Friday, 30 October 2009

Fungi finds

A couple of fungi specimen growing at the base of trees at the roadside.
I believe this to be Glistening Ink Cap

and this is in the Mycena group but am unable to specify which one. This one was in this pristine condition for no more than 24 hours, then decay set in.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Blackbirds Galore

Having read Farne Island blog that there has been a large influx of Blackbird, I went into Leazes Park this morning on my way to work.
Blackbirds have been few and far between recently, but as soon as I got into the park I could see things had changed. The park was chock full of Blackbirds, so could not resist a couple of welcoming pics.

As I understand it, this male below is likely to be in its first year, indicated by the brown wing feathers and the bill not yet having turned pure yellow.

There was also good numbers of Robin present. Managed to get a pic of sorts of a Goldcrest

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Shibdon Canada +1

Another grey afternoon saw me at Shibdon Pond, Blaydon.
About thirty Canada Geese flew overhead towards the pond and settled on the water

However it was not long before they made their way onto the green and started to get stuck into the grass

It was then I realised that a single Barnacle Goose was amongst them. Smart bird!

I was surprised how they were not at all bothered by the traffic not far away.
Brightened up the day no end

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Grey day - Golden Plovers

I had overlooked the posting of this event, but a few days ago I was passing the Timber Beach, River Tyne, at Dunston on a very grey day. However upon stopping to have a look, the grey mud was lit up by at least 400 Golden Plover stretched out along the waters edge

Every few minutes another four or six would arrive and tag onto the end of the string. Two or three times they lifted off and were an impressive sight before settling down again only three or four deep but in a very long line. Their calls being very distinct.
The sighting ended with a helicopter flying upriver and scattering the lot.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

What will these be?

Every summer we find these blighters munching their way through the Solomons Seal, Polygonatom biflorum foliage.I have been unable to identify which Moth or Butterfly they will turn into, so any ideas?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Bolam Woods

Another grey day on Thursday saw us driving over Bellasis Bridge heading North toward Bolam lake and woods. At Bellasis the only birds of note were one Mistle Thrush and one Buzzard. Buzzards regularly appeared as we drove on as well as hovering Kestrel. Yellow Hammer were present zipping back and forward from field to hedge
In the woods at Bolam however there were loads of Fungi to be photographed, so here are a selection

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Prestwick Carr Owls

This evening the choice was between following the Toon or owl hunting at Prestwick Carr - made the correct choice for once.
I had been to PC earlier in the week at dusk hoping to catch sight of the Short-eared Owls, and was not disappointed as two of them flew in front of the car as I approached the cross roads. Then I was privileged to watch three of them for about 45minutes before the light went.
Tonight I arrived a bit earlier hoping that they might appear when there was still some decent light and maybe capture a photo. However with the setting sun I had managed to spot only Buzzard, Kestrel and Roe Deer. The light was just about gone when I spotted the first Short-eared in the North East corner of the field heading my way. Then almost immediately a Barn Owl appeared from the South West Corner into the same area and both went off to the left. So I hot footed it after them and when I turned around there were four Short-eared hunting in the field across the road. A quick look back across the road confirmed the Barn owl was still busy in the other field.
Unfortunately the light lasted only another 10 minutes and I lost sight of them.
No usable pics I'm afraid but a great result! for me, if not for the other lot.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Saw an Ibis but also.....

Returned to Druridge Hide mid afternoon after an abortive morning visit when it was busy.
Was met with that dreaded call.. " You've just missed a........"
which had been a Hobby chasing a Dunlin around in front of the hide.
One of the three guys in the hide still had his bins locked onto the bird as it chased the Dunlin out to sea. Then...
"Looks like its given up" was the next update. Followed by "Its on its way back...its just over the reeds.....coming this way...." by which time I had put down the bins, picked up the camera, power on, zoom on and there it was , right in front of us.

Gotcha , and it was off again.
My kind commentator just did not have time to reach for his camera.
The bird came to rest on the point just west of the hide where it sat for about 10-15 minutes.
The Ibis was tucked up in the reeds right at the west side of the pond, but it didn't matter. A couple of Greenshank were at the far side, and there were hundreds of flying geese everywhere.
A lucky, lucky day.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Bees or Wasps?

Following Saturday's blow, Sunday seemed a good day to clear out some of the summer vegetation in the garden. Was working on a patch next to a Laurel bush when I noticed what I first thought to be wasps on the leaves. However they were half as long again as the type of wasp I normally see and was fitted with large antlers.
Quite by chance I came across an identification querie for the same insect on the internet.
It would appear that it is not a wasp but a bee, possibly a Nomada goodeniana. It is evident that the body is covered in hairs, and I presume is part of the link to being a member of the bee family.
If anyone has another view I would be pleased to receive it.
Have added a few of the other visitors to the leaves at the same time

Look at the size of the eyes on this one

This one is a Hoverfly

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Shibdon Pond, Blaydon

Visited Shibdon Pond, this afternoon. I have not seen the water levels quite as low as they are at present. Don't know if its just rain shortage or managed. There seems to be quite a lot of maintenance work going on at the reserve at present.
However there are vast areas of mud, which is drying out.
There were good numbers of Lapwing, Snipe and Redshank together with Golden Plover, Dunlin, Shoveler, Water Rail, Teal, Grey Heron.
A Kingfisher sat for a while on a branch on the island before flying to the back of the reserve.
A single pass by a Sparrowhawk scattered the birds for a short while but it was not long before they resettled