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Birds and wildlife around the river Tyne, Newcastle City, its outskirts,and anywhere else we travel.

Updated: 2017-11-08T13:18:41.685+00:00


Greenleighton Moor and Fontburn


The plan was to hunt for basking Adders on Sunday morning but by the time I drove to Fontburn the sun had almost gone. However its a nice place to be so I set off to walk along the North shore. Sparrowhawk and Fieldfare were the first birds to note. There were around 20 Canada geese in the adjacent field. While skirting the head of the reservoir, Newbiggin Farm provided a view worth a sketching attempt.

 Three Buzzard and one Raven flew over calling strongly. As I approached a feeder stream another pair of Buzzard flew overhead.

As soon as I reached the stream I caught sight of a Dipper. Then I realised there was another close by.
One of them adopted a pose of pointing its bill vertically skyward whenever the other approached. Don't know what that was all about. Perhaps a mating routine. They stayed close together for the time I watched.

A later walk through Greenleighton Moor Quarry provided a nice surprise with a Peregrine on the hunt

St. Wilfrid's Church, Kirkharle


Just a short wander around Kirkharle this morning. Bright sunshine but still a few hailstone surviving in the shadows.
Did a pencil sketch of St. Wilfrid's Church, but it was a bit too chilly to add some watercolour on the spot,  I did so at home.

It was very quiet on the bird front with only Buzzard, Kestrel and the usual hedgerow occupants.
Good to see that there are still some country crafts being practised

and there were some nice views to take in

Show Off


Went to Primrose LNR to see this little cracker.
Could not see it at first, then it swam out in front of me and crikey, any duck to place itself between us was given the heave ho, as it paraded to and fro.

Whatever its history its a remarkable creature.

Up the Coast, again.


Crikey, its along time since I was last here, Blogger I mean.This morning took me to East Chevington to view the Twite flock of around fourty birds. They were feeding at the edge of the dunes along with Shorelark, Turnstones, Sanderling and Pied Wagtail. Myself and John @sedgywarbler parked ourselves at the dune edge and the birds came to within five or six paces. A delight to see.A quick visit to Druridge Bay CP for a look at the Pacific Diver which was showing close up in the North east corner.Earlier Tom @TomCadwallender was telling me about a decent size flock of Purple Sandpiper on Coquet Island, so thought I'd get as near as I could without paddling and sure enough there were a couple on rock ends off Hauxley.Ten Grey Plover were nice to see. Bit of bother behind.The North Sea was like glass. Magic moments.[...]



Today I had a wander up to the head of Fontburn reservoir. I specifically was hoping to spot a Sundew in one of a number of locations where I knew another flycatcher, Butterwort existed.
Quite a few Butterwort were seen

but no Sundews were spotted.
There were however good numbers of flowering Grass of Parnassus

a couple of Painted Lady

and a few Peacock.

Overlooking the head of the reservoir

I was fortunate to be able to watch a Kingfisher hovering over the water before striking. With the water levels really low there were no perches above the water to act as a perch.

Jay and Mistle Thrush were about further up the Fallowlees Burn valley

Druridge Bay


After yesterdays sports 'sitathon' in front of the tele I needed a walk this morning.
So I parked up at Druridge Pools after watching a dozen Little Egrets at Cresswell, and headed toward Hauxley. Nowt out of the ordinary, so it was nice to see three Wheatear at the Hauxley outflow.

This bird spread itself in the sun

A Common Sandpiper was at the edge of the Hauxley tidal pool.
By the time I got back to Druridge Pools I had enjoyed the walk.

Bits and Pieces


A walk up Prestwick Carr bridlepath after lunch today produced some nice coloursand then a visit to Gosforth Park NR for a Purple Hairstreak spotting event by Natural History Society of Northumbria brought at least 10 into viewHonest there is one in hereIts host oak tree was adjacent to this[...]

What a surprise


With this mornings cool NE breeze the last thing we expected to see were butterflies. The Druridge Pools track was amazing with eight species present.
Painted Lady x 4, Small Copper, Peacock, Large White, Wall, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Small Heath. A further 7 Painted Lady were seen later at East Chevington.

Dont know what this one below is

Believe this one below is Garden Tiger Moth



After yesterdays feast of Broad billed Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Ruff it seemed only proper to see if I could find the Wansbeck Bonapartes Gull.
This mornings reported sighting was under the A189 bridge so I headed there via Cambois. The were half a dozen Black headed over on the North bank with one possible amongst. So crossed over and despite decent views I could not quite convince myself that I had found it, so returned to the pub for beer and burger.
Then down to Castle Island and a lot of gulls to search.
Then a possible, black bill, and smaller than a BH and similar head marks to recently published. Following a kind confirmation by Andy @leicester_llama , I had myself a Bonapartes Gull.

there were also three Avocets

and three Little Egret, one of which was ringed, but I could not ident rings

Portpatrick and Mull of Galloway


Earlier this week I was able to have a few days ambling around Portpatrick, Mull of Galloway and surrounding area .A few hours along the Portpatrick clifftops brought some sightings of Ravens, Hooded Crow as well as an abundance of wildflowers. Gannets were struggling to head North against a stiff breeze.A brief visit to Ballantrae beach provided an unexpected sight of brilliant, summer plumaged Knot and Sanderling. At least that's what I believe them to be, but no doubt someone will correct me otherwise. The summer colouring completely threw me. This beach normally hosts Little and Arctic Terns nesting but none had yet arrived. Gannets were feeding close inshore.Corsewell Point provided good but distant views of Manx and Sooty Shearwaters heading North. A Short eared Owl was harried by corvidsAt the end of the Mull there were good numbers of Guillimot and Razorbill with a few Black Guillimot as well. A Peregrine patrolled the cliff faces.A few hours spent inland gave me the chance to watch Spotted Flycatchers, Tree Pipits, Sedge Warblers and large numbers of Chiffy, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. I failed to find a Pied Flycatcher anywhere.Woodland Bluebells were magnificentI was treated to see Roe deer, Stoat, Adder, Hares and amazingly Painted Lady butterfly.On the return journey through Galloway Forest a couple of Cuckoo were heard.[...]

New Life


Way back in late October last year I spotted three green caterpillars on a broccolli plant in the garden. Nights were cool so I cut the stem, placed it in water, and took it into the garden shed. Within a couple of days the largest caterpillar disappeared but the other two smaller, underdeveloped, stopped feeding.
Thought no more about them until two days ago when I saw this on the side of a bottle in the shed....

Thinking, if it emerges it might struggle to get out of the shed, so placed the bottle in the garden frame.
Yesterday morning, and hey presto, this.......

Away trip


Am just back from a visit to Daughter in Leeds. We got around some of the nice places such as Rodley NR, Adel NR, Golden Acre, Eccup, North Cave NR, and on the way back,  Nosterfield NR, and Hartlepool Headland .
Little Egret, 2 Little Owls, Red Necked Grebe, Shore Lark, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Red Legged Partridge, Redwings were just a few. There seemed to be Roe deer in most of the fields as we travelled about.
Thought I would jot down a few of the memories.

While down near the river Aire I heard a typical Buzzard call but with a clear sky could not pick it out. Then Linda beckoned along the track to a Jay perched on a tree top, calling like a soaring Buzzard. Upon research there have been a number of reports in the area.

Blank visit


This afternoon's garden visitor left again without any success

Soon I hope


Am looking forward to watching the 'Peeweets' up on the moors again this spring.

Wot no gull


Had a visit to QE2 today in the hope of seeing an Iceland Gull , but it was gone.
So I decided to do a bit of sketching with so many others about,

I seem to have recorded a couple of shapes which dont yet appear in Collins Bird Guide, but never mind I'll keep at it.
A wander around part of the lake provided the opportunity to see Siskin, Goldcrest and Bullfinch.

Killy Smew


Got over to Killingworth this morning to see the Smew on the small lake. I was surprised just how close the bird came to the edge of the lake.



I like the way the feeding geese flocks always have at least one member on the look out for danger.



As well as a Mistle Thrush seen regularly around the garden I have had several views of a Song Thrush .
Always nice to see.



This winter I have been surprised at the number of House Sparrows coming to the feed. Over recent years the numbers have always been less than ten, but currently there seems to be 14-16. Nice to see a flock coming and going.

Mistle Thrush


Have been favoured recently by regular views of this cracker from the window.

One down


This afternoon's news that  Philip Dilley the Environment Agency Chair has left his position was positive.
Remember all the bad reports regarding Hen Harrrier losses in Forest of Bowland last year ?
Check this out

No doubt there will be another similar in place quite soon.

Back Garden


After a few years of steadily declining House Sparrow numbers there seems to be an upturn in the numbers visiting the back garden. Currently there are about 12-14 regularly feeding on seed on the ground. A rare visitor for me was a male Chaffinch amongst the sparrows.

Druridge Walk


This morning seemed just right for a stroll from Druridge Pools to Dru CP and back.
Dru Pools is nicely flooded again with lots of the usual birds about.
Along the track there were many new water flashes in the fields with large numbers of Curlew and Lapwing making the best of them. Stonechats appear on the bush tops every hundred yards or so, and it was nice to see  a few Twite. The Druridge dunes Goldcrest flock also contained a few Chaffinch.
At E Chev burn outlet there was a strong flow of water turning it into a stream all the way to the sea.
About fifteen Ringed Plover with a few Sanderling were resting beside the burn.
In the NE corner of the East Chev North Pool an otter went about its hunting.
Numerous geese flocks went back and forth and a diver, unable to ident, flew north above sand dune tops
Walking back along the beach small groups of Sanderling scurried in the waters edge.
Back at Dru Pools a Short Eared Owl hunted.
Very nice.

Where's the birds


Have acquired and installed a new set of bird feeders and topped up supplies but the variety of garden birds is poor at present.

 However I can always rely on a pair of Great Tit to put in an appearance



This is the first year that I have kept a list of birds seen, prompted by friends asking how many I was likely spot.
This morning I was on 198 so with weather promising much I went to St Mary's Island wetland where there were loads of thrushes in the bushes. When I approached one of the wetland viewpoints a Woodcock (199) burst out of the hedge then provided a nice side on view. A further wander a Seaton Sluice brought more Fieldfare and Redwing and also a tweet re Black Redstart ( not on the list) at Tynemouth Pier.
So along to Tynemouth Pier and in the small triangle area of rocks between the pier and cliff were Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird, Robin, Pipit and finally as I was starting to give up hope, a Black Redstart.

Then there were two in sight, with the rain tipping down.
So that got me to 200 for the year. I know its nowt compared with the pro's totals but I'm quite pleased that its my total.
Later learnt that I had just missed Brambling at both SMI and the Pier.