Friday 28 October 2011

MEGA - Tynemouth

Black Redstart
This morning, just before connecting with this fine Black Redstart at Priors Haven in Tynemouth, a Jay flew over! A patch tick for me, the Jay that is, a real mega for the coast.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Firecrest - St Mary's

Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus
2 Firecrests were reported at St Mary's today. A tricky chap to photograph, being very active in very poor light.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Urgent - help stop plans to destroy wildlife at Gosforth Park

I received this today, from the Natural History Society of Northumbria:

Dear Natural History Society Member

We need your help to save the fields surrounding Gosforth Nature Reserve from being turned into 600 homes by the end of the decade.  This would have a devastating effect on wildlife and the nature reserve.

Many of you will know that these fields are home to otters, roe deer, badgers, bats, owls and songbirds and are an important wildlife corridor and part of the Green Belt. The reserve is one of Newcastle’s last remaining wildlife areas and is home to rare birds, plants and animals including England’s last urban population of red squirrels.

Newcastle City Council is setting out its latest development plans which they are calling their “One Core Strategy”, this includes a “Strategic Land Review” in which they have identified potential sites for new development.  They are proposing that 8,000 new homes are built in the Green Belt, including 600 new homes in the fields next to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, which they are calling Salter’s Lane Neighbourhood Growth Area – the fields are conveniently owned by Persimmon Homes. You can see maps of the proposed development area on the attached flyer.

The fields that would be destroyed provide essential foraging habitat for wildlife that lives in the nature reserve.  Without this habitat this wildlife will be lost forever.  This includes families of badgers and roe deer, brown hare, several species of bats and birds such as barn owl, kestrel, and buzzard. Other wildlife in the reserve that would be badly affected by this development includes otters, red squirrels, voles, shrews and small birds.  The area is also attractive and peaceful countryside that is well used and loved by local walkers, nature enthusiasts, dog walkers and cyclists.

This areas is so valuable for wildlife that 10 years ago Newcastle Council designated this area as a Strategic Wildlife Corridor linking Jesmond Dene to the wider countryside.  Further developments since then make this wildlife corridor even more important today.  The Government’s Environmental White Paper, published in June, highlights the importance of creating buffer zones around important wildlife sites and retaining wildlife corridors – the Council’s proposal clearly goes against this Government advice.

The Council is consulting people on their views of these plans.  You have until 18th November to tell them what you think.

YOUR VIEWS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. You can stop the destruction of our wildlife and countryside by telling the Council that you object to their plans.  The more people who object the better the chance we have to stop this terrible proposal and to save our wildlife and open spaces for future generations.

You can view the Council’s full plans at

If you want to give them your views on their plans to build houses next to the nature reserve then the policy that you are objecting to is Policy CS3 1a Salter’s Lane Neighbourhood Growth Area.

To give your comments online go to and follow the instructions.  Alternatively send your comments by email to planning& or write to Harvey Emms, Director of Planning, Newcastle City Council, Civic Centre, NE1 8PD.

Local residents, the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Northumberland Wildlife Trust are encouraging people who live, work or visit Newcastle to contact the Council and object to these plans and ask the Council to protect this important wildlife area for future generations.

To demonstrate our opposition we are holding a public walk-about of the area at 11am on Sunday 30th October (meet at the entrance to the nature reserve and there will be a public meeting with Newcastle planners held at Gosforth Civic Hall, 7pm on Tuesday 15th November. Please come along to these events to show your support.

Please forward this email to neighbours, friends or colleagues and ask them to give thier views as well or help to circulate on Facebook and Twitter - I attach a flyer which you may wish to use to help spread the word.

This type of threat to Gosforth Park and other nature reserves is set to become more common if the government's planning reforms go ahead.  We would encourage you to write to your MP asking them to influence the Government's reforms so that they benefit the natural environment not just the development industry.  The Wildlife Truts have a web-page to help you do this,1WPE,ZLI4G,1OEK7,1

The wildlife at Gosforth Park really needs your support at this critical time. We really hope that you will take a few minutes to contact Newcastle City Council to object to their plans, and if possible join us on the 30th October or 15th November.

Kind Regards
James Littlewood

Natural History Society of Northumbria
Great North Museum: Hancock
Barras Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT

Saturday 15 October 2011

Late departures

Today's late departures
The causeway that joins St Mary's Island to the mainland is covered quickly on the incoming tide, and everyday people leave it a little too late to leave.

Bar-tailed Godwit

Monday 10 October 2011

Lesser Scaup - Tynemouth Boating lake

Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
I thought I would be blogging about the Turtle Dove at Big Waters and the Hen Harrier at Prestwick Carr having bagged both early this afternoon, but the reported Lesser Scaup was re-found in Tynemouth.

Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
A cracking start to the week.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Gosforth Park Today

A trip to the new feeding station at Gosforth Park NR was just the ticket. As well as lots of Tits there were Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, a melanic Rabbit and a Bank Vole.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Northumberland String Watch

A site to keep an eye on. Checkout the 'Kestral Hawk'  which is also suggested as a Brambling, and a Fieldfare. It is in fact a Linnet :) If you're not on Facebook, just as well!

Can you tell me what this is?

I've got no idea what this is so any ideas would be gratefully received.

Thanks to Gordon who has identified it as a Hoverfly larva. And those on Wildaboutbritain who have confirmed it specifically as a Syrphid larva

Saturday 1 October 2011