Monday, 8 September 2014


If you are interested, there is a particularly showy Wryneck at Hadston at the minute. Found yesterday by Dave Elliott, it is in the small rubbish tip on the south edge of the boat compound. This is situated near the T junction from the minor road east, just south of Amble.

Its well worth a visit...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Fenham Flats again

The year moves on and WeBS for September was today, the sky was clear and there was a warmth to the air. As happened last month the first birds picked out were a small group of 3 Little Egrets and as I moved out to the point more birds made their presence known, including a single Greenshank as it "chew,chew,chew'd" overhead. More unusual for the site was a single Green Sandpiper in the dunes, when I reached the point I was greeted with the sight of a huge flock of 770 Oystercatchers on the sand, on the island just offshore were gathered a mixed flock of 354 Bar-tailed Godwits and 222 Redshank along with smaller numbers of Knot,Eiders and yet more Oystercatchers. A noisy interlude was provided by 21 Arctic Terns and a small group of 5 Little Terns. As I headed back I could hear an unmistakable sound which heralds the  autumn as a flock of 340 Pale-bellied Brent Geese landed on the flats, this autumnal feel was reinforced by the sight of 940 Wigeon on the water near Elwick hide, what other time of year could you get Arctic Terns and Brent Geese on the same walk.   

Monday, 1 September 2014

An evening stroll

The Dodds clan went for a stroll around Branton Ponds on Monday evening.  There was a beautiful sunset which accompanied one or two birds of interest.  These include a little egret that flew upstream, a kingfisher, two green sandpipers flew high overhead and a late sedge warbler calling from the reed bed at the western end of the West Pool.  Reasonable numbers of both willow warbler and chiffchaff were calling from the scrub along with several goldcrests.

There was a reasonable selection of waterfowl including several wigeon, great crested and little grebes. Ian and Keith were also in view for a short period.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Fenham Flats

Today was my monthly trip to Fenham Flats to do a WeBS count. The day started well with a flock of 7 Little Egrets just east of Elwick hide, the weather seemed to be holding as I headed in the direction of Guile Point, by the time I got there the sun was out and I spent well over an hour counting birds, the highlight being 17 Little Terns secreted amongst the larger group of 43 Arctic Terns and 3 Common Terns. Numbers of waders really have increased since my visit last month and included 172 Bar-tailed Godwits, 30 Ringed Plover, 96 Curlew and smaller numbers of Grey Plover, Sanderling, Knot and Redshank. No sign of any early Geese but a Peregrine was seen hunting over the dunes.  

Wader Sightings..

If you are out and about this month, now is the time to go looking for waders starting their southbound migration.

Ruff, left and Spotted Redshank.

Today, the ponds around Druridge Bay held a nice selection-

Cresswell Pond -

Stilt Sandpiper 1 still, present now for 2 weeks.
Spotted Redshank 1
Greenshank 3
Ruff 4
Avocet 4
Common Sandpiper 4
Snipe 30
Dunlin 20
Lapwing 50


Druridge Pools -

Snipe 20
Wood Sandpiper 2
Green Sandpiper 1
Common Sandpiper 2
Greenshank 2
Ruff 1

Amble - Warkworth R Coquet -

Redshank 200
Dunlin 100
Curlew 20
Spotted Redshank 1
Turnstone 3
Sanderling 3
Grey Plover 1

Other places to try are - Hauxley Nature Reserve and Beach, Aln Estaury and Foxton Bends, Bothal Pond, Bells Pond ( between Cresswell and Druridge), Castle Island, Newton Pool, Monks House Pool, Hoppen Kiln Pool, Branton Gravel Pits, R Tweed Estuary, Holy Island Rocket Fields and Harbour...

From now until mid September is best with a regular turn over of birds with each tide. Changeable weather will ground more interesting species too...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Green-veined Yellows??

In the grazing fields at Titlington Mount yesterday we came across these two Green-veined Whites, presumably mating.  They sat still to be photographed, but what I liked was the nice distinction between the quite yellow underwing colour of the female with the 'normal' colour of the male.

Long-eared bats

Last week I went into the large roof space of a house near Alnwick and came across this huddled group of day-time roosting Brown Long-eared Bats.  If you carefully count the ears there are six individuals here and they didn't react at all to the camera's close presence or even to the flash.  There were two other individuals flitting about.

I've seen occasional individuals before in flight, but never come across them roosting.  Really quite exciting, even though the species isn't uncommon according to the Northumbrian Mammal book published last year.