That's all I'm getting this week. Drowning under work and it looks like the weekend and Bank Holiday are seriously in danger. Intermittent Internet connection isn't helping so just a Swift one then from a couple of days ago.
Interesting times this morning with many young birds just leaving their nests. Best of all was a pair of Willow Tit feeding at least three young. They were so noisy I feared for their future however 100 yards down the road two young Magpies were just fledging from their nest so hopefully the adults would be to busy to notice.
It's a tough world out there so maybe just stay in here a day longer.
Earlier No 100 on the 2012 Prestwick Carr list just failed to evade being photographed. Common Tern heading back toward Big Waters I suspect.
A nice east breeze to keep the temperature comfortable and the range flags full.
Another hot day to make up for the first three weeks of misery in May. Good job for the east wind just taking the edge of scorchio. Still, after moaning about the cold it's now too hot for some. I'm off to see what I can find.
Two days of sun and what a diference. The sky is full of screaming Swifts. Tonight two Pipistrelles fed behind my house as the new moon grew in the north west along with Venus. The Blue Tits have taken advantage of a bounty of green caterpillars and are feeding their young once a minute! The sun set to a chiaroscuro horizon. Perfect if I didn't have to wake up to the same shit I dealt with today............. tomorrrow.
On the Carr the larder was full of tasty morsels. Three or more Whimbrel remain. The first time I've known them to do so and they are behaving the same as the Curlew so possibly a breeding attempt may be the result. Whitethroat, Willows and Sedgies in abundance but Grasshoppers low possibly due to the recent flooding. At least three Blackcap territories up the range bridleway and a similar number of displaying Snipe.
Ducks and Oystercatcher still present and I just caught this Mallard + 9 crossing the range bridleway. Butterflies for the first time in abundance this year with my first Wall Brown, numerous Orange Tip plus Peacock, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell to boot.
Yes the suns out and here I am stuck in front of the computator. This little splash of Yellow is of course Grey Wagtail, one of a nice pair found at Plessey Woods Country Park on an abortive hunt for Red rumped Swallow at the weekend.
Not much on the local patch at the moment with two Redshank and two Oystercatcher being the only remaining waders now the flood is largely gone. Did catch sight of this little blighter at Mayfair Cottage. Still a few around from the mink farm at Kirkely Mill that closed a good few years ago so now a resident population. I understand at least three have been shot recently in the locality.
The male Redstart was singing full tilt last night and giving tantalising glimpses as it fed in the willows. I assume the female may be close by on the nest and I've possibly got the location although won't be certain till they start feeding young.
Cracking bird but a shame he's so shy. Maybe he will relax as I'm sure he's got used to me watching him.
Some better weather conditions may help without backlit greyness and a stiff breeze.
Saturday mornings sunshine was more than welcome and my usual wander was pleasant if a little too warm as I still had the lining in my coat. The flood had been topped up by the recent rain but Whimbrel were the only birds of note. I can't remember multiple birds staying for this length of time before and wonder if they would breed like the Curlew whose flock has now largely broken up with pairs dispersed over the farmland to the north. This Mistle Thrush is one of a pair holding territory at Mayfair Cottage and has been on his own of late so I suspect she's on the nest.
He spend most of his time either in the trees keeping watch or feeding in the paddock to the west and if Crows or Magpies come close the usual battle ensues.
It always pays to keep an eye out for the neighbours when they fly over.
There's still three Wheatear in the horse paddocks and I saw quite a few up the coast yesterday afternoon in pursuit of some Birdguide reports. In preparation for seeing some 'hot' birds I took the lining out of my coat and of course.......froze my butt off. British summertime eh!
Overshot a meeting a site visit at Heddon yesterday and went up to Whittle Dene where the Grebes were looking good.
If you go round in circles really fast you can create a whirlpool you know. The main target of my visit, Yellow Wagtail was heard but only seen in flight disappearing into the rape. Pretty good cover for a yellow bird!
The Common Terns are back and vocal with some courting chases going on. Unfortunately the greyness flattened any good flight shots. For some reason the Agency has the northern reservoir drained down four feet or so for maintenance. Hope it doesn't disturb their nesting although last time I looked their raft was nearly at the shore line.
Back on patch somebody in a horse box had found out the meaning of soft verges. Today god is trying to fill up that reservoir again and topping up the flood on the Carr to boot. Hopefully I'll get a Yellow Wag here or better still one of the birds I've been told I've missed over the last week. Green Sand, Wood Sand, Garganey, Greenshank, Whinchat and another big bird. I know I had an exceptional week last week but I'm greedy and if I'd seen everything that has been present I'd be on 105! Actual count 97 and hoping.
After weeks of waiting and only one of each species present on Friday this morning saw wall to wall Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers. At least six territorries of each up the range bridleway and a similar number along the bumpy road plus three or four Groppers and numerous Willow Warblers.
Notwithstanding all the singing the Whitethroats were obviously straight down to nest building with this bird repeatedly returning to this branch then down onto the ground nearby.
Sedge Warblers perching nicely on occasion although the shrubery in this instance got in the way of the composition.
Upon which subject...........
the pair of Redstarts just choose to tease me. I'll get them yet!
I managed to arrange a job visit up the county this afternoon so after work headed to Hauxley to see what was about. The north wind was howling round the Ponteland hide and I could have been in the high arctic given the temperature. The usual Greylags were about, one pair with four young, Shelduck, Tufties, Teal and a Heron to amuse me till a pair of geese dropped in.
One of the long staying Bar headed Geese at Hauxley appears to have taken up with a Greylag and he/she was giving it some stick at one stage despite a slight disadvantage in stature.
Eventually they both started to call as the usual prelude to heading off in flight possibly to create a Barlag Goose.
Dodgy shot but my first Common Sandpiper of the year fed around the pond
There I was watching a big bird being mobbed by Crows when there was a commotion of Gull and Heron calls to my right and a unmistakable profile hoved into view.
I watched as it flew high in front of me ignoring all the hangers on when it suddenly turned toward me and looked like it was going to land back on the flooded fields.
It did a circuit but as two Herons approached it turned again and flew sedately away off North.
As you can see from the colours of the images I was battling with exposure looking up into a sky that for once had some patches of blue and upon return home was dissappointed with the photographic results but cock a hoop with the experience.
sad old loner totally p****d off with life, work and modern society hence the propensity to head off into the wilds to escape.
Photos taken with Canon 500D and (from 14.06.13) Tamron 70-300 zoom following the demise of my Canon zoom.