Crappy record shot of Wood Sandpiper at Brenkley tonight but this apparently casual pool of water, whether created deliberately or accidentally by Banks is proving a magnet for passage waders. Prestwick Carr is great when it is wet but in normal conditions it lacks a shallow pool that remains during the summer months. Those blasted Dutchies did such a good job of draining the place!
Just west of the hamlet of Brenkley in recent days it has also attracted Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Ruff, Dunlin. Yellow Wagtail along with good numbers of Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, and flocks of 30+ Linnet many hirundines and Greylag Geese. 
Just over the hill from Banks Pond I could almost claim it as patch but hope it remains for a bit of summer (or is it Autumn ?) action.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Ruddy ID

Male Ruddy Darter at Banks on Saturday. Tick off those features that distinguish it from a male Common Darter.
Deep red abdomen with a clubbed base not orangy and parallel as Common
Yellow patch at base of hindwing
All black legs not black with yellow stripes.
Plain thorax not yellow streaked
and if you want to count the cells below the radial supplemental vein (Rspl) on the wing there should be four or five

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Bold, Bright, Colours

BBC can stand for many things but Butterflies are best

Thursday, 6 August 2015


One of the Whittle Dene Common Terns escorts a Buzzard over the reservoir when I visited yesterday.
The bird sightings book in the hide has become a visitors book from people walking the wall with some more happy than others. Check out 27th July

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What the Caspian Gull saw

Nice place for a summer holiday.............chance would be a fine thing

Sunday, 2 August 2015


The year seems to be turning fast. I'm sure it's a month earlier than when I was young. Singing warblers are now unseen churring, tacking calls in the hedgerows, Swift numbers are reducing by the day and even the hirundines seem to be feeding with extra haste. I fear it will only seem like tomorrow that tseeping and chucking Scandinavian thrushes will arrive.
In mothing the Heart and Dart hoards have been replaced by numerous Common Rustic agg. It gets dark earlier but the weather has turned wet so little opportunity for good mothing nights.
I feel sorry for the kids. When I was young summers were generally sunny but now it seems it just rains all through the holidays. They've only just broken up and the media is full of 'back to school' ads. 
Worse still the bloody footballs back. Now I quite like a good game but the arrogant money grabbing twerps that pervade the modern game just makes me turn off.
No doubt the autumn magazines are already on the news racks and we'll shortly be getting reminders about the proximity of Christmas.
The world is just out if kilter or is it me?