Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Numbers starting to build.

 Visited the 'hallow turf' that is Shields pier for me this time of year, at around mid-day for about 40 minutes today. Plenty Common terns noticed fishing off the lower section of the pier and 30 rested on Sandhaven rocks between the groups of kids doing a bit crab searching etc. Sandhaven also held 3 Sanderling (first one's I've seen here for a while) along with a few gulls on the un-populated areas by folk enjoying this  beach.
 Along with the rested terns on Sandhaven the pier rocks also held this species of tern on this visit, this area gives excellent views from the walkway most birdy type folk know.. ;-)
 In total I estimate about 50-60 Common terns around this area today on this short visit, and roughly about a third of them being juveniles.( non seen ringed).
 I also heard and seen my first Auk bairn for this area, today just off Sandhaven. This juvenile Guillemot was off Sandhaven giving out its 'begging' cry', the haunting sound went on all the time I was here, but no adult showed sadly.
Seen a splashing going off a canny way out.... Is it a Dolphin, Porpoise or even a small type Whale???.! the thoughts that ran though my head before disappointment set in when the bins where raised... Nope its just another seemingly nutter out for a swim between the end of the pier area and Trow area.? ( No back up regards boat crew following etc.)

Happy news today, 77 pairs of Roseates on Coquet Island this year (check the blog) . Hopefully S/Shields will be graced again this year...
Yours Faithfully
Living in hope.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Flipping heck, Arctics galore !( for here).

 A short walk along Shields pier today resulted in my best count to date ever of Arctic terns rested on Sandhaven beach, all 27 of them with 5 Juveniles included in this figure. Before today I don't think I've  reached double figures of this species ( if my memory serves me well?) whilst counting the rested terns around this area, so this was a real treat!
The better half was left seated on the pier with the dog as I clambered over the rocks to get a better count and a few shots, something she's used to this time of the year with the dog ban being in place. Mind this wasn't too bad for her as we could hear the Christians playing in Bents park on the pier, a bit better than listening to Rick Astley me thinks.

The 5 Arctic tern juv's weren't ringed but a few of the adult birds were so maybe these birds aren't Farne,s birds?? . The group didn't hang around long despite the beach being almost empty today and were seen flying off when I got back onto the pier. About 15 Common terns( 4 juv's) rested up here with the Arctics and only a couple of Sandwich terns.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

This weekends adventures

 Its been 3 years since I last had a visit to the spectacular site that is Bempton cliffs, the last time the weather wasn't so kind. So off I went on Saturday with the sun god smiling on this trip.
 Still blown away by the sight of these cliffs, but seeing them covered in nesting sea birds is a sight to behold!
 The main reason why I traveled to this site was to let Jan see nesting Gannets, something shes's not witnessed before 'in the flesh' and also she's never been here before. The sight of thousands of Gannets flying around especially over the sea at times was just awesome!

 One of the RSPB wardens at this site was a little taken-a- back when we had a rattle to him (whilst watching and listening to 'jingling keys'..... Corn buntings). 'Most folk come here to view the Puffins' he mentioned, 'Not us its the Gannets, the Farne's are the place for close encounters of the Auk kind'  I replied.
 Down Station burn again today, a bit of a impromptu visit this one as I had planed on walking the dog else where but dived into here at the last minute. The Banded demoiselles put on a good display again and this time in 3 different areas of this stretch of the Don (one new position here for to me).

 Ovipositing taking place, and again many a scrap going off. About 8 males and 5 females viewed on today's visit here.
The Scotch est. dene was visited also on this venture today. Banded dems. also doing well here along with countless butterflies in the re-generated grassed areas, the horses have done this site a good turn. ;-).
The newly formed pond created here had 2 male Broad-bodied chasers battling almost constantly over this small area of open water, and they hardly settled at all in the time of this visit. A female showed twice here and one of the males quickly latched onto her in the 'wheel position', she later went into 'dipping mode'.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Dragons, aplenty.

 A very hot visit to the Academy pools area in more ways then one today! The approach path produced family groups of Lesser and Common whitethroats along with the usual suspects along this public right of way, ( no sign of the gropper family here today).
One Reed warbler male was heard calling before me and Bob had even entered the pools site, a second male joined in whilst we were here calling from a section of the reed beds not too far from the first bird. ( as in a previous visit). But no Sedge warbler heard or seen again on this visit as like the last.
Today's visit highlights belong to the insect world and Dragonflies in particular.

The first male Emperor seen was spooked as we walked into the pools on the western edge of the reed bed,  then another 3 hawking the Reeded pool  with many a scrap going off here!. At one stage all 3 males patrolling separate patches on this pool battled in flight, excellent to watch!. One of the males was observed bringing in a prey item, something I've never seen before. Another male Emperor was flying around the north pool. So I estimate 5 males on this visit...

 The reed pool was alive today with Dragons, along with the Emperors also 3 Broad- bodied chasers, at least 7 Four-shot chasers and 3 male Black-tailed skimmers. (2 in the reeded pool another in the north pool.)

And Mr Ball was sighted again on the training pitch.

Monday, 8 July 2013

The local patch called, about time I visited...and out west.

 Well slap me down and take a strap to my back as I've not had a wander along the South Shields pier for about 3 weeks until today (shocking I know!). But the lure of this site is getting stronger in my veins as the Tern nesting season is fully underway and hopefully their bairns will be gracing this area within the next few weeks again once fledged.
 Only a few adult Common and Sandwich terns in hunting mode on this visit today and best part of the time a little too far off for target practice with the camera, but excellent to see and try for shots never the less.

 This 'non-adult plumaged bird' flew about hunting for a little while..a bit of a 'raggy' looking individual. Could well be a non-breeder, which it looked to be.
 And then it flew off in the company of these two adults. Parents perhaps, last years offspring.?
Its not the first non- summer plumaged tern I've seen around this area at this time of year and nearly all have behaved in this way.
8 Curlews went over heading north with a Bar-tailed Godwit in this group, these being the only waders seen today here.
 Can you tell the Mackerel season has started..? This is only a small portion of the mass of people dipping their rods along the pier today...
 Couple of phone grabs from Bishop Middleham quarry just over a week ago, first time I've seen Northern brown argus and canny few on show in the sheltered areas here, mind over 100 have been reported here last weekend!

 I've spent a few days on the moors of late around the Northumberland/Durham border just west of Derwent. Many a wader chick legging it, Red grouse bairns and adults all over the place, male Merlin seen twice, Ravens...(at least 3-4 different birds), Singles of Woodcock, Kestrel(male), Buzzard, Cuckoo(male).
Heads down ..the 12th isn't far away.