Monday, 14 April 2014

Upper Teesdale 14th April

The promise of fine clear weather saw us heading off to Langdon Beck at 5.00 am, when we arrived there the light was perfect and the Black Grouse were lecking. There seemed to be Blackcock everywhere but what was also encouraging was the large number of Greyhens. we continued watching for some time before heading off towards Cow Green Reservoir and yet more Black Grouse on the way, our final total being 28 males and 14 females.
Around the reservoir itself were many Red Grouse, all paired up,the calls of many upland waders rang through the early morning air, including Golden Plover, Curlew, Common Snipe and Lapwing whilst overhead flew a single Peregrine.
They say the early bird catches the worm and that was certainly the case today as a few birders arrived as we were leaving by which point the Blackcocks had dispersed and were much harder to spot.  

Sunday, 6 April 2014


Or should I say 'migrant'. My first Willow Warbler of the year was this bird, singing at Newton Pool this morning....

Thanks Keith

Thanks Keith for organising and leading the AWG Field Day excursion, on your own patch at Branton on Saturday

It was a very pleasant and friendly get together and the highlight for me was to see at least half a dozen Adders basking in whatever warmth was around, on south facing verges at the site

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Weekend 29 / 30 March

Saturday was spent walking out to the Oyster House on Old Law.  Highlights included long-tailed duck (12), common scoter (28), red breasted merganser (2), red-necked grebe (1), sanderling (44), ringed plover (9 - some birds were holding breeding territory) and grey plover (16).  A peregrine (immature female) was at the Oyster House, one stonechat and good numbers of skylarks.  There were at least 500 grey seals hauled out at the point.

An afternoon walk on Sunday at Branton Ponds produced shoveler (2), goldeneye (14), great created grebe (1), little grebe, sand martin (10+), water rail (1), good numbers of reed buntings, meadow pipits and commoner waterfowl.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Walking the strand line

A walk along the beach at Boulmer on Saturday morning produced one or two interesting species.  The tide was out and wader watching was confined to small numbers of ringed plover, dunlin, curlew, oystercatcher and bar-tailed godwit (26). 

Out at sea it was relatively quiet with gannets (6) passing north, black-throated diver (1), red-throated diver (2) and a female scaup.  There were very few auks and the usual congregations of shags and cormorants appear to have disappeared to their breeding colonies.

There were good numbers of rock pipits and pied wagtails along the strand line and a single Scandinavian rock pipit close to Seaton Point.  There were also a small number of buff-tailed bumblebees trying to make their way inland.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Vernal Equinox

In the last 2 days there have been numerous indicators of the changing seasons on my Patch around Alnmouth and Lesbury:

Yesterday I found myself helping Toads, avoiding being squashed by cars, as they crossed the Beach  Road on their way to mate in Alnmouth Marsh : Chiffchaffs were singing in the adjoining trees and as I walked up alongside the River Aln, back towards Lesbury, I was rewarded with a sighting of my first Sand Martin of the year.
Today, I observed my first Brambling  on our garden feeders, joining a family of Siskin, who have been regular visitors for a few weeks, perhaps indicating, that for these species, their natural food sources have become increasingly drained.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Rather early for raspberries

The very mild weather is really starting to show its effects on some plants.  Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is coming into flower.  These young male flowers look startlingly like raspberries when enlarged as in this pic, taken today.  I reality they are only about 5mm long.