Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Red head

My end of month quiz. Name that caterpillar
OK I admit there's no prize and I'm just trying to get an ID as I've exhausted my written info and keyword searches on the moth sites don't seem to work for caterpillars. Red head .....I would of thought it would be easy.

Monday, 28 April 2014

No wry smile

But a bloody big grin as I finally caught up with one of my bogey birds. I have tried for Wryneck four times previously and once at this very same location of Whitley Bay Cemetery. I thought I was on the same result as after an hour no sign and with at least ten birders wandering around things looked bleak.
Then a scurry of activity and ASJ was pointing the bird out to someone. As the throng approached it flew three or four times eventually ending up in one of the gardens alongside the cemetery. Then it re-appeared and I got my first view of it perched in a tree. Magic.
Better was to come as the bird came to the ground and started feeding. All my early shots were from behind the bird and just as I got round the front it flew to the other side of the cemetery. All the birders moved there en mass at unusually low speed showing due respect as a funeral party had just entered the chapel.
The bird was easily re-found and we all enjoyed twenty plus minutes of excellent views as it fed and occasionally posed on gravestones.
Even as we had all had our fill and were heading for home the bird showed well on the path near the gates and became surrounded by watchers. Well worth losing a few hours of work.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Dull but not

Against grey skies this morning a Short eared Owl was driven up high by six Jackdaws.
It tried to return to ground in the favoured location a couple of times but the Jackdaws wouldn't let it be so eventually it soared away to the north and dropped down into the grassland there.
Later a Buzzard was hassled by a Crow as it headed back to it's territory....
and a menage a trois of Mallards were trying to sort out breeding rights.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Moving a bou t

Having spent the morning running round chasing money from clients and writing a couple of final demands I was in a 'good' mood when I received an e mail from Trevor regarding the current bird club bulletin. Just a minor issue, nothing to get hot and bothered about and easily sorted but all the same my blood began to run.
Bloody British Ornithologists Union moving and changing their list yearly and why.....probably because of modern technology they can, so they do. Ok, I admit the moves will all be well founded based on research and new DNA evidence but to the logical among us moving Falcons from the Birds of Prey and jamming them between Woodpeckers and Shrikes (Larks having previously been booted to follow Tits) oh it just gets too much. Strum that steel guitar

I've got the taxonomy blues
I don't know what species name to use
If only I had my half arsed way
I'd bring back order by Voous

Which raises another point, how can anybody write a book or article when it's out of date within a year. I have always feared giving power to quasi official clubs as it so often promotes undue and sometimes mis-guided enthusiasm in their officials. One wonders if asking a committee member of the BOU in future years what they achieved they would be proud to announce they re-named xyz species moved abc species and got sbc booted off because those that didn't see it wouldn't form a quorum.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Chaff dance

Watched this male dancing round his lady for a couple of minutes at the weekend. Lots of Chaffinches counted along with Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Sand Martin added to the 2014 list.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A rubbish post

The Jackdaws nesting in the trees next to my drive certainly collect a variety of objects which they feel should adorn their nest many of which finish up on the ground or on my car. Initially it's all sticks and then horse dung is added presumably as a lining before the 'object de art' start appearing. A favourite are flattened tin cans and plastic trims with bits of netting but also an old belt, syringe, clothes peg and the skull of young Jackdaw presumably from last years brood.
Unfortunately man has a similar habit of dropping rubbish but not so innocently and the second case of fly tipping on the Carr in as many weeks turned up in Mr Pringles field as had the first. I met him this morning and in between many words beginning with f and b I got the impression the culprit would be in danger of his losing his life if caught and quite right too.
The first Whitethroat sang this morning along with many Willow Warblers, a couple of Grasshopper Warblers but no Sedgies as yet. The Curlew flock broke up in the week and from the plaintiff calls from the edges of some fields some pairs have remained to breed. The Golden Plover have moved on with this years gathering being poor in comparison to previous years not really exceeding a hundred or so at peak.

Friday, 18 April 2014

A good start

Three of these on territory this morning with one particularly vociferous. He's in there somewhere honest! I got bored and stopped shooting just a few seconds before he stopped singing.
Redstart back on his patch with some song along with a lonely Willow Tit who's been singing for a week now. 
Yesterday I found a Little Grebe on Banks Pond which is a relief as last year there was none to be found and seemed to have deserted the area. Likewise it's so good to see Lapwings holding territory at four or five locations which compares to last year when I couldn't find any evidence of Lapwing nesting in the locality

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Dove on her second nest of the year just feet from my back window. She sits there unfortunately probably ignorant of the fact that her mate got collared by a wretched cat in the garden this morning. A disgrace that moggy owners will not take responsibility and keep their killers under control. No doubt if I killed the cat there'd be all hell let loose.
Nice clean collar on this White Wagtail at St Mary's Island on Sunday, one of a few passing through the county last weekend.

Monday, 14 April 2014

They're back

So nice to look out of the window this morning and see the local Swallows have returned overnight. Two of them working hard to find food in the lea of the house effortless flight though in the brisk breeze.
The first patch Wheatear yesterday was having similar problems preferring the longer vegetation as likely there were no insects over the windswept horse paddocks.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Patch update

Just ticking as the first Willow Warbler arrived last Sunday but was too busy feeding to give much song or pose. It wasn't till the sun of Friday morning when I got a multiple count of 3 on the bumpy road and two up the bridle track. A Grasshopper Warbler made a half hearted attempt at a reel near the flagpole on the bumpy road but most audible were chipping Snipe which eventually progressed into full display joining the many Meadow Pipit doing the same. The Curlew flock hasn't broken up yet and is around 40-60 moving between the remaining flashwater in the central area and the horse paddocks where the Golden Plover flock varies between 20-200 dependent of tide state and amount of disturbance from the horsey girls.
There are frequent over flights from pairs of Greylag and Canada Geese along with various numbers of Mallard all confirming their pairing for breeding. Two Oystercatcher affirm their partnership with noisy greetings to the west of the horse paddocks where a pair of Lesser Black back Gulls also linger as they have for the last two years.
Earlier in the week I was lucky to catch 9 Crossbill leaving the wood and heading south early morning and a small gathering of around 20 Lesser Redpoll dancing across the top of the pines. No Swallows or Martins in the air yet but Skylark, Buzzard and Heron are regulars as the former will be quite shortly. I found this Pied Wagtail on Friday which appears to unsure as to whether to adopt male or female plumage.
Current pc tally then is 78 with only Peacock and Small Tortoisehell on the butterfly list to date.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Keeping an eye out

From the rooftops
 in the sky
and emerging from your nest site.
Meanwhile I spotted this on dead and de-barked Scots Pine but is it a fungus, an insect nest or just the tree leaking stuff? Maybe I've discovered something new to science and I shall be able to name it Scrotum attachi.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Peak a boo

It couldn't quite believe what it saw the first time

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Rook garden

A number of birds from the local rookery near the vicarage have started visiting my garden on a daily basis having found my stash of food for the Collared Doves on the back roof they have now got up the courage to descend into the garden to raid the feeders which I now often find on their side.
A few years ago I had a bird that learnt how to unhook the peanut feeder and drop it to the ground for easier access so we'll see what other mischief this lot get up to.
That's quite some beak if it wants to cause damage.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Two ticks in two tics

Having driven around Blaydon mid afternoon looking for the birds reported on Birdguides what were the odds of finding a Waxwing on my own patch? There it was though sitting on the sparsest bush but one of the few remaining with any berries and the attitude suggested it wasn't going to move.
I didn't press the point and gave it some space but the bird remained there for at least fifteen minutes when GB found it for the Big Waters crew two of whom are currently basking in Portugal watching Azure winged Magpies and avoiding all this murk lucky buggers. Just as I turned to leave for home a calling Redshank lifted from the horse fields and headed off south back to the Tyne.

Thursday, 3 April 2014


The weather seems to be building a log jam of birds returning to Scandinavia. The last few nights there have been large flocks of Starlings and Fieldfare which when disturbed from feeding in the fields sit high up in the trees at the top of the bridle track and form a chorus.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


No broadband in much of Dinnington so it's out with the phone.
Tonight 28 Pinkfoot Geese beside 2 resident Greylags in the horse paddocks with Golden Plover and Curlew calling. Large Starling and Fieldfare flock up the range track with pairs of Ducks and up to five Herons flying around.
PS Ah back home and I'm re-connected after days so type face re-configured and photo's added. Apparently the lighting storm last Friday shorted out much of the area and Openreach have been here ever since trying to sort it out. I've heard that the main box in many houses was blown and that BT are quoting £285 to repair it when the face plate where the blown capacitor is located can be renewed for £12.95. Good old rip off Britain.