Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Prestwick Carr

A couple of nights ago I had a walk up the bridleway at Prestwick Carr to see if there were any Snipe drumming. There were at the second gate although I only caught sight of one. There was another on the edge of one of the remaining horse field wet areas and three over the crossroads.
The horse fields still hold Greylag, Oystercatchers,Canada geese, Curlew and Lapwing.

The hawthorn bushes provide good perches for warblers

This lower image gives an idea of the number of flies about

and this Chaffinch was quite unconcerned

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Weetslade Dragons

Mid afternoon visit to Weetslade was scorching and produced some nice dragonfly sightings. There were approx. half a dozen Black-tailed Skimmers and a similar number of Four-spotted Chasers

Black-tailed Skimmer, female

Four-spotted Chaser

Friday, 25 May 2012

Great Park ponds

Just after lunch today had an hour tramping around the Great Park ponds expecting it to be alive with Damselfly. There was not one to be seen, but this dragonfly was - a Broad-bodied Chaser.
Not sure how successful this one will be with its badly deformed  right rear wing

and a Small Copper

and Grey Wagtail

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Unusual visitor

With all the doors and windows open it was not totally surprising that an unusual visitor would turn up

but this Coal Tit was not particularly put off and after a few fly arounds it went back out the way it came in

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


At long last the Large Red  and Azure damselfly have emerged. Now it seems like spring.
These were at Big Waters outlet stream today. One of the Rangers said that there had been one or two about last Saturday but these are a first for me.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Gosforth Park NR

Late afternoon visit to Gosforth Park NR in sunshine was very pleasant. At the pond hide the Common Terns were sharing the platform with a Greylag goose and Black-headed gull. Reed Buntings and Sedge Warbler were seen.

The Swans have a brood of nine and there were Little Grebe, Coot and Moorhen.
Walking through the woodland Roe Deer and Fox were spotted, Jay and  Green Woodpecker heard and then both briefly seen.
This Wren was singing its heart out

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


We decided on lunch at The Barn and had some brief stops along the way which gave us the chance to spot, amongst others, this colourful bunch


Little Grebe


Hairy Caterpillar

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Blanchland moors and Stanhope

Leaving the valley heading for the moors we pulled over to the right where an old mining pond remained with Curlew and Mistle Thrush around its perimeter, while Lapwing and Curlew flew over the surrounding fields.
Climbing further up onto the moors more and more Red Grouse appeared.

There certainly appeared to be good numbers  although a greater number of heather burning strips were evident.
We stopped by a small stream where in the past I had been certain that I had seen Rig Ouzel and after a short stroll down the stream I heard a call similar to that of a Blackbird alarm and then it broke cover showing itself to be Ring Ouzel.
We carried on over the top to Stanhope and after more intake of refreshment, wandered down to the river where there were Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Barn Swallow and a few renegades

On the main street some magnificent model steam engines

and the fossil tree has a new sign

On the return journey back over the moors we spotted what I thought was a very light coloured Red Kite but was intrigued when I realised that none of the photos I managed showed a forked tail although I'm convinced I saw one when watching it thro' the bins. 
It had a very light grey head.
and repeatedly dropped onto the same spot before flying off up the valley.

a little later we spotted another two or three Red Kite

Saturday, 12 May 2012


Its just about a year since we last visited Blanchland and so after a tea and a scone with rhubarb jam it was down to the river to see if the Dipper was out and about, and sure enough it was.

On the other side of the village House Martins were gathering up house building materials


and applying them

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Ryton Willows

We were looking for a walk away from the cool breeze so decided on Ryton Willows and specifically the walk upstream. With the tide at its lowest the river looked as though there was a drought.

The old wreck was high and dry (no not me)

There were lots of trees and bushes in flower

Over on the north bank opposite Clara Vale there was a lot of Sand Martin activity .

We spotted a large bow wave in the water from something just below the surface but were unable to see it what it was.

A pair of Bullfinch fed on the seeded flowers. The male was ringed and I'm guessing from nearby Clara Vale ringing session