Sunday 30 May 2010

Be afraid, very afraid......

This Wood Mouse was caught in my garden yesterday using a longworth trap. It was release unharmed with a belly full of food. These critters will munch through plenty of caterpillars, slugs and snails during their short lives to make them far more a gardner's friend than enemy.

While they have never caused me any problems, according to pest control companies we shouldn't be able to sleep at night with such beasts nearby:

"the mouse is a terrifying creature and perhaps partly fuelled by their fast and unpredictable movements"

"can seriously damage water and gas pipes, electric cables, packaging and woodwork. Instances of electrical fires and floods have been attributed to them"

Sleep tight :)

Saturday 29 May 2010

Newton Stringer captured on video!

Soz Gaz but after Top Tune 23 this seemed appropriate in some way. One good tune deserves another :)

To be properly entertained check out the Stringer's blog. Or go birding.

Friday 28 May 2010

Kielder Ospreys

I spent a couple of hours at Kielder this afternoon and none of the three Osprey eggs have hatched.  There should be chicks in the next couple of days I'm told. A bowl of soup at Kielder Castle gave the best views of the birds on the nest via the excellent CCTV they have beamed from the nest.

A two mile walk around the Bakethin was an afternoon well spent in the pleasant sunshine.

Carrion Crow mobs a Common Buzzard

Female Siskin

Tree Pipit
Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata)
Feeds on Bracken

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Bay Watch 25/05


I set out along the waggonway at 6.30 this evening and the most noticeable thing was that the Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were silent. Even the Whitethroats have become a little less conspicuous choosing to skulk within the brambles and bushes quietly singing. Other songsters were still giving it what for.....

Willow Warbler


Sedge Warbler

Risso's Dolphin

These dolphins were photographed at Brimsness last Sunday, near Thurso, and I've just worked out that they are Risso's Dolphins.

Risso's Dolphins

Monday 24 May 2010

A good moth night

Last night was the first time I've had the trap on during the recent heatwave due to being away to the North of Scotland (see last post). This meant I managed to miss the heat wave and unlike most of my neighbours I'm not the colour of beetroot.

1174 Epiblema cynosbatella

Garden Carpet
Common Pug

May Highflier

Brown House Moth

Best Night So Far:

1 x 1174 Epiblema cynosbatella
2 x 0892 Mompha subbistrigella
2 x 1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata)
1 x 648 White-shouldered House-moth (Endrosis sarcitrella)
1 x 1778 May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata)
1 x 647 Brown House-moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
1 x 1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata)

Sunday 23 May 2010

Surfing Wild Thurso

The lads surf trip to Thurso was the usual mix of ripping waves, great crack and fantastic wildlife.
Best waves were in the 'Bowl' at Brims Ness

Surfing with Dolphins

A rather friendly Razorbill

Best estimate was 12,000 auks passing by every hour. Here, two Puffins
 lead the way followed by Guillemots and Razorbills

We visited John O'Groats to see the Killer Whales, but missed them by an hour.
 They've been seen every day for the last two weeks.

Great Skua

Kittiwake harrassed by an Artic Skua

The bright light outside our hotel chalet attracted this stunning White Ermine moth

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Summer arrives 55 deg N

I picked the right day to do my BBS (Breeding Bird survey). Clear skies, warm sun, light winds. First stop was Earsdon cemetery for a few sunrise snaps then off to Widdrington Station to do the survey.

Fox just before sunrise

Swallow - an early riser

Back home and the moth trap had three moths of three different species.

Twenty-plume Moth

Hebrew Character

Scalloped Hazel

Monday 17 May 2010

Play spot the fox

A dusk visit to Earsdon cemetery to look for Little Owl drew a blank but foxes were everywhere. There were two in the field to the immediate west of the churchyard, one to the north and one opposite the Beehive pub. The east side of the cemetery is a brilliant vantage point as it looks down across the fields to the Brierdene, Holywell and Whitley golf course. If it walks or flies you have a good chance of spotting it.

Can you spot the fox?

Sunday 16 May 2010

Bay watch 16/05 starring Circus aeruginosus

Waggonway looking lush and green

I strode out along the waggonway about six this evening and as I neared the Brierdene Farm along came a very nice surprise, a Marsh Harrier. A sub adult 2 CY by the looks of it (any thoughts on exact age and sex welcomed), and a new addition to the OFFH list (On Foot From Home).

Worra Belter!

After the excitement I headed towards Holywell Dene where, in nearby fields, lapwings are rearing their young.
Lapwing Chick

After getting drenched by a heavy shower I headed home with the sun setting and the feeling that it was mission accomplished.

Fantastic view looking south from Holywell Dene

Looking west from the waggonway

Holywell Moth & Bat Night

Last night was national moth night and an event was held at Holywell Pond NR by Northumberland Wildlife Trust. The county moth recorder Tom Tams attended with a couple of traps, managing to catch a selection of species despite a distinct lack of moths on another less than balmy evening. The evening's haul included Hebrew Character, Water Carpet, Lesser Black Arches, Brindled Pug, Agonopterix arenella, Common Carpet and Clouded Drab.

'Mothmeister' Tom Tams brightens up the evening

The NWT brought along bat detectors and two species were found; Noctule and Common Pipistrelle. Here's a couple of recordings I took.


Common Pipistrelle

The garden moth trap had two moths; a White-shouldered House Moth, and a new species for me, a Scalloped Hazel.
1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata)

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Bug Safari

My new toy is a macro lens so expect to see plenty of wee invertebrates coming this way, some in focus when I get depth of field mastered. Here's some critters captured in Northumberland last weekend. Please let me know if you can ID the ones with a question mark by them.

Tetragnatha sp

Meta mengei

Wolf spider ...... don't worry, it's not to scale!

Alder Fly

Chironomid midge

Sawfly - ? ....nearly 500 species in Britain!

Hoverfly - Syrphus ribesii aphid eater extraordinaire, consuming hundreds in its two week larval state

Hoverfly - Melanostoma scalare

'Folded-wing' Crane-fly - Limonia nubeculosa 

A Psyllid (Homoptera)

A big critter - Brown Hare