Sunday, 17 September 2017

Holy Island 17th September

It's that time of year when Holy Island is just too good to miss, however there is also the chance that there will be absolutely nothing. That was certainly the case today when it came to passerines, the Snook had it's usual numbers of Meadow Pipits and the Half Moon slack held 3 Reed Buntings, and a single Common Whitethroat, Snook House itself had 1 Goldcrest, 1 Robin and a Willow Warbler.
From there I decided to walk along to Emmanuel Head, following the Beach produced 9 Sanderling, 1 Redshank and 4 Bar-tailed Godwits. The day really picked up with a spot of seawatching at Emmanuel Head, the long lines of Gannets of all ages were picked out against the dark choppy sea, next through were 6 Velvet Scoters quickly followed by 2 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Red-throated Divers, this sequence was broken by constant movement of Kittiwakes which in turn attracted those pirates of the seas Arctic Skuas, one unfortunate bird was assaulted by 3 hoodlums at the same time and soon disgorged its food, in total 11 Arctic Skuas were seen, the highlight arrived soon afterwards in the form of a graceful Sooty Shearwater one of many which were seen up and down the coast today. It just proves that even the most unpromising day will still have it's highlights.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Black and White beauty

After finally catching up with the Corn Bunting at Boulmer ,a bird which tragically is a real rarity in the county our focus turned to Low Newton scrape where after spending much of Saturday in the Druridge Bay area our end of the county was treated to a stunning White-winged Black Tern as it fed over the scrape. At this point I should apologise for the quality of the image, with it's buoyant, bouncy flight it was very hard to focus on, but who cares, what a cracking bird and one which is always worth a trip to see.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Dragons and Damsels

After Stewart and Richard's superb talk on Wednesday evening I decided to check out Branton Ponds for Dragonflies and Damselflies. The smaller Damselflies were much in evidence, the easiest to I.D. were the Blue-tailed then there were the Common Blues with their almost tree-like marks on the 1st and 2nd abdominal sections, having checked dozens I failed to find a single Azure with it's tell tale letter H marking on the same section. Then as if by magic a larger Dragonfly came into view, after careful observation it finally came to rest on some vegetation where I was able to observe it in detail and narrowed it down to another species which was mentioned in the talk, Black-tailed Skimmer, after getting this confirmed by Stewart I did as he had suggested and enjoyed the views of what was a new species for both me and the Ponds.

Saturday, 13 May 2017


After a morning spent in the Cheviot Hills surrounded by low cloud we headed down to Lynemouth Flash to catch up with a Citrine Wagtail which first appeared yesterday. On arriving we were soon onto the bird  as it fed constantly at the water's edge, a small group of people had gathered and soon it was only about 5 metres away still feeding and totally unfazed. Next we headed to the Budge Screen at Druridge Pools which held Wood Sandpiper, Garganey, Little Egret, and a very smart male Ruff in full breeding plumage, Spotted Flycatcher was also seen dashing for insects from a wire fence, after an unpromising start to the day the sun was out and all was well in the world.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Green Hairstreaks

We decided today was a good day to look for Green Hairstreaks on Debdon Moor, as we crossed on the moor track Swallows buzzed overhead and Tree Pipits were also calling, in the distance a Cuckoo gave its evocative call. Eventually we arrived at an area of small crags surrounded by Bilberry and started looking, after a few minutes searching some movement was seen and there was our target, when a second one appeared they both flew off in a frantic chase but always came back to the same spot.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Catch Up...

Apologies, I didnt have time to write anything for the newsletter, I must try to be more time conscious! Here are a few shots taken over the last couple of weeks...

This Ferruginous Duck attracted a stream of admirers down to the Silverlink Park.

While, a pair of Mandarins were on DBCP, they seem to be getting commoner in spring along the coast.

March was good for moths being quite mild, here we have clockwise from top left - Twin spotted Quaker, Small Quaker, Pine Beauty and March Moth.

Great White Egret, distant on the Budge Fields, Druridge...

...replaced soon afterwards by this Spoonbill.

And finally 4 more Shorelarks closer to home at Boulmer...
 Write this out 100 x ...'I must be on time'...

Friday, 10 March 2017

Reptile update

A short walk on the outskirts of Branton revealed only 10 Adders today, as it was early afternoon and quite warm many were probably off hunting, however the walk was given further interest by the first Slow Worm of the year, a lovely bronze coloured individual, there was no sign however of yesterday's Mandarin.