Friday, 29 June 2012

When grown men go arrrh...and gulls from down south.

 The South Marine park walk yesterday (in-between a drop of rain or two!) was a pleasant one after being couped up for days it seems. Once the treed area had been looked at on the wander I spied what looked like a rubber toy duck on the water near the island.....(You can find some strange off-casts in the water here).
Bins up and theres two,and they are alive! They swam around calling but no sign of parents ,It seemed their fate was doomed as the the gulls looked on with interest.

The better news is they did have a family we discovered when we returned a little later, after not wanting to watch the fate they may have had on our first once around. Mixed parents with 6 ducklings in tow, and many another visitor here today enjoyed this experience.
First off-spring water bird wise Ive seen here this year.Cannot believe this was a special one but i am easy pleased with local sightings like this.

Sadly only one yellow duckling remains after a visit today, as expected.
Looks like these two Herring gulls I reported are on the move North...(it makes sense).
This ones history-

And the gull belows history-

Interesting stuff! and always great to hear about the birds you report.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Farnes yesterday

 Its been far too long since a visit to the Northumberland nesting seabird colony was had for myself and her in doors, 3/4 years for myself and longer for the better half. So having closely watched the weather forecast for days, off we went yesterday after seeing what today and the weekend had in store weather wise.
We had wanted to do the all day event but that was out of our price range so we made the most of a 2 and half hour trip. Once at Seahouses we headed for our favourite pit stop here to re-fuel ,Coxons cafe, a excellent establishment we've used a few times in the past before boarding a boat.. A couple of Bacon butties with liquid refreshments enjoyed here then it was down to the harbour.
A 30 minute delay with the departure of the boat gave us time to take in the Eiders with young around the harbour area and a insight to just how busy it was here this day.
 One of the calmest crossings was had that we have encountered and probably just as well as the boat was fully loaded. The sights and sounds just got better and better the nearer we approached and then the sea cliffs and stacks came into! cannot tire from seeing masses of birds like this!.

 The normal cracking tour around the islands taking in all the excellent sights.
 Landing on Inner Farne and only having a hour here I knew it would be a bit of a whistle stop tour so had to try and make the most of it, the Island was packed with visitors the most Ive ever seen here.
 The Arctic terns where in fine form....great stuff!
 The south end view point next to the lighthouse gave close encounters as always and the smell here added to the atmosphere.
 Shag families within touching distance.
Puffins a plenty diving into burrows with beak fulls of food trying to avoid the gulls, looks funny to us but not so funny to them with young to feed.
 My Arctic tern badge,would be rude to leave without one
I armed the better half with our normal digi camera on this visit to capture a "different" type view of the day and what we experienced, I have to say she did a canny job.(might post a few another time).
The shot above sums up what some of the visitors did for a little protection from the Arctic terns ( you would think it was raining!)..we also seen Umbrellas, water bottles and bags being waved about, turban type efforts being made...etc.
This brings me to the short talk the warden gave before anyone on our boat set foot on Inner Farne (the same one this time every year). The looks on some folks faces regarding Terns acting in a defence type mode was a picture, obviously many a visitor comes unprepared or unaware. Its all part of the Farnes experience in ours and many other visitors eyes, after all you are entering their world and should feel honoured to be allowed to.!

Double birthday celebration for us.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Scotchy delights

This was my first visit of the (Butterfly/other things on the wing) year to this little site on the outer reaches of the river Don in Jarrow. Its lies between a housing est.(Scotch est) and the A19 and Ive spent many a hour down "the dene" in my youth,as most kids did (and still do) growing up around this area.
I had about a hour here today wandering back and forth and what a pleasure it was. I had came here with Banded Demioselles in mind this morning as this is a great site Ive found over the years for them. I found 3 males here today and these took a little finding, mainly settled on brambles and not in the longer grass as usually here.
 Stunning critters these insects.!
 Counted 5 Dingy Skippers in this dene today, this I believe to be the first record of these butterflies at this site.? First for me here anyway!
 At least 8 male Orangetips
 Only saw one Speckled wood, other futterbyes- I Common blue and large and small whites.
 At least 4 Chimney sweeper moths...not seen these here before either!
And this beauty- a Ruby tiger moth...cannot remember seeing one of these before.
Excellent short visit and I'll be back soon hopefully.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Little belters..

 My first visit of the year to Crimdon dene beach today to have a look in on the Little terns. Normally I don't visit here this early in June, its usually towards the end of this month when the terns are in full feeding mode with chicks, but thought I would visit here earlier for a change today. As always a pleasure to watch these little gems on this public beach and pleased to say it looks like the fenced off area is made larger each year I visit.
 These couple of shots do not do these birds or this site justice, but hopefully I will be back here in a few weeks time to try for more.
 Its just magical to watch wave after wave of these birds coming and going from the nesting area here in the height of the breeding season.

 And the Ringed Plovers take full advantage of the fenced off area also.
Plenty of Common Blues on the wing around the dunes here today and a few Small Heaths.

Some good news from Mr DC when we had the pleasure again....77 pairs of Little gems so far counted and a few more to follow we hope going off some of the other non-nesting birds behaviour witnessed here.

Quick look at Blackhall rocks on the way back whilst enjoying refreshments from the north car park.- 2 Black- throated divers loafing about further out than 2/3 Red- throated. ...Nice!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Enjoying Marsden (again)

 Back down the Marsden beach again today after doing a "u" turn when entering Trow...I had forgot about the kids being off school and the quarry was chocka. Thankfully Marsden wasn't too bad regarding visiting folk and I was soon standing in my favourite low tide position for more target practise of black and white fast flying bombs...
Noisy neighbours
 Plenty of activity as you would expect and a lot more to come in the next few months. What did seem a little disappointing was the Sand Martin colony which looks to be down in number from the last couple of years.Time will tell.
 Only here about 30 minutes but my mate enjoyed himself as well.
Yesterday was a major milestone for the Whitburn ponds project when this Greenshank was picked up here by Jason(sparking a mini twitch here). Its the first canny wader for this new site, in fact only the second wader spotted here that I know off...a couple of Dunlin being the first when the ponds where still under construction. Lets hope for more!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Spug hugging

 Whilst a few brave folk braved the mountains and moorlands of far off places looking for Peregrines. I took the opportunity of wandering abit closer to home on a couple of Tree spuggy ringing sessions in the Durham county. The first day had to be abandoned due to the wet conditions but still a canny few pulli where ringed before this so we returned a couple of days later to complete the task.......and more.
The spuggies (and other species plus all nature enthusiasts) have a certain Jimmy the nest box maker to thank for his tireless work and commitment regarding nesting birds. This bloke is a fit as f**k for his age and puts many of us 10-20+ years younger folk to shame! he's a canny rattler.
The first site we visited I had ventured to before, the next I did'nt have a clue where I was(nor did Jason who was on the second outing) but we where told its a old stomping ground of a few Durham lads and I could why with all the normal Warblers including Lesser white, Partridges, Yellowhammers etc..... just a fantasic habitat with natural farmland also.

Two broods of Kestrels where processed from nest boxes, 5 chicks in each.

We also visited a small woodland area on our travels (again nee idea where?) and this resulted in seeing-
Dipper, Tawny owl, Tree pipit, Redstart and Garden warbler of note. Plus Otter crap and footprints found.

This morning I went along to a public park in the Newcastle area, a place ive not been to for a while. Really nice park and lovely short walk but best of all was sitting watching pairs of Dipper and Grey Wagtail here.(mental note made to myself ; remember to take ya camera next time!).