Saturday 13 September 2014

On yer bike!

Did a bit of birding by bike today, heading down to Holywell Dene, then onwards to Seaton Delaval Hall for an expensive bowl of national trust soup.

A couple of roe deer ran across the track in the dene, nearly resulting in a fatality - the bike rider not the deer!

A kingfisher flashed blue on it's way down the dene, and two dippers were in full song.

Overhead two jays were seen, an unusual record this near the coast.

In the fields towards the obelisk a single wheatear was spotted on a fence post.

But the highlight of the day had to be the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth that returned to the garden again.

Sunday 17 August 2014

The Wildlife Garden

I find it quite astonishing what will come and live in a garden that is focused on being wildlife friendly. Here's a few of the residents in my garden seen yesterday.

Common Carder Bee
Gold Spot Moth
Migrant Hawker
Honey Bee
Hoverfly - Ceilosiini sp
Leaf-Cutter Bee
Peacock Butterfly
Red Admiral Butterfly
Thick-legged Hoverfly
Tree Sparrow - another 3rd clutcher!
Lesser Yellow Underwing Moths
Wall Butterfly
Solitary Wasp - Ectemnius sp.

Thursday 31 July 2014


My wife Gail reckons I spend too much time 'tittivating the garden'. She's probably right (she normally is) but the local wildlife seems pleased.

The colony of Tree Sparrows in my garden, which was just one pair in a hole in the house wall two years ago, is now, with the addition of a few nest boxes,  seven pairs producing at least sixty young!

Taking a break from raising a third brood!

Another 10 boxes have gone up on my neighbour's stable wall, and another 10 will go here and there ready for next spring. Maybe 20 :)

The right plants in the right places have also brought an abundance of invertebrates, especially in my 'untidy' garden. Gives the Tree Sparrows plenty of food for their young.

Yarrow Plume moth, likes the Yarrow :)
And the butterflies are loving the nectar bar in the front garden.

Small Tortoiseshell
Time for some more gardening....

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Unbridled Terns

Artic Terns
A trip to the Farne Islands is great with or without rarities, and the fact that a Bridled Tern was reported on Inner Farne was coincidental to our trip. Just as well as it had 'gone fishing' when we were there.

Still, plenty of fine feathered friends to provide one of natures great shows.....

Guilletmots with young
Bridled Guillimot
And boat loads of people

Monday 28 April 2014

Monumental Anteater

A Wryneck at Whitley Bay Cemetery today showed well, hunting for ants amongst the gravestones.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Willow Warbler - Snapped!

Outside our holiday cottage in Pembrokeshire was a large Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum). This North American shrub was literally buzzing with bees, and flies, the latter proving rather palatable for a Willow Warbler.

Blue skies, sunshine, a light breeze, and the sound of a Willow Warbler snapping at flies - now that's spring!

Friday 14 March 2014

Hopping along...

According to the national news, frogs have been in a spawning frenzy for the last week, everywhere, except here!

Not a single sighting of a frog or toad in mine or my neighbours pond.

Conspiracy theories began to be concocted; a mystery disease, maybe some nasty spray used by the farmer....but then today, while doing a spot of gardening........

Meanwhile, the Blue Tits have some competition for their nest box...

And in the moth trap, a new species for the garden....

Oak Beauty

Sunday 2 March 2014


Last week saw some spring arrivals to the garden, and some preparations for those to come.

First off was a very aptly named Spring Usher, a new moth for the garden, and for me.

Spring Usher
Next was a March Moth, right on cue.

March Moth
And the crocuses provided a welcome source of nectar for a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee
A queen Common Wasp was out sunning herself, demonised by most, but a great garden pest controller for those who understand these valuable, voracious predators.

Common Wasp
In preparation for the Swallows arriving back in April, I've completed building a log store for them to nest in. Hope they appreciated it!

Swallow Hut