Thursday, 30 April 2015

die Wespe

This dirty great big wasp dropped down in front of me as I was gazing out of the window the other day. Must be a queen I guess and the equal spacing of the twin yellow marks on the thorax my book tells me are typical of the German wasp Vespula germanica. I didn't mention the war. Fifty years today since Adolf did the only decent thing, probably the only decent thing he did.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Wh hey

Wh itethroat. First one today
Wh imbrel. One of two last night
Wh eatear one remains today of seven present last night

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Blessed with water but not always where it's needed

This mornings count interrupted by the rain that was forecast just as I got onto a nice male Blackcap on the bridle track one of three found. Why does it always start to rain when I'm as far from home as possible? Good morning though with Willow Warbler numbers in double figures at least 4 Grasshopper Warblers and 5 Sedge Warbler singing but no Whitethroat as yet. I notice that the past few hot days have brought the Hawthorn into full bloom and dried up the flashes on the Carr. Two Wheatear were patrolling the remains of one but it looks, as in previous years, that the chance of any more passage waders is slim. Meanwhile at home I have a new water feature in the front garden courtesy of a leak from the mains connection. Good job I wasn't on a meter as it must have been running for weeks before the garden become waterlogged and became obvious.
I may just keep the trench dug to channel the water away and see if I get any toads. This one took advantage of this mornings shower to cross the bumpy road
Meanwhile this Blackbird has taken advantage of the island status acquired by my Berberis bush and has built a nest. Every cloud has a silver lining eh!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Which way to turn?

This chap just about ran right up to me last evening
Then got into a bit of a quandary about which way to go
You'd think the sun was in his eyes not mine

Monday, 20 April 2015


Two Yellow Wagtails was a splendid way to end a super Saturday although this shot was taken Sunday evening when no less than five Yellows were present in the horse paddocks with numerous Pied and a single Wheatear. Managed to muck up most of the shots although audio was the mode of the day on Saturday with a very early Cuckoo calling behind the wood morning and evening. Also in song male Redstart at the ruin and Sedge Warbler at the top gate on the bridleway but all managed to shut up the moment I attempted to record their song. Willow Warblers leaped into the teens with the unusual occurrence of standing below one singing in a tree whilst watching a flock of 20+ Fieldfare feeding in in a field at the top of the range bridleway. Always a good spot for late thrushes. There are still 100+ Golden Plover and Curlew some of whom are doing convincing Whimbrel noises but yet to get a positive ID. Eventually after spending most of the day out I ended up with 58 species including 5 new bringing the PC 2015 list up to 90. Now where's those Whitethroats and Swifts.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Together today

Willow Warbler

and a couple of Buzzards

Friday, 17 April 2015


Mountains of work and more problems mean I'm missing out again on the best weeks of the year. My Collared Dove pair on attempt No 3 keep an eye on me just in case I get distracted as I often do. Yesterday morning it was a Peregrine circling high behind my house when it must have spotted something and went into the stoop disappearing from view toward the north. Wednesday evening I got an hour on the Carr at dusk and was rewarded with two Little Ringed Plover on the flash south west of Mayfair Cottage. Also two Shelduck courting, four Oystercatcher and twenty plus Curlew some making Whimbrel noises but I wasn't convinced. Hunted ten or more Pied Wagtail for a White one but no joy. All were photographed but just dots in the distance. Hopefully the weekend may bring some respite however I somehow doubt it.
With the purpose of getting and giving bird sighting info I've also taken to Twittering however am a bit bemused by the protocol and not sure if I can tolerate it. Facebook got booted ages ago in the interests of anonymity.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Going Quakers

Well the moth traps working and even on a poor night like that just gone a return of 14 of I think 5 species. Excluding the Pug that is hiding in my back bedroom and will be retrieved when it heads for the window at dusk, good number of Quakers, Clouded Drab and Hebrew Character. But then you spend the day puzzling over type. I think on the left Powdered and right Common so centre?
And from two days ago Small with Common
An other outstanding from earlier in the month is this I which I have yet to determine but suspect somewhere in the house moth brigade 
and when out on Friday I found this wee critter (about 5mm long) but despite the distinctive pattern can't find it in any of my multitude on books although Shield Bug seems to fit.
The question is, has a rod been fashioned for the inquisitive backside?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

At last, a bit of a damp squib

Yes, after a weeks searching first Willow Warbler on the Carr this morning but singing 100 yards away in the wood in grey, bleak, windy conditions so no great joy of spring was engendered. I had to search through my archives to find an image of said species with hedgerow in the state of bloom that it is currently so possibly goes some way to explaining the late arrival. Normally I get a WW on the day or day after they start being reported in the county but JPD at Swallow Pond had one on the 8th and has had multiple counts since.
This prompted me to update my arrival date spreadsheet with Birds in Northumberland 2012 records, a year on which arrival of the early species was also delayed by weather conditions with Sand Martin, Swallow, Wheatear, Wood Warbler and Willow Warbler all arriving on the latest date recorded since the records started in 1994. Willow Warbler generally arrives in the first week of April with five years having birds in March the earliest being 25th in 1999. 11th April 2012 was the latest so we were getting close this year.
Watch out in Northumberland this week as the rush could start which is highly likely as I'm snowed under with work and unable to get out as much as I want! PC list ticking along at 82 to date with Sheldduck and Feral Pigeon along with WW added today.

Friday, 10 April 2015

W but no WW

I've been out early every morning this week before the torment starts always accompanied by the glorious sounds of bird display Snipe, Lapwing, Curlew, even one Redshank and territorial song Wren, Song Thrush, Linnet, Greenfinch, Dunnock and Robins who occasionally have added a descending note on the end sounding like Willow Warbler but that species remains absent. 
This Goldcrest was giving it what for this morning
This male Wheatear on Monday / Tuesday was the only notable migrant until I got close to home this morning when my first Swallow was seen hawking over the back gardens. Bring on the warblers!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Some serious lurv going on in the sun at Banks Pond yesterday. The pond edge was a heaving mass of toads getting jiggy with each other
These two were a bit shy and retired to the privacy of the grass to avoid 'hangers on' but nearly got stood on for their trouble.
It really is quite tiring old chap
Afterwards a lounge in the pool to cool down the bits
Adopting this position presumably gives greater access to those parts requiring refreshment

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Sitting pretty

Whilst chatting away on the platform yesterday afternoon this Weasel  cast an eye over the birds under the feeders
 and an hour or so following a trail of eaten fir cones led to this chap.

Friday, 3 April 2015


What's good about Friday. Nowt. Lost to weather and work. I did however manage to grab an hour in the sun at Hauxley yesterday
Nice that they have attempted to drain the reserve just in time for a years closure. 
Guess where the rare waders will turn up this year.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Spring has sprung

the flowers is ris, 
I wonder where the birdies is?
Hiding from the bleeding weather if they have any sense.