Thursday, 30 June 2011

Waters Edge CP 30-6-11

With the weather quite pleasant (as usual it didnt last!) we set off for a walk round the country park to see what was about. Birdwise it was pretty quiet, lots of Skipper butterflies on the wing. We also had a few Ringlet and a single Gatekeeper. A Mute Swan pair with 6 youngsters were noted and a male Coot in frantic nesting mode, mating twice with his mate (nearly drowning her in the process!) and then busying himself gathering all manner of nest material. Swan and Coot had a few run ins! We headed down Pasture Rd, and called at the fishermans cafe for a coffee and a bite to eat then walked past all the fishing lakes and round by the sailing pit, very quiet on the whole. The weather wasnt very kind, lots of drizzle and the wind picked up also, but a pleasant walk all the same

Also a brief note from yesterday, first breeding record of Water Rail for me this season at Far Ings NNR
Cinnebar Moth Caterpillars


Mute Swan Cygnet


Mute v Coot

Small Skippers

Small Skipper

Water Rail juvenile

Willow Warbler

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Far Ings NNR 26-6-11

A very hot day today. We were out for 6am, and en route came across (thanks to the eagle eyes of Rich!) a pair of mating Poplar Hawkmoths on a overhanging branch by the pavement.
We completed our breeding bird survey and enjoyed close views of the male Marsh Harrier, at one point he was so close I thought he was going to join us in the hide!!

We had a picnic up at Chowder Ness joined by Skylark and Corn Bunting. 8 Black Tailed Godwits flew west from the reserve. Elsewhere on the reserve was rather quiet but young Swallow were noted, a few Whitethroat and Blackcap and just one Lesser Whitethroat. A Cuckoo was heard briefly near Target Pit and 2 Turtle Dove were seen together on Ness Pit. A pair of Grey Heron were given their marching orders by a few Avocet. A number of Butterflies were on the wing including Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. Dragonfly- wise we had one Brown Hawker, one Southern Hawker, one Black Tailed Skimmer as well as a few Blue Tailed and Common Blue Damselflies.During the visit I was informed by Andy Sharp that 2 LIttle Gulls had been seen on Pursuit Pit.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Poplar Hawkmoth

I was delighted today that we had caught a Hawkmoth (about time!) in the trap overnight. What a delightful creature and very tolerant to being gently handled and photographed :)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Northumberland/Farne Islands June 19th-21st 2011

We have just returned from a couple of nights stay up in Northumberland. We travelled by train via Doncaster (inbound) and York (outbound). We were so lucky that the rain held off on Monday so that we could enjoy our trip out to the Farne Islands, the rest of the time it rained and rained :( Although the rain/wind had abated, it was still overcast as we spent a few hours on Staple Island and Inner Farne, very difficult to get any good light on the birds for photographs. We did have one or two sunny breaks but they were few and far between. Still, as is always the case up there, it was a magical day, so wonderful to spend time with some gorgeous birds :).
I must  recommend the Bed & Breakfast we stayed in. Julie and Terry, were perfect hosts and the house is beautifully appointed. Terry collected us from Alnmouth station on our arrival and dropped us back off there for our return home. The cooked breakfast was divine and lots of little touches made the stay a very enjoyable and pleasant one. If anyone is planning a trip up to Seahouses I wouldnt hesitate to recommend staying there, the link if anyone wants more info is
Anyway, a few photos from our Farnes visit are below, hope you enjoy them!

Puffins Galore

Always a crowd pleaser! As always happens, I rattled off hundreds of shots of these charismatic birds, most were deleted but here are a few shots. Nice to see the Farne Islands Puffins appear to be doing well at the moment, plenty of sand-eels being brought in.

Northumberland Birds


Lesser Blackback gull with a Guillemot chick :(



Sandwich Tern


Shag chick - what a scruffy little urchin!

A tender moment for a Shag parent/chick
A selection of birds photographed during our short break to Northumberland

Seahouses' Eider Ducks

We enjoyed the company of female Eiders and their chicks, very bold they were too, Rich was hand feeding bits of toast to the babies :) There were a few males around but they didnt come in close and I didnt get any good shots, I deleted the ones I did get!

Guillemots and Razorbills

Always nice to spend time with these!