Monday, 27 April 2009

Big Waters

Despite the rain I had a trip to Big Waters hide this afternoon.
A couple of Canada Geese flew over,as I made my way there with Skylark, Chaffinch and Wren.
A lone Common Sandpiper was on the mud to the left of the hide with a few Mallard,

Coot,Waterhen,Stock Dove, Blackheaded Gull were present
and there were reports on the board of both Otter and Mink having been seen recently.

The feeders were supporting- Reed Bunting, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Robin, Great Tit, Tree Sparrow.

The dipping pond had a pair of Mallard and this little fella who walks on water.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


A brief saunter around the back of Shibdon site this morning brought loads of colour as displayed by the images below

Monday, 20 April 2009

Swallows and Butterflies

We had a stroll around my childhood countryside this morning.
It was called Andrews Houses, two rows of houses which no longer exist, but roughly in the area of Tanfield Railway Sheds and Station.
The sight of Swallows on the wires and butterflies and no cool breeze made it just like a Summer day.

Peacock Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell

Large(I think) White

Also spotted a Comma and Orange Tip.
Whilst in the Burdon Moor area we saw, Curlew, Wheatear, Pipit, Plover, Skylark, Reed Bunting.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Head for the sun

Had enough of these grey days with that easterly breeze so decided to head west this morning, until we reached some sunshine. Approached Haydon Bridge, with the sky looked brighter to the south west, so it was off onto the A686 and first stop Langley Garden Station for coffee and scones. Had it in the back of my mind from a memory about fifty years ago that Plankey Mill would have some Dippers, - bad call since access was not allowed when we got there.
However we did see this guy doing it properly -

The idea then was to drive to Allendale, Allenheads, Blanchland, Derwent Reservoir, home.
Here are a few of the highlights.
First we watched two pair of Common Buzzard soaring and then much higher were a group of a further 12 Buzzard like shapes slowly drifting Northward, but too high to get an ident.

On the higher ground we managed some nice sightings of Wheatear

and I hope someone might confirm this as a Grasshopper Warbler, or not?

There were quite a number of Red Grouse

More refreshement at Blanchland and a walk by the river offered Dipper(I new the sun would lead us), Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren

A really enjoyable day taking in
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Canada Goose
and others - must start noting them as I see them

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Tawny mining bees

About a dozen of these Tawny mining bees - Andrena Fulva have taken up residence in our front garden

They each makes a characteristic cone shaped mound of soil. The cones are created with the soil excavated by the bees as they dig out nest cells underground. Once in their nest they stay quite still just below the opening until you get near and they shoot back down to the bottom of the nest, out of sight

Their colours are really strong

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Easter Weekend

Saturday saw us heading up to Otterburn with a couple of Common Buzzards on the way there. First thing was to refuel at Otterburn Mills and then head for the road alongside Harwood Forest. Once onto the high ground there were plenty of Curlew, Pipit, Skylark, Kestrel, Buzzard. We went into Harwood village and saw what could only be described as a blizzard of Chaffinch around the feeders in the gardens -never seen as many.

Had a look at Rothley Lake where there were Canada Geese and Little Grebe. A walk along part of Fontburn produced Willow Warbler and Curlew and this delicate fungi.

Sunday's visit to a family party took us through Rowlands Gill and I could not resist capturing a pic of one of a group of four Red Kite over the village.

Monday saw us up at Hauxley, where we were again well looked after by family. There was a Bar Headed Goose goose in the fields west of the pond with the Greylag flock. So presumably this is an escapee.

On the water were Red Breasted Merganser, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Curlew, Redshank, Goosander, Greylag.

Also a pheasant came under attack by Lapwing although it did appear to be ready to stand its ground at least for a while anyway

Friday, 10 April 2009

St. Mary's and Cambois

With a wet forecast we were pleasantly surprised with this mornings weather, so we decided to get some fresh air at St.Mary's.
On the way there were two Shelduck on the flash next to the B1325 from Earsdon to Hartley and a further two in an adjacent field.
Parked up next to the wetland and the Greylag poked its head up as we passed.

Some nice Turnstone on the beach with Redshank and Oystercatcher present.

Walking back to the car along the front, managed to get a pic of this bird which I am unable to identify, so any advice will be appreciated.

Just turned noon so the next stop has to be 'Castaways' at Seaton Sluice for home made soup and sticky toffee pud - its a brilliant place to recharge.
Driving thro' Cambois and North Blyth and almost to the Alcan Silos there were male and female Wheatear on the railway line.

Wandered along the beach and alongside the Wansbeck estuary where there were pipits and 4 Sand Martins. a brief walk alongside the river showed Bullfinch,

Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Wren with Redshank, Turnstone, Mute Swan on the water

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Havannah evening

Caught the last of the sunlight at Havannah this evening.
Quite a lot of Linnet in the fields together with Yellowhammer. The Yellowhammer really glow in the light of the setting sun
Plover were wheeling about over the ploughed fields.
Disturbed a pair of Roe Deer when I walked through a gap in the hedge, and it was good to see how easy they jump the fence.

Just after the deer went one way, a fox broke cover and went the other

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Town Moor & home

Had a brief walk onto the Town Moor where the Skylark numbers are growing together with Meadow Pipits (I think I've got that correct)
Highlight on the moor was a Jack Snipe which zig zagged away out of sight - not even time to switch camera on.

Skylark having a dust bath-

Not certain what this is-

...and this secretive Dunnock in the garden at home-

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Havannah-evening sunshine

I seem to be getting a bit hooked on Havannah. I just feel that the wide variation of habitat will provide the chance of turning up some surprises during the year.
But first off, I could do with some help in identifying the birds in the first two images below,in what was a flock of about 25 birds flying over, so my images are a bit limiting.

There were many birds out in the last hour of sunshine atop the scrubby bushes.
Bullfinch, Yellowhammer numbers are growing, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Lapwing, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk (just failed to down a Woodpigeon), Mistle thrush(and by the way the two Mistle thrushes which left our garden after a Sparrowhawk attack last week put in a re-appearance yesterday), Reed Bunting, Grey Heron.