Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Three R's

I've heard it said that the three R's are an important part of life.
Monday lunchtime we had a wander through part of Gosforth Park NR.
The sun shining through the trees which were yet to unfurl their leaves, making it a very pleasant, sheltered, and warm experience as we approached the Northern perimeter of the reserve.
Suddenly just to reinforce the belief, there they were, the three of them, all within a stones throw of each other-
Red Squirrel bounding along a fallen tree trunk

Roe Deer keeping an eye on us from a wooded glade.

Race Horses starting the 2.10 5f handicap.

The one mile straight of the course runs alongside the northern boundary of the reserve.
Checked the result the next morning and it was won by King of Eden, which I thought appropriate.
Also watched a tReecreeper but that didn't seem to fit to well.
An exceptional entertaining encounter .. mmm there's a thought, or maybe I've gone far enough with this line.

Warbling wonders

I've not had much success at capturing a half decent photo of any of the warblers which frequent our hedgerows.
So yesterday I set out to try to rectify that situation.
The plan being, once I had located the target, get as close to the bush as I could and just stand until the bird worked its way into a position where I could press the button.

It would appear that if the bird is on a Birch, they often work their way out along the branch inspecting each cluster of leaves until they reach the end - then that was my chance - they would then skip back into the centre and do it all over again.
At least that how it appeared to me and I ended up with a few shots of which these are a sample.

On three occasions I was close to a Grasshopper Warbler, as a result of their call, but totally failed to obtain a sighting.
Since I have currently lost sound on my pc I am glossing over identifying the above pics

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Dusk sightings

Prestwick Carr, late on Friday evening was full of sounds.
As the last of the light was in the sky a flock of around thirty Golden Plover wheeled above what was a few days ago lake like, but now, totally devoid of standing water.
I watched, as they circled, dropped down but then rose up again, time and time again, without having reached a consensus on their roosting spot.

As they circled around toward me one more time, my first thought was that one of them was making a break for it, but then realised it was a much smaller body, much closer then I had thought. It was my first Bat sighting of the year.
It made its way across the bridle path toward the woods. My lack of knowledge of these creatures meant I am unable to confirm its identity. Must try to put that right.
Back at the cross roads, one more look south to see if there was any hunting bird activity. Nothing on the wing, but I could make out was a light grey shape on the most southerly fence line.
So on my way out of the area I stopped at the most southerly viewpoint and sure enough there was a ghostly Barn Owl sitting on a fencepost.

I watched for about five minutes but it seemed to have no inclination to fly so I left it to the night

Fungi Autumn Colours?

Last year I realised that the Havannah NR was a little bit special for its wide variety of fungi which it produces. Why this should be I'm unsure since it is a wooded reclaimed mining site, so is not an ancient woodland.
However there is a lot of rotting fallen tree debris covering industrial landfill, and it makes it look right for fungi. A good range of trees provides varying ground conditions and the ground seems well drained in the centre of the wood and very wet around the perimeter.
Maybe I've answered my own question.
So last night, whilst not expecting much I was pleasantly surprised to see some quite colourful specimen dotted around the woodland ground litter.
Strangely they all exibited colours you would normally expect in autumn.

A member of the Polyporus group with pores on the underside instead of gills. The cap is about 8cms diameter.

Bracket fungi again with pore underside

Bracket fungi Trametes Versicolor

I'm unable to identify the cap and stem with gills underside. The cap is 5cm diameter.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


We recently watched Lapwings, up on the moors where they have now all appeared to have paired off and claimed their territories. Those on the highest ground were staking out the patches of sheep trimmed grass amongst the heather.
In the fields, lower down, they have taken up locations about a couple of hundred yards apart.

With its all black chin and breast, and the extra long crest feathers, this male showed well looking for adult and larval invertebrates and worms.

The male standing lookout as the female sits on the eggs.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


The stream running through Blanchland area, where this one was spotted, provides perfect conditions for the Dipper.
Fast flowing, clean water, boulder strewn is just as they like it. The Dipper's prey consisting mainly of invertebrates such as the nymphs or larvae of mayflies, blackflies, stoneflies and caddisflies.

and never far away in these surroundings, the Pied Wagtail

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Mining Bees

Each year we get a visit of mining bees, into a small patch of the garden,
This year there are at least two types, which don't seem to get on too well with each other
There is the Tawny Mining Bee, Andrena Fulva

and what looks like Andrena Bimaculata, but I'm not confident.
Colletes Conicularis could be there

This is a typical nest where the Tawny Mining bee will lay its eggs and where the young bee will stay until it emerges next year. I understand that once the bees establish a suitable area they will return each year

I'm beat as to what this large one is

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Plan Worked

We had never had any success with attracting Goldfinch to the garden feeders but recently we have had them on the telephone wires just outside the front door.
So we obtained some Nyger seed and appropriate feeder and after a couple of blank days in the back garden I transferred it to the front.
Two days ago we had a Greenfinch investigating the feeder but today bingo!
a couple of Goldfinch visited on an hourly basis.
So managed a few pics through the window.

Next step is to try to tempt them into the back garden where I stand a bit of a chance of obtaining photos without using the windows

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


My last post was related to the search for a new abode and this one features Feral Pigeons losing their long time resting place.
The Sanderson Hospital building, Salters Road, Gosforth has been subject to demolition over the last month. The Pigeons have used the highest roof point for as long as I know, but this morning that was the only part of the building left standing.
Then it was The Return of the Machines.

It appeared a family protest was organised

But as usual, just a few brave souls remained

This group flew from inside

A crow does its protest on the jaws of the machine

One last look back at what was once home

Actually it was all a bit sad to see pairs of birds still circling the remains a couple of hours later.
But I can now see what the weather is like at the coast.

P.S. Five hours later.
They have established a place for the night on the opposite side of Salters Road

Monday, 12 April 2010


I watched a Coal Tit giving this stone wall a good inspection presumably inspecting suitable nest sites.
Its mate watching critically from the hedge above.

Can't be sure if they put in any offers.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Urban Deer

The fields adjacent to and immediately south of Gosforth Park NR are the nearest open farmland to the city centre.Its just 2 mile to Northumberland Street. So I find it surprising that Roe Deer frequent it in significant numbers so often.
This one was inside Gosforth Park NR

and these are in the fields referred to above

Saturday, 10 April 2010

No doubt - its Sprung

Caught sight of this Peacock earlier today at Kirkharle, and a couple more later in the garden

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Blanchland moors

We had a ride to Blanchland for lunch today and never being without a camera I managed to grab a few pics from the car which capture the general scene there at the moment.
Red Grouse were abundant with many appearing at the roadside. The heather looked no more appetising than all-bran without milk, but they were getting stuck in anyway

There were many pairs of Lapwing dotted around the grassed areas between the heather

Just west of Edmundbyers there were a few Greylag feeding alongside the sheep whilst a couple of Buzzard hung motionless on the hill updraft