Saturday 7 November 2015

Short-eared Owl at St Mary's Island

Up to three Short-eared owls were seen quartering the fields between St Mary's Island and the caravan park today. Winter cometh.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

What a grey day....

St Mary's Lighthouse
A stonechat was the highlight of an early morning stroll through the fog at St Mary's Island. No short-eared owls this early and no other birders (maybe they new something I didn't?).

Reed Bunting

Golden Plover (honest!)



Wednesday 28 October 2015

Out of the Fog came the Scandinavians....

Hundreds of migrating Redwings dropped onto the North East coast today. Quite a spectacular sight as I checked the coast from Seaton Sluice to Tynemouth. And a stunning Brambling too.

Flocks of Redwings dropping from the sky
Goldfinches joined by a Brambling

Bet there are a few interesting migrants grounded along the coast tonight. Let's see what can be found tomorrow!

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Shore Lark at Blyth

An enjoyable hour was spent chasing a Shore Lark around Blyth Harbour today........

Sunday 20 September 2015

Red-veined Darter in Tynemouth

Just sorted through some photos I took in August at Tynemouth and BOOM - Red-veined Darter, a scarce migrant to the North East.

Red-veined Darter - Sympetrum fonscolombii

Thursday 10 September 2015

Red-footed Falcon Northumberland

The red-footed falcon found yesterday, was relocated about 9am this morning. Which was nice, especially as I missed it yesterday. It mostly spent it's time perched at distance, dropping into the field to take insects, before taking to the air and landing nearby on the overhead wire. Then it headed North and out of sight........

Saturday 5 September 2015

Less is more

Working through the warblers that 'fell' into the garden yesterday, I failed to find any rarities, but did manage to find a cracking Lesser Whitethroat. I say found, but it was more the case it presented itself!

Anyone who has tried of getting a decent view of a Lesser Whitethroat will undoubtedly have struggled as it's very elusive at the best of times. Not so this bird....

Friday 4 September 2015

It's Raining Birds..

Our garden was drenched in chiffchaffs this morning, loads of them. Just hoping one of them turns into a greenish or barred warbler. No luck so far.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

On the rocks...

I went to Tynemouth looking for some migrant action today. There were a few chiffchaffs, and a single blackcap but nothing 'exciting', so I headed to the rocks at the base of Tynemouth Pier. There I sat watching pied wagtails and rock pipits feeding along the strand-line. Then a linnet came down to drink from water dripping down the cliff face. Wonderful!

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Pretty Amazing

It's astonishing what a few billion years can fashion out of nature, and what a sunny day can tempt into the garden.....

Painted Lady
Small Tortoiseshell
Large White
Wall  - The butterfly, not what it's on :)

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Best till Last..

Wren production has been noticeably high this year, and it's not slowing down.  This nest has been brought into operation despite having been built back in March. Best till last perhaps?

Tucked away in the gable end of our entrance.

Sunday 31 May 2015

Black-winged Pratincole - 2nd Northumberland Record

Managed a quick twitch to Bothal Pond this morning. The Black-winged Pratincole was showing well on the western shore, and came as close as it was ever likely too, allowing some record shots on a dull rainy morning.

Sunday 5 April 2015

The 'Mother' of Record Shots!

Two new records for the patch at East Holywell yesterday and today.

Yesterday I heard a song I wasn't familiar with - sounded just like this. I was heading out on a bike ride towards Holywell Dene, and just past the cattery the mystery song had me slam on the breaks. I reached for my binoculars and there it was, a Marsh Tit!

And today, a walk down to Holywell Dene was rewarded with two Brambling landing high in the beech trees before flying North. Managed to get the 'mother' of all record shots :)

Monday 30 March 2015

Not long now.....

The hedges have been layed, planted up, and watered ........

Moths have started to be caught in the trap.......

Oak Beauty

The first bumblebee, wasp, and hoverfly have been seen.................................


And in just two or three weeks the swallows will return, and there's a new home ready in the shed........

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Chainsaw Massacre

A gappy, old and dying hawthorn hedge on one side, and a field maple hedge becoming a row of trees on the other, meant one thing - chainsaw massacre.

After checking out the Hedgelink Website (all about hedges and how to care for them) it was clear that the way forward was to lay the hedges. Hedgelaying is the traditional method of restoring a hedge - and it's great for increasing wildlife value.

Bank Vole - hedge resident
I did consider doing the job myself but the scale, 70 metres, really needed a professional, so I called in the services of Paul Owen who is an accredited hedgelayer based in Northumberland. A list of accredited hedgelayers can be found on the National Hedgelaying Society website.

Paul did a great job, and I can recommend him without hesitation............

Work in progress

Field Maple

Hawthorn nicely finished off with willow bindings,
gaps planted up with whips of local provenance.