Saturday, 30 April 2011

Rising Sun Country Park

A recent wander around Rising Sun Country Park on the lookout for Damselfly there was plenty of distractions along the way. Birds were giving it full throttle from the rooftops, with Willow Warbler and Wren making the most of the sunshine

There were dozens of Orange Tip Butterfy alighting on the Lady's Smock which is their caterpillar's food source. I didnt realise until I zoomed into the pic below that this pair were about to do what comes naturally and the perched female is actually offering up herself to the approaching male, by bending her abdomen skyward 

There were good numbers of Speckled Wood in the sunlit areas

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Damselfly hunt continued

I'm in the process of trying to establish when Damselfly emerge in different locations.
I have seen some of the first arrivals at Havannah and Big Waters so today, around lunchtime and early afternoon, I visited -
Rising Sun ponds at North end - none seen
Gosforth Park NR - none seen
Pond near Gosforth Park Aquatics  - none seen
Big Waters outlet stream - many as follows

Common Blue - immature male

Common Blue - immature female

Azure Damselfly - female blue form

Large Red - male
difficult to estimate but there must have been more than 50,  although I have yet to spot a female
Then 'lo and behold' have just realised I got this Large Red female without realising

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Damsels galore

At last the Damselfly are emerging.
After lunch today we had a stroll along North side of Big Waters outlet stream, and the streamside vegetation held lots of Large Red and the first (for me) blue damselfly.
This is a maturing male Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puella

and a pair of Large Red males

The wings are not quite fully open yet

Friday, 22 April 2011

Whittle Dene

After drawing a blank on my first Yellow Wagtail hunt last week we decided to have another go 22 April 11
Went straight to the dam wall but not a wagtail of any sort to be seen. Wandered down the road past the other reservoirs and the only birds of note was this Song Thrush

and a distant Tern, perched on one of the buoys

So back to the dam wall before leaving, and we were in luck

and was a little surprised to see this orchid flowering so early

Thursday, 21 April 2011


I have been visiting a lot of the local ponds, over the past couple of weeks, hoping to catch an early Damselfly sighting without success, but thanks to Tim's tip  we wandered around Havannah NR and sure enough a first for me for this year. It was spotted a couple of hundred yards from the nearest open water.

Large Red, Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Paid a visit to Gosforth Park NR today to see if there were any Damselfly appearing but drew a blank.
However it was nice to see this Nuthatch on the walk back.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The latest poser

A pair of Jackdaw are quickly becoming residents in the back garden, one of them has taken a fancy to the fat balls while the other plods around underneath picking up the scraps dropping from above.
This one is posing on top of the washing line post.

Garden visitor

A pair of Blackbird set up with a nest only a foot above our bins, so to avoid disturbance we have moved the bins to another location. There appears to be three pair  visit the feeding station in the back garden.
One of which appears below.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Persistence Pays

Another visit to Prestwick Carr has at long last produced for me a sighting of a Tawny Owl. It sounds like I am about the last one to connect with this one, but its now done. At least I now know that I had been looking in the correct spot on my many previous attempts.

Further up the bridle way  there were about twenty Fieldfare in the field and a cracking Yellowhammer lit up by the sunset. Three or four Willow Warbler occasionally called from the hedgerow but the cold breeze seemed to take the edge off their enthusiasm.
On the walk back down the bridle way, the large flock of Golden Plover were moving across the horsey fields.

They are all dressed up in their summer outfits

In all I saw three Wheatear in the field North of the second gate and a further two in the horsey field

Then just as I was getting into the car these Curlew came over and settled in the adjacent field

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Prestwick Carr

Following Peter's posting regarding the Tawny Owl at Prestwick Carr I set off  determined to get a sighting and hopefully a pic. So armed with scope, tripod, camera, bins, and a copy of Peter's photo I headed for the bridle path. I quickly identified the roost branches in the photo and could even see the droppings on the branch below but result as normal - zero.
Last year it totally evaded me and I'm still not convinced that Peter and Bill don't have one of the plastic owl thingies.
Visited the spot three times over the next couple of hours with the same result.
However I was pleased to watch Buzzard, Roe Deer, Golden Plover, Mistle Thrush, Curlew, Long-tailed Tit and the return of Willow Warblers and Wheatear

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Druridge Pools

Little Grebe was very successful at finding fish just in front of the hide with little else of note in view

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterfly were numerous along the walk to the hide. If this weather keeps going ther could be dragonfly in four weeks time, but no doubt there will be a sting before that.

Shovelers were still present in the flooded fields along with Teal and Wigeon

Friday, 8 April 2011

Cresswell Avocet

With this sort of weather the coast had to be worth a visit, so we headed up to Creswell. On the way north we could see eight Avocet on the west bank of Cresswell pond.
A little later two had made their way to the North end of the pond.

Cracking birds on a cracking day.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tawny Mining Bee

It was on the 16 April in 2009 and 17 April in 2010 that the Tawny Mining bees appeared in a specific two metre square in the front garden. This year they have appeared early -5 April2011.
Tawny Mining Bee, Adrena Fulva

 This is typical of their nests which they mine

and as on previous visits these creatures,  pictured below, which I believe to be Andrena Bimaculata outnumber the Mining bee by ten to one and are particularly aggresive towards them

  and even more strange these hang around the perimeter of the activity as they have done on previous years

Its all very puzzling.

Friday, 1 April 2011

St Mary's North Bay

A brief visit to St Mary's Island this morning. On the North Bay beach, only a Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Sanderling. There had been three but two departed.
Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Curlew were taking shelter, from the ever increasing wind, in the rock gulleys with a few Eider offshore, in the bay.