Monday, 20 July 2015

Waders on the move

July starts seeing large numbers of waders starting to move.  This was the case yesterday on the WeBs count at Fenham le Moor.  The first flocks of summer plumage Knot, Dunlin and Bar-tailed godwits were present on the mudflats.  The Knot and Dunlin were particularly vociferous - calling Knot is not something you hear everyday.  There were even some Dunlin display calling - obviously confused by the cool Northumbrian weather!  There were also reasonable numbers of local breeders such as Lapwing, Curlew and Oystercatcher.

Supporting cast included 2 Whimbrel, 2 Pale-bellied and one Dark bellied Brent, 1 Little egret, 2 Goosander, 2 Great crested grebes and three Grey partridge.  Good views could be had of Tree sparrows around the hide.

Two Yellow wagtails were on wires on the west side of Chatton.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Double trouble

Red Squirrels are cute at the best of times but when you get a glimpse of them really going crazy it is something very special. Today very early I was walking to start work at the school and on rounding a corner in the village I was confronted by 2 Red Squirrels chasing each other, this activity saw them end up in some shrubs and I thought that was the end of the entertainment. Wrong, as I reached the school gates they re-appeared and began chasing each other once again, this time however I was caught up in the middle as they ran in circles around my legs, through the gate then back around me.
Eventually common sense prevailed and the one with the pale coloured tail ran off into a nearby tree, the one with the dark tail leapt onto a wall next to me and from a distance of about 2 metres stared at me before also making it's exit into a nearby garden. The whole episode lasted only a couple of minutes but seemed to last much longer and it made me think how lucky I was but also how lucky they were that I wasn't a predator.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Arrows and kites

A red kite was seen flying along Glanton main street yesterday morning.  This is the second record of a kite in the area with another/same bird seen at the Bridge of Aln about two weeks ago.  The Glanton bird was wing-tagged but unsure of colour.

Vegetation surveying in the College Valley produced a number of species of interest.  A small wet flush on the side of St Cuthbert's Way held Quaking grass and Marsh arrowgrass.  The latter looks more akin to a grass than a flowering plant.  Other species of interest included my first small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly of the year, at least 3 whinchats, a wide range of micro-moths and a good range of beetles including a very large click beetle (unfortunately no photo)