Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tree toppers

Young Tree Sparrows in my garden this morning being fed by the pair that nested in a box normally used by Blue Tits although last year it contained Bees. Three young at least all a bit soggy due to the weather but being well tended by the parents.
Interestingly Blue and Great Tits have been rare in the garden over the last two weeks returning with young over the last couple of days indicating breeding in the locality but not particularly close. The garden list this year isn't bad with two of three nest each for Starling and Blackbird successful with the Blackbirds still going strong but no second attempts by the Starlings. Two Jackdaw nests and five or more House Sparrows all now fledged and young Robin seen in garden but couldn't confirm the nest site. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Yaffle on wood

I finally caught up with the Green Woodpecker that's been yaffling since February. Unfortunately as it is still calling I guess it hasn't found a mate
Great Tit feeding it's young at nest in this post for last three years. This species seems to have a preference for vertical entry tubes
 and a couple of twittered images from Druridge
A number of male Ruff in full plumage still present.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Hare today

Yes still here. Well trained hares on my patch
but gone in a bound

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Lap dance

Male Lapwing at Druridge today with an impressive crest
Doing lots of scraping to attract a mate
Of course it doesn't matter how big your crest is or how much you scrape the female of the species can remain totally indifferent.
Just too close to the peepers in the Budge screen darling
Or maybe it was my comb over blowing in the wind

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Reeling it

Fortunate to find a newly arrived Grasshopper Warbler giving it what for
Not usual on my patch for them to sing from a bush
But early in the season their enthusiasm can get the better of them
Little cracker

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Saturday, 9 April 2016


There I was at Cresswell standing near the causeway minding my own business when the long staying bill turned up
Did I read somewhere it had been displaying to a Redshank
Maybe its a Dohwitcher

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Out west

I spent the weekend trudging the patch looking for Wheatear and Willow Warbler without success. Still large flocks of Fieldfare 250+ and Golden Plover 500+ with a few Chiffchaff singing / calling. In desperation I headed to the very west extreme and found two Sand Martin returned to the Ponteland colony and a bonus of Dipper on the Pont which along with a Feral Pigeon brought the PC2016 list to 89.
May as well be shooting in black and white given the photo results.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Old man

After a week of not seeing a Short-eared Owl I found this one perched on Thursday evening. Very pale head colour probably indicates older male coming into breeding plumage. It did a wing stretch and the flame colouring was spectacular but I missed the shot and apologise for the amount of noise on the picture taken as light was fading. Watched the bird for 3/4 of an hour until just before eight when low and behold two others appeared out of the grass. All three spiraled up to about 100ft then headed off north to hunt.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Blyth Red Throated Diver

Nice to see in the harbour but still in winter garb
Typical pose for RTD
Thinking about it
and back off out to sea

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Wheatears are late

As an early report of Common Tern came in from Hebburn I sat down and plotted some graphs from data extracted from Birds in Northumbria for return dates of summer visitors over the last 20 years (as if I had nothing else better to do) First Sand Martin on 25th is a week late for their mode of 19th
 First Swallow yesterday 26th a keen individual couple of days early?
and where are the tardy Wheatears. Already a week late but in Durham so likely ahead of the abnormal 2013 performance and of course this is just gathered from social media. Some soul will be sitting on  a record from Cheviot no doubt.
Interesting enough though I see no signs of the tendency to arrive earlier that I had anticipated.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


For real migrants that is. The Curlew flock has peaked over 50 and so nice to hear their calls along with the Skylark song. Six Oystercatchers made enough noise for twenty as they chased yesterday afternoon and a three Greylag Geese added to the cacophony. The Golden Plovers have departed for higher ground as may have the Short eared Owls but a scattering of Lapwings remain, hopefully to breed. Most birds moving as pairs with the Willow Tits excavating a new nest and one other bird visiting the garden.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Digging it

Having sorted the first successful moth trapping of March with appropriately March Moth and Early Moth caught, I headed out into pleasant sunshine on Saturday morning with Skylarks, Song Thrush and Reed Bunting singing. Both Robin and Dunnock were abundant a Robin at my house on Friday evening having sung well after dark only stopping around 9.45pm 
A good count was made with Gulls noticeable by their absence. A duck out of water patrolled the bumpy road but late in the day a check on Banks Pond brought No 82 on the PC 2016 list with a pair of Shoveller
I spent a good five minutes listening to this bird singing its wonderful delicate whistful song with its back to me and then it turned around to reveal it was a female. I didn't know female Bullfinches sang but apparently they do.

Sunday, 6 March 2016


Feeders on the Carr and in my garden attracting large numbers of birds as natural sources dwindle. Robin may be turning just a bit orangey but still got the attitude
Up the bridleway plenty of high vis as works on maintaining the culvert continue. Seems a bit overkill but no doubt the floods have taken their toll
Overflying Cormorants are becoming more frequent on patch with three already this year and number four decided to drop in for a dip at Banks Pond.

Sunday, 28 February 2016


A splendid sunny Saturday morning saw Skylarks, Chaffinch and an early Reed Bunting singing. The Curlews are back though not very vocal yet but two Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed in the wood and the Green Woodpecker yaffled again although moved quite widely in the wood then over to the garden centres.
Sitting on a fence post preening was a Peregrine which took to the air after a while and soared over toward the Airport. Number 81 on the PC2016 list and one of three I've seen in the last week at various locations in the county so hopefully signs of a return to numbers following years of persecution.
Up the bridle track they're carrying out maintenance on the brick culvert next to the sentry box and further on two Treecreepers were feeding on opposite sides of the track but given away by constant contact calls.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Great Start

2016 has rolled up a healthy 80 species on Prestwick Carr to date without any summer migrants so I would expect to roll through the hundred mark mid summer. This week saw a much sought after Tawny Owl make it easy for me by perching on the line outside my house looking to make a meal of the Sparrows and Starlings roosting in the conifer trees no doubt. Earlier in the week the first Curlew returned and a visit to the wood yesterday found Woodcock and Siskin but no Crossbill or Squirrels unfortunately.
If the wet conditions remain I dream of passage waders flooding in to join the 300+ Golden Plover and 50-100 or so Lapwing (subject to tide conditions) on the horse fields.

Friday, 12 February 2016

All you need is stubble

On Sunday driving out of Knowesgate past the shoe tree a flash of orangey back caught my eye in the hedgerow. I slammed on the brakes much to my mothers disapproval and reversed where I got a view of five to ten Brambling before they cut the corner off the field and disappeared from view. This species rarer than hens teeth  this winter I took the first opportunity to return to the spot parking in a gate which opened into a stubble field. Immediately flocks of birds lifted ff the ground before settling back. Two or three Skylarks were singing and then on the passage of a Land Rover up the road a throng of birds emerged from the grass. I counted 21 Skylark and hundreds of finches which perched high up in the trees next to the road. Closer inspection revealed them to be Brambling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Redpoll with other large flocks of Starlings, Meadow Pipits and Corvids also present. Just as I got settled to watch the throng was flushed by a Sparrowhawk who hunted in the most inept fashion fluttering with legs dangling as if confused by the amount of prey darting around him. The Brambling fortunately gathered atop one particular tree where I counted at least thirty.
If only more stubble was left over winter I'm sure many endangered species like Yellowhammer would stage a major recovery.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Winter kit

Checked Blyth south harbour for snobs yesterday but only found a flock of large gulls battling with Cormorant and Eider for fish guts being thrown off a boat. Hoping there was an Iceland in among them I check closely but only on bird stood out.
A winter plumage Kittiwake was the only small gull in the flock and seemed quite adept at choosing good moments to fly through the squabbling gulls to pluck its food from the water.
Then the flock lifted and the reason was soon apparent