Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Fully Fledged in the Toon

I was In Newcastle yesterday, by the Civic Centre, when the begging call of a young bird caught my ear. A full grown fledgling blackbird was hassling it's mother amongst the flower bed. By my reckoning the parents must have been getting 'jiggy' mid Feb.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Bufo bufo migration

Common Toad Bufo bufo

Near Langley in Northumberland the annual migration from the woods to the lake for breeding are in full swing.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Signs of Spring in the Garden

Blackbird nest building in the Ivy

Neighbours Cherry in blossom

Frog spawn appeared on the 23rd March this year - 2 days earlier than last year!

Swift box has Starlings nesting in the downstairs 'flat'

Thursday, 24 March 2011

3 men and some moths - in Stocksfield

Met up with Tom Tams and Keith Dover for a moth trapping session at Stocksfield last night. Some good moths and good crack.

Good company, Tom Tams and Keith Dover.

Oak Beauty and Yellow Horned - identified and logged

The light off Keith's pearl white teeth was our secret weapon :)

Early Tooth-striped

Oak Beauty

Yellow Horned

Trapping Totals:

Temp dropped down to a chilly 4.5c
Semioscopis avellanella was noteworthy

0666 Semioscopis avellanella 1
1659 Yellow Horned (Achlya flavicornis) 9
1881 Early Tooth-striped (Trichopteryx carpinata) 6
1930 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria) 6
1947 Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata) 1
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 3
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) 52
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 44
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 17
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda) 5
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 32
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 1
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 14

You can discover more on the moths of Northumberland on the Northumberland Moths Website:

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Bathtime at St Mary's

The song of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits filled the air at St Mary's today. A Chiffchaff was singing in Holywell Dene while at the Beehive Flash there was a pair of Shelduck and 150 Greylag Geese.

A flock of a hundred or more Starlings take a 
communal bath on the wetland at St Mary's

Meadow Pipit preparing for another aerial display

Common Toad Bufo Bufo at St Mary's Wetland

Monday, 21 March 2011

Skomer Island......almost

I've just returned from Pembrokeshire and yet again managed to time it so that the boat to Skomer Island isn't running yet - it runs from Good Friday or 1st April (whichever comes first) til 31st Oct. Maybe next time.

The view from Wooltack Point is breath taking and not a bad place for birding in itself. I had a pair of Chough for starters, apparently they are common here. Shame my pics were 'record shots' only (i.e. crap).

Stonechats are plentiful here

Raven on the cliffs (300ft cliffs by my reckoning - not for the faint hearted!)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Gwyfynod Cymru

The trap went on in while on hols in Pembrokeshire last night - very briefly thanks to the rain. Thankfully the mild conditions meant moths were in abundance. Here's a selection of some real crackers:

Red Chestnut
Twin-spotted Quaker
Early Grey

 It's still raining. And by all accounts it's sunny back in Whitley Bay!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Common Quaker

One moth in the trap last night, but one in mint condition. The highlight to an otherwise grey misty damp day here in Whitley Bay.

Common Quaker

Monday, 14 March 2011

Bay Watch 14/03

Waggonway Today

Thought it might be an idea to make the most of the calm sunny weather especially with easterly winds and low cloud and rain forecast for the rest of the week. So I unhackled myself from my laptop, put on the walking boots and set forth up the waggonway as far as Brierdene Farm, across the fields to Whitley Cemetery and along the beach to Whitley Bay and home.

Along the waggonway it was very busy with bikes, dog walkers, runners and the pupils from the local school 'doing PE' which involved some running, most walking, talking and throwing mud at each other.

Birds seen included Wren, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Crow, Robin, Magpie, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit. No Wheatears yet but they won't be long now. Further south migrants are arriving in numbers with Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins and Wheatears the expected early arrivers. More exotic birds have been seen too with an early Hoopoe at Portland Bill a couple of days ago. The easterly winds forecast could  bring a few surprises if people are prepared to suffer the cold to check their patch. I'll lend you my hat on John :)

Frogs in the pond in Whitley Cemetery in the 'throws of spring'

Blackbird in Whitley Cemetery

Sanderling on Whitley Beach

At the beach a solitary Grey Seal moved along the surf line followed by a flock of Common Gull looking for the remains of any fish suppers. A Red-throated Diver was further out along with a small number of Eider Duck.

Whitley Beach - just needs a deck chair or two?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

What colour is your frog?

The frogs are coupling in our the pond and I've noticed one to be a bit off colour - purple no less!

Common Frog - looking as you would expect

Common Frog - the female looking purple

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Kittiwakes return

Kittiwakes were back in significant numbers at the mouth of the Tyne today. Unfortunately when they return to their nest sites in Newcastle they may find the council have decided to evict them - read about it here:

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Tynemouth Fulmars

The Fulmars are readying for breeding on Tynemouth cliffs. Note the oil on some of the birds :(

More Fulmar pics here.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

St Mary's Today

Plenty of Waders at St Mary's today including Knot in large numbers, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Oystercatcher and four Bar-tailed Godwits. There was also about 400 Starlings on the rocks. Here's a few pics:


Bar-tailed Godwit