Thursday, 29 November 2012


There was a nice moon last night and alongside was Jupiter shining bright. I took the shot but the brightness of the moon meant Jupiter was just a faint smudge on the photograph so I have cheated and enhanced the planet with a few pixels of brightness. This is pretty typical of my recent attempts and I seem to be going through a duff photogh phase. Either that or dropping the camera the other day really did have some effect!
I was at Cresswell yesterday and although the Jack Snipe had disappeared and the Long tailed Ducks (there's now two) were far distant I was pleased when a family group of six Whoopers came in from the sea to be followed by 26 more. They stayed about half an hour coming close to the hide but all the shots were 50 shades of grey with a hint of yellow. They flew off leaving five Red breasted Mergansers and many hundreds of Wigeon to patrol the pond. Thousands of Pink footed geese were in the fields to the north with Barn Owl and Short eared owl hunting the dunes near where I had been parked just an hour ago ...drat.
The Barn Owl causes worry as it hunts the roadside where fortunately most vehicles were maintaining a reasonable speed due to the flooding. (An aside after recent events. Do todays drivers trully not realise that car engines do not run when immersed in water? They should have had my old Cortina whose ignition light glowed when even close to a puddle!)
Anyway it got me to thinking about Barn owl road kills. I am fortunate to have the NTBC records at hand and so far this year there have been ten reported Barn Owl road fatalities in Northumberland which seemed high so I checked back. In 2011 there were just four but in 2010 there were nine so perhaps this rate of attrition is normal. I would put the reduced number in 2011 due to the lack of birds after the harsh winter. Of these 23 deaths the A1 accounted for almost half with eleven. A good reason not to build trunk routes next to coastal margins or just inevitable due to volume of traffic.


  1. I was standing admiring the sky last night with a bright "star" almost on top of the moon. I thought it might be Jupiter so thanks for that Peter.

  2. Had Margaret locked you out again John?

    Peter why didn't you focus on Jupiter and then brighten up the Moon ? If Carole had read your article I'm sure she would have come up with that gem of a tip.


  3. Peter,
    I hope you listen to John........he's a superb photographer. He doesn't put the good ones on his blog.

  4. Gentlemen (Codders/JK/Peter) - as ever you have entertained. It's 5:37 am, the dog had me up an hour ago as she wanted a 'garden visit' and whinged when I put her back to bed. So it's a cuppa and the computer and out to work for 6:15 am. And as soon as I get seated, she's gone back to her bed!!!!

  5. It's a dogs life, they reckon.
    Can i have two please?

  6. Peer,
    There is a discussion going on on the CCG forum re. a cross eyed Shortie that's one of two the local birders have got over in So. Shields. Can you shed some light on the subject for them as one or two seem to recognise it from Prestwick Carr from last year. Here is a link.

  7. I don't recall any strange looking eyes but there were some plumage differences and one was ringed. I think they may be overthinking as the birds can appear crosseyed when they stare at you in alarm because the tufts go up and the brow comes down making the dark iris in the eye appear offset to the centre. I'll have a look through my photos though.