Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Terned out nice again

 After a quick visit to Whitburn steel area this early afternoon and seeing a adult Roseate and juv. here at a bit of a distance, I had a wander along the Pier at 7 tonight....Now this is more like it! I thought, as I viewed the beach from the pier.Hardly anyone on the beach, plus terns were rested up near the pier end of the beach here. Adult Roseate picked up almost straight away with the 15 or Common terns here, a scan of the mainly Juvs here on this visit revealed a juv. Roseate also. But the frenzy of terns feeding further along the pier grabbed my attention more so ventured forth. Around 70 terns (mainly Common's, very few Sandwich) were dip feeding on the south side in the rougher water here with Black-headed gulls and the adult Roasete from the beach joined them. This birds call stood out of the crowd, always a welcome sound to me!
 The above two shots were taken when I ventured onto the beach after walking along the Pier. It was one of those close encounters type moments, when the birds are not really bothered by your presence, this does occur here now and again. The Common tern juvs and adults just edged away slowly from me as I walked slowly passed them. (wind conditions here I learnt play a part in how you approach these birds) until I reached were the Juv. Roseate was rested up and I settled myself. A minute or two later I left the birds in peace...that was until 3 kids came along a couple of minutes later.!
The adult Roseate, shot taken from the pier.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Not such a Gray day.

I had a look at the brickwork's pool in Gateshead today in the hope of a few Dragonflies etc. being on the wing here. But sadly I hardly seen any on this visit, except for loads of Common Darters, fewer Damselflies than normal and 2/3 Black-tailed Skimmers (on the small island area at the north end).
 Butterfly wise- all the usual suspects you expect to encounter around here but in not such good numbers.The wind I felt played a part in this today and also the crap wet weather we've had must have taken its toll on these insects this summer.( them few days of sunshine..remember them?).
But on the return leg of today's visit here a butterfly lifted off the ground right in front of us...(nice one Max!) The flight of this one caught my eye and looked completely different to the Meadow browns and Ringlets encountered here. The insect was in the size range of these butterflies and showed flashes of brown in flight but when it landed on the dried up mud area it was obvious this is a little different. A master of disguise if ever I saw one!, picking this critter up even when you see the area its landed in is not easy.
Over joyed to have seen my first Grayling butterfly today.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Looking Rosey again!

 This years wait to see a juvenile Roseate tern on our golden sands was finally ended this late afternoon today for me. After numerous visits on the favourite dog walk here over the last few weeks, I was over joyed to at last witness this today. One of Coquets finest with a parent in tow. This adult being also only the 2nd one Ive seen here this year, after seeing my first here before the breeding season kicked in properly.

 Added bonus also here on this visit of seeing 2 adult Arctic terns.
 10 Sandwich terns and about 30 Common terns also rested up, roughly a 3rd of this number were juvs.
A couple of shots from last weekends airshow, whilst manning the Whitburn coastal park entrance on car parking duties.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Bairns on the beach again.

 Its a few days since I last had a wander down to the big beach and pier area because of the weather. So today just after dinner time we took our chance to brave the inclement weather conditions and have a short stroll around this area. Marine park was as it has been for a few weeks now pretty un-event full.
One of the pair of breeding Meadow pipits behind the fair greeted us in the usual manner here: flying/hovering over our heads, calling and then plonking down on the nearest resting post to watch us closely. And the Swallow parents buzzed us numerous times who have young mouths to feed very close to the pier.
Well the sun wasn't out, so hardly anyone was on the beach, but a few welcome visitors took advantage of this. A small group of Terns had rested up mid- way along the beach (this only happens normally when its void of human visitors like today) normally they have favoured the pier end of Sandhaven.
"Have a rest here pet and see to Max,I'm just going to have a quick wander onto the beach"...my words as I headed off to get a closer look after leaving them on the pier steps.
Joy of joys! seeing my first bairns (tern wise) this year on Sandhaven.

 One Juv. Common tern and about 10 adults settled here.
The (as normal) far more less approachable Sandwich terns- 6 young-uns and 11 adults.

Bliss! awaiting better numbers now and a rarer one or two.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Trow, and then not a pleasant sight.

 Got the dog out on a different walk today, as its been a while since I visited Trow area. One of the first sights that caught my eye was these House Martins collecting mud from Trow point. Maybe just repairing nests??. Numbers of Linnets, Goldfinch's and Meadow pipits have increased (as expected) and hopefully will further towards the end of the summer(what summer ha!).
 One of the Trowls was on show, on its favoured coastal view cliff site. Whilst the other long favoured site had no Trowl on show, it did have fresh splash around this area. So hopefully theres still possibly 2 pairs around the Trow area.
 Meadow pipits are good posers this time of year normally, especially with young to feed.
Not one of the best visits Ive had to this area but nice all the same. Maybe a bit more of the yellow stuff would have made a difference.
Single Grey Partridge was flushed from the path on the mound as we crossed over it. A pair have been seen around this area for years (on and off) and off-spring sighted also. Bit luck maybe this year also.

Then I had a quick look at Lizard point.

 Spotted this Herring gull landing on the low tide area with something in its gob...Young Kittiwake that it must have just grabbed from a ledge (unless its fell). It was only seconds later this happened-
 The Herring gull was quickly forced to give up its meal, when the Great black backed gull dived in.
 And after a few stabs from the gull at the chick, it was down the hatch.
Still a few Razorbill chicks(jumplings) on the viewable ledges here, and more it seems on the ledges not  visible going off the Razorbills still flying in. Looks like a few Cormorant young have taken to the water and a couple of this years Shags juvs. hanging around also.

Sadly as expected theres no sign now of the last yellow duckling in Marine park.(or the parents).

Sunday, 1 July 2012

More work at Whitburn and a cracking moth!

 There was more work undertaken today at the Whitburn point project for a few hours this morning. But we where all stopped in our tracks not long after we had started when Nick turned up with this cracking looking moth in a specimen bottle. A first for many here this morning, especially 'us newbies' with moths. Only the 5th record of a Lime Hawk-Moth being extracted from the moth trap at Souter I believe, if I heard right?.
 After the excellent distraction of this moth it was back to graft.
 The memorial plaque for the late Brian Unwin which had been paid for (via donations mainly) by local lads who knew him well was positioned. Brians loved one's gave their approvail of the plaque and its positioning. A place we all hope will reflect on his memory and very close to home, Whitburn point nature reserve.
 A few days back lads from the group had assembled to preform more Joinery duties etc. (we are a tad lucky in this respect) At least 4-5 of group including other local lads who like to help out are from a Joinery based background regards work, spoilt or what!. So the structures for the free standing information boards where knocked out within a few hours.
The board above is the finished article, its weather proof and the type the National Trust use...and not cheap!
The lads involved digging and making these structures secure did a fine job today.!
 This one is placed on the hill over looking the North pond.The other one is positioned near the stone viewing screen on its approach path.
 The original 'proto-type' board of the finished article has been positioned also. Its now on the timber viewing screen over looking the South pond...nowt goes to waste.
 The ' last of the summer wine' look on and inspect.
 The sides of the timber screen also got more attention today after reports of dogs getting into the reserve via this route. This attracted a canny crowd, not just the lads involved.
 And the final 'hole digging' of today was near the ringing hut. A bench seat has now been placed to rest many a visitor waiting for a 'mega' here in the Autumn (we hope!)
Mr Brown testing..imagine my "bottom-less thermo. cup" here.

Added bonus this afternoon seeing our first Ringlet butterfly of the year near the Whitburn obs. , Jan viewing Bee-orchids for the first time in the coastal park and a Juv. Shag resting with Cormorants near Lizard.