Friday, 31 October 2014


Could be but the picture is deceiving as the Robin was sunbathing and the Wren was doing its level best to move it on. Just so happened it stopped to glare at me before continuing to hop around the Robin.
The warm weather has meant moths continue to be attracted to my light with Blairs shoulder knot and Feathered Thorn most frequent but this Mottled Umber hiding on the dash was nice.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Would you believe it?

To continue on the theme of photographic failure the Hauxley Kingfisher pitched up whilst I was watching the Long tailed Duck. It flew straight to the outfall calling but hidden from view for most of the time although briefly perched in a bush next to the hide directly between me and the sun!!!!
It was only when I 'enhanced' this in Photoshop that I realised it had eyeballed me
Oh well lets settle for an atmospheric silhouette

Monday, 27 October 2014

Getting your land legs

Sitting in the Ponteland hide at Hauxley on Saturday chatting to a nice bloke from the deep south (Wiltshire I think he said) I was giving him the dubious benefit of my knowledge on idiots burning down hides, creation of Saltmarsh at Hauxley and how to spot a Long tailed Duck that was as usual staying about as far away from any shoreline as possible. 'Difficult to get observers onto them as they are constantly diving' I said. Best time is to wait till they have a preen. 'Yes' he said 'it's doing that now' and shortly after 'and it's getting out of the pond'. I started as sea ducks don't on my experience get out but there it was initially bathing in the shallows and then fully out.
Apologies for the duff photos but proof is needed and as it preened it lost its balance two or three times indicating it was not used to being a land lubber. After a couple of minutes it returned to the middle of the pond and resumed diving mode.

Friday, 24 October 2014


I looked out of the window this morning and there the young Sparrowhawk that's adopted my garden was sitting in the sun overlooking the feeders. Most of the week it's been through the garden twice a day sometimes staying for hours.
I'm sure its not doing the health of other birds any good but it's saving me a fortune in feed although that may be changing as despite alarm calls from Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and Wren pairs of Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit remained close by with occasional birds making a dash to the sunflower hearts right below the perched Sparrowhawk
It kept an eye on the birds at the feeder but made no attempt to attack them, possibly well fed or maybe just not so good at hunting yet.
Is that a death stare or a look of frustration / puzzlement?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Blue stripes

Anybody confirm what this is?...I'm thinking Grisette but the blue striping seems very heavy. Cap about 3cm gills white

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Crept in

Waited for the light to go but No 113 on the PC 2014 list Treecreeper.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Slipping in

Saturday morning and the unseasonably warm weather has not stopped the onward creep of winter with small flocks of Redwing arriving overnight and disturbed from their roosts in groups of three to forty as I walked up the bridleway. Unusually quiet with very little of their normal seep and kek contact calling but typically nervous for new arrivals with a approach distance of 30m the best before they took to the air and headed off south.
This pic is therefore from the archive the giveaway being the frost on the branches. One of the benefits of living on the edge of town is that despite the lack of frost the local mice (Wood not House) have decided to come indoors and having become lax over summer in replacing the lids on my bird feed I've now twice delved in only to find a nest being created. One particularly cocky individual took to sitting in front of the television whilst I watched of course making a hasty exit the moment I moved. Humane traps have been deployed and as usual I have not seen or heard a mouse since. A better benefit is that on four nights last week a very vocal female Tawny Owl has been hunting the paddock at the bottom of the garden being encourage by a hooting male on Thursday when the warm evening tempted me to do some mothing with two Angle Shades and a Pine Carpet recorded before the rain started. What do moths do when they get caught out in the rain?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Not the ideal tool

for scratching the back of your neck!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Signs of recovery

Delighted to see a male Stonechat on my patch this morning and better still that it was singing with a female nearby. Lost as a breeding bird after the two harsh winters hopefully this shows signs of re-settlement.
Also in a clump of these weeds (name anyone) halfway up the bridle track a flock of feeding Tree Sparrows has been growing over the last week and this morning numbered at least 40. It's difficult to get close without flushing them but splendid to see such good numbers fly off and return when you're gone.
Call Taggart.... there's a murder. Plenty of Crows about mainly waiting for one of the five Kestrels to pester. Other counts included a flock of 18 Snipe flying in tight formation round the back of the wood which is generally a sign that there's a raptor about, fifteen Robin territories up the bumpy road, thirteen Long tailed Tits and at least four Goldcrest.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Keeping your eye on things

Not even a blink as the head hit the water but no doubt protective eye lids at work for the resident Little Egret at Cresswell.
I wonder how long before it heads south as the cold creeps in although with the amount of food it was getting it may not bother.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A mother of a goose

Hauxley yesterday this monster is still there but spending most of its time alone at the south end of the reserve away from he flock of Greylag Geese.
Not quite right for a real one and well out it's range in eastern asia makes you wonder who lost it.
It spent a lot of time drinking whilst I watched although the water is very brackish at this end of the reserve so can't have been that thirst quenching.
Out on the Carr this morning and two Whooper Swan over south brings the list to 112.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

There's the gap

Saturdays count on the Carr was noticeable for the absentees as despite counting forty one species 39 of these were resident and only two migrants. The boys of summer have left and the winter chaps have yet to arrive. It took me two hours to find a Swallow as most of the local birds must have gone Thursday/Friday. Eventually I found a group of twenty feeding in the lee of the wood but they soon rose to a height and moved off south. Only the Chiffchaff of the previous post could be counted as another migrant. Skylarks were very verbal overhead but I think this was local movement. Blackbirds are now scarce and Thrushes more so as we await the nordic influx. Possible signs of Collared Doves moving today as twenty or more were near the White Swan Pub this afternoon and I was most jealous of Dicks sighting of Turtle Dove at Druridge.