Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Don's beauties.

 A wanderer in Station burn today was just magic! Its been a few weeks since I visited this section of the Don last, and the first noteworthy flying insect seen was a male Banded Demoiselle, just down the bank on the western approach path from Station road. It got better after this first sighing of the year for me, after seeing this one.
 Despite the long grass (and knowing how these critters ain't that easy to see clearly at times rested up) a few did show well today...and posed!
 Far more males than females showed whilst I was here, counted 7 males and 2 females at this site. At one point 5 males hung around a certain section of the stream with weed touching the surface. The fighting going on was tremendous to watch especially when a female came on the scene!.

Visited the Scotch est. dene also on this wander. Pleased to see the 2 grazing horses have now been removed from this special site and the vegetation is starting to grow back....better late than never.
And 4 males and 3 female Banded Dems. showed here also....fantasic!
 The only shot of a Small copper I've managed so far this year, this along with the shot below where taken in the Scotchy dene.
 Chimney sweeper moth- about a dozen showed in a very small area of the dene , more than likely due to the habitat loss this year.

Had a look at the Colliery wood set aside area for Dingy skippers after visiting these two sites, only 3 individuals picked up here on this visit. The site is looking great with plenty Birds-foot trefoil flowering but alas compared to last year the numbers here are well down.
My first Large skipper of the year from Jackies beach on Monday.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Westerly today, plus Readheads report.

 Well today we had hoped to to tick off a new Butterfly for us, but new fence lines in a area near Waskerly prevented this, so we got lost instead...Nowt new for me, and the back seat driver is used to this over the years also.( the language is choice sometimes).
But this did result in some nice sightings regarding bairns.
 Red Grouse young-un legging it from the road side on the moors, about 20 other ones also in this gathering. The heather area was alive as we slowed down.
 Four very young Lapwings with parents were on the road a little further down from the Grouse sighting . Slowed down, but the parents went into  ' alarm mode'  which made the bairns do their best to hide.
One little-un just went to ground on the middle of the road, picked it up and placed it on the grassed verge and moved the portable skip on to avoid further disturbance.
 Eventually Stanhope was visited, the Dippers entertained along with Grey and Pied wags but not at so close quarters as seen before, as suspected a tad busy today.
 Bollihope -

This popular picnic area had folk on mass again today, as expected on a weekend visit but canny all the same. A male Ring ouzel flew over more or less as soon as I parked up, going over dog walkers, picnickers and general visitors heads un- noticed...

Spotted fly also picked up here.
 His mate 'tacked' away a little further from the parking area.
 The Readheads slipway Kits... Visited here a few days back and counted 30 birds AON ( apparently on nests), a couple of more visits will be made to record in the next few weeks for a more accurate count.
The shot above just proves how these birds will find any ledge etc. to settle nest wise upon when the location is right... Forced this year from last years nest site.

Monday, 10 June 2013

A few hours over the last couple of days.

 Visited Bishop Middleham quarry yesterday in the hope of encountering the Northern brown argus, but alas a tad early by a week of so this visit. Plenty food source plants out now for the futtlerbye's here including rock rose and birds foot tre-foil making this special site look wonderful.
 First Common blues of the year encountered for myself on this visit here, and what a show these three put on...(even if there's always something in the way to spoil the shots!). A couple of blues where obviously  in mating mode and this other male just was trying his luck....numerous times.

 What a site for these little critters,every where I wandered in the quarry area I was kicking up Dingy skippers! I honestly give up counting after about 40 odd in the areas I wandered. By far the commonest butterfly on show yesterday here.
Shot taken with the little digi effort I carry around now and then.
 Another first this day of the year seeing this Cinnabar moth here, loads of other day flying moths but as always too hard to pick up photo wise in the grass.

What was interesting was that a few days earlier I was tripping over Small heaths at Colliery woods but at this site the numbers were far lower, but as mentioned above the Dingy skippers numbers here ..incredible!
 The heat got to this youngster after a couple of hours here so we retired to the car for refreshments.

Bird life wasn't exceptional on this visit, couple of Buzzards soared over, Sand martins entertained, Yellow hammers and Whitethroats called, of note.
Lush site and hope to return in the coming weeks again.


 Don't think this youngster (Pied wagtail) has left the safety of the nest area for long, sitting on the farm shed.

Pleased to report the small nesting population of Tree spuggs are still hanging out at site in Boldon, but very little else seen on this visit.
 And finally......A Orange tip male give its self up to be photographed, after I've tried for the last couple of weeks unsuccessfully to try and grab a shot.
A field near the Academy was being cut today which attracted  hundreds, if not thousands of Starlings, corvids and gulls....awesome sight!.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Futterbye encounters the last couple of days.

 Visited Colliery woods yesterday, the second one I've done this summer season so far. (there will be more..;-) ). Clocked 8 Dingy skippers mainly in the set aside area north of the pond area here on this visit. Massive change regarding vegetation on this visit, loads of the food plant out in full bloom so hopefully last years numbers recorded here can be recorded( or bettered) again soon..  Hopefully the work the council have done here will be rewarded in the near future.
Jackie's beach population showed again well on a visit today.
 Yesterday I dropped into Marsden old quarry for a quick look later in the afternoon. Still a good few Peacocks flying about and also 2 male Orange tips..which never settled to have their photo taken.(bugger!)
These little critters have emerged big style over the last few days, tripping over them yesterday in Colliery woods and a canny few more on Jackies beach today.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

This afternoons wander. Jackies beach.

 With the slight southern wind doing its best to spoil a nice afternoon on the coast me and Bob headed in search of futterbyes again in Whitburn. Jackies beach was the site we headed for in hope of some isolated pockets of refuge from this slight wind in areas at this site and again this proved a wise choice.

Dingy skippers...again, this time I counted 11 on my last walk thro. after being here for at least a hour and a half and doing several passes counting.
 The first shot of the year I've managed of a Wall brown, I seen a one here last week on the coastal path but it didn't settle due to disturbance. Three around an area of Jackies today, two of which were having a right ding -dong on a few occasions as we passed.
 Certain I seen a couple last week but they wouldn't settle for positive ID ing whilst in strong flight mode. This one today did, first shot of a Small heath this year for me.
 Dingy on one of its food plants, Birds -foot trefoil. (always something in the way..)
Not the best shot, but I was happy to catch this one in flight as it left after feeding.
 A few folks left this area today feeling pleased to view these little brown jobbies once pointed out at this fantastic site for futterbyes.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Reed warblers in our area.

 A visit to a certain area around the doors resulted in great views of the birds in the process of setting  up homes in these parts this morning, or have done so already.. The Reed warblers especially...
First view, the one I've a few times on the outskirts of the reed areas.
After this me and the Bobster settled to watch these birds..for about 45 minutes or so when on show. Two males birds called and one or two others showed also.
 A right battle went off with a Reed bunting family near by...The male Reed warbler still patrolled his patch but was tad careful how far he went after this encounter.
 All the shots are heavily cropped but absolutely superb to view these birds and their behavior in this time.
Surprisingly  no Sedge warbler called or showed whilst on this visit. House and Sand Martin along with Swifts and Swallows bombed over.
The approach path to here.. C. and Lesser Whitethroats, Gropper also in nesting mode. Along with the usual suspects.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Bonny little green things.

 Out west on Sunday afternoon, for a few hours with a few target species to try and pick up.The bird life was pretty poor really with only a couple of male Pied flys. picked up whilst parked up in various places on the closed road between Muggleswick and Castleside.
But was well pleased to see these little belter's again in two different locations near here. 4 in one area and only a single one picked up in the other spot. The Gorse looks to have had a bad season in these areas this year compared to what we  have witnessed on Mull last week. But everything's late this year so hopefully more Green hairstreaks will be picked up in the coming weeks in this area.
 This was the best I came up with on the Friday, when Hoopoe,Turtle dove and 5 Spot fly. where picked up around the Marsden/Whitburn area. Two Spot fly. in the main treed area in Marsden old quarry.
The portable skip this morning...about £2 in change missing and a packet of Kola cubes. Over £600 of optical gear still in the boot...phew!!!!! Now never to left again over night in the car.