Wednesday, 30 December 2015


Prestwick Carr like much of the north is flooded and looks like remaining so for the duration. As yet nothing unusual attracted although the fresh water tends to just see larger numbers of the resident birds with rarities requiring older more rank pools. Lapwing numbers are up over 500 with Golden Plover 300+ subject to tides. Many Black headed gulls with only a sprinkling of Common and Herring and despite a decent search no Meds yet. Pied Wagtails abound the edges of the flooded horse fields but few Pipits and only 20 or so Fieldfare and Redwing. The Short eared Owls remain and probably having an easy time of it as Mr Pringle reports many voles attracted to the high ground where he stores his feed for the ducks. As for ducks up to 8 Shelduck with Mallard and Teal in abundance but rarely seen as was a single male Wigeon which called from the flooded reeds yesterday but couldn't be spotted. That leaves the PC list on a measly 104 for 2015.
Wellies needed to get up the Bridle track with care to keep to the centre and if the wind is blowing waders would be better. Three Whooper Swans (2 adults with a juveniles) visited on Monday who steadfastly ignored the attentions of a resident male Mute until it got bored and flew off. One juvenile Mute remains no doubt enjoying it's own territory for a change.
Overhead 36 Pink footed Geese west on Monday lunchtime and on occasion the flocks of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Starlings would join them after being disturbed only to return to the flooded pastures the the unseen threat had passed. Must get a Peregrine through soon!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Blyth Spirits

Arrived at Blyth only to find 9 Waxwing had just flown off over the river but a half hour stand saw five return
Then six
then seven before bad light stopped play and they flew off into the industrial estate.
Happy Christmas

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Nowt about

Just memories of what used to be

Monday, 14 December 2015

Keeping an eye on Blackbirds

An influx of Blackbirds in the garden this morning, seven in all
all keeping a wary eye on me
six of them female / juvenile and just the one male
spoilt for choice

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Up the pier

Took a walk along the pier at Tynemouth on Tuesday. At the base 37 Linnets were sunning and preening in a tree with Rock Pipit, Pied and Grey Wagtail combing the rocks, Turnstone and Redshank roosting on the lower pier level.
Approaching the end the boundary between the muddy flood waters of the Tyne and the cold clear North Sea was very evident with many gulls feeding along the transition. I noticed three fins breach like a flywheel before disappearing into the depths. Hoping they were dolphin I waited,  and waited, and waited. Half an hour later the warm breeze that I left on land was now a searing chill gale even if was a southerly.
Eventually another breaching which from the stubby proportions I am advised is Harbour Porpoise.
Also feeding three Guillemot
and three Red throated Diver this one with a prize. A brief sighting of what I thought was a Great Northern Diver could not be repeated so another on that got away.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Inside Tyne Bridge Tower

Ever wondered what's inside the Tyne Bridge. Answer a mess of steel. A few years ago as part of a project for students at the University of Teesside I got the chance to have a look around. Above is a view looking down toward the doors.
and on the ground the usual pigeon crap. The tower is a stone clad steel framed box although it looks like M C Escher designed the frame as some sort of puzzle picture.
Not good architecture in todays terms as not honest to materials nor structure and the external appearance bears no relation to the internal form but who cares. It has become iconic and makes a good nesting platform for Kittiwakes assuming the madmen next door don't get their way.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Tyne in flood

With more rain expected the Tyne was already bursting its Banks between Hexham and Wylam today. Road from Ovingham to Bywell behind trees on left above flooded and closed with water up to the roadside at Stocksfield
The water level already up to the underside of the cutwaters at Bywell Bridge and raging through the arches
Water up to the walls of St Peters Church Bywell where a manic Cormorant sped down the river backwards and a Dipper made best of searching the flotsam for food
Corbridge where the bridge was closed and the flood barrier looked like it was going to be overtopped with severe consequences for people living between the river and station

Friday, 4 December 2015

Pictures would not be appropriate

An application has been made for bird deterrents on the Tyne bridge North Tower aimed at disturbing the resident breeding Kittiwake  nationally important colony in favour of some tourist twats at the adjacent hotel.
The current  response in opposition to this odious proposal has been excellent however some facts need to be imparted. The application is by I Khaliq of Gainsford Hotels ( Chester le Street) via an agent and not by Newcastle Council who have been served notice as owners. They have however  been consulted to the application and accepted it although the application appears flawed. I would request all my followers to object to the proposal on at tions