Friday, 27 April 2012

PC Godwits

Following PCF blog post on the arrival of Black-tailed Godwits I took my first opportunity this evening to have a look and was not disappointed. With the ditches now overflowing into the fields.
There were 66 Godwits presents in their glorious summer finery. Even though the light was poor their colours shone.

Prestwick Carr

Yesterday afternoon was dull, cold and breezy at Prestwick Carr. A small flock of Golden Plover were showing off their summer  'toon tops'

I spotted a  very distant Godwit as reported earlier by PCF , but even with the scope on it, I was not  entirely sure which one, although Bar-tailed is my favourite selection. At first it was among seven Curlew, but after all took  flight it returned with a single Curlew settling near a pair of Oystercatchers.
Several Pied Wagtail darted here and there.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Seaton Burn Otters

A wander alongside a short stretch of the Seaton Burn, a few days ago, presented a surprise sighting of two otters feeding in one of the open area ponds. I was able to watch them for around twenty minutes before I backed off and left  them to it. I wasn't aware that they frequented this particular spot so it was a very enjoyable experience

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Whittle Dene Wagtails

Quite briefly - there were none. Last year at this time produced Yellow and Pied but this afternoon not one of any kind. Only the 'Tern on the buoy', a pair of Great Crested Grebes and a Buzzard over. The lack of birds was offset by the dense clouds of midges.
However the bankside on the way to the hide was colourful as was this fly on the hide step

Monday, 23 April 2012


A short wander around the west end of Weetslade started with a Sparrowhawk gliding in circles then suddenly downward like a rocket and out of sight. A Grey Heron stood to attention in the corn field. Barn Swallow numbers are building.

and a few Small Tortoiseshell butterfly flew in the field margins.
A buzzard flew over and came to rest on top of nearby tree. Mute Swan and Canada Goose were seen as well as a pair of Little Grebe. 

Water levels in this whole area are well up on normal.
Three Lapwing were present near one of the man made ponds.

Pipits and Skylark were in abundance around the hill slopes

and a Mistle Thrush stood high and handsome

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Robin and the Sparrow

Yesterday I flogged a few ponds hoping for an early Large Red Damselfly to no avail. However whilst at Big Waters dipping pond I was entertained watching the Tree Sparrows and Robins which were very active.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Birds and Butterfly

On the same trip as seeing the Crossbills at Harwood, we had a wander alongside the river at Rothbury where we heard many Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers

 and caught a glimpse of our first Orange Tip butterfly for this year

just above Elsdon,  Wheatear were feeding

Monday, 16 April 2012


After leaving Rothbury earlier today we drove to Winters Gibbet on the corner of Harwood Forest. I'm unsure whether or not these birds are present all year round.
There were four or five in this location

Male Crossbill

 Female Crossbill


Across the road from the Crossbills stands a replica of the gibbet where William Winter was hung in 1791 for the murder of Margaret Crozier at nearby Elsdon

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Wallington wildlife

After a visit to Kirkharle  today we thought Wallington might offer a bit shelter from today's sharp wind. We quickly made our way down to the walled garden and were not disappointed. First up was a cracking Grey Wagtail near the pond at the head of the garden.

a  Goldcrest   was busily collecting mosses from the garden wall  - too busy for me to catch a photo but a  Songthrush sat quietly on the wall watching the visitors go by

Down near the lower end of the garden were a pair of Treecreeper. This one seemed to be taking a rest.

As we wandered back up the path a Wren was giving the high notes some stick

and as we sat on the seat this little fella was darting about  too quick for me

On our last visit I thought that there were few Nuthatch about. Fear not they are there in force.
Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds and Chaffinches also present in abundance

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Weetslade - Friday evening

Another wander around Weetslade produced quite a mixed bag of sightings. I was particularly pleased with my first Barn Swallow sightings of the year. Three of them flying over the reed bed.

On the pond were two pairs of Gadwall

Walking around the reed bed perimeter produced Snipe, Reed Bunting, Coot, Mute Swan, Canada Geese,  with a flock of ten flying over.
In the adjacent bushes there were Chiffchaff and Long-tailed Tit.
Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard were all hunting.
Three pairs of Lapwing were dotted around the area as well as a pair of Redshank feeding in one of the ponds. There were many Skylark and pipits on the wing and a Grey Heron in a small ponded area.
Came across a small patch of what I first thought were Bluebells but the flower looks a bit different  so I'm not so sure and will do a bit of research

and a bit research into this one also

I have visited Weetslade a few times recently on the hunt for Short-eared Owls, and although I have drawn a blank I bumped into a local who saw one on the north side of the hill, a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


The local male Sparrowhawk  arrived on the garden fence at around 7.45pm last night and sat there until 8.40pm. It took an interest in a pair of Woodmouse picking up leftovers below the bird feeders, but no action.
We were able to  watch it since we have a street light in the lane running along the side the back garden.
I have to confess to being a point and press photographer so I was quite pleased with my effort to get any image after 8.30pm.
I used a 1.5sec shutter which demonstrates just how still the bird was.