Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Groppers and otters

After the rain on Sunday, a strategic walk from Embleton to Low Newton was required on Bank Holiday Monday.  Fortunately we left it late and missed the hordes of visitors.  The tide was high and there was little on the sea apart from a few Shags, auks and a party of Sandwich terns feeding close into shore.  A small party of waders dodging the dogs and people included summer plummage Dunlin, Turnstone and 'northern' Ringed plover.

Low Newton flash produced a female Pintail, Snipe and good numbers of Teal were of note.

There was very little on Newton Pool but a group in the hide said they had just seen two Otters.  After 10 minutes they re-appeared and gave great views.  Two Roe deer gave further interest.

A walk back along the dunes produced at least two Grasshopper warbler, several Sedge warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and a good passage of Swallows.

A Swift welcomed us home to Glanton

Local birders star with Indie band Stornoway


What do Stornoway, Lindisfarne and AWG members have in common?  Answer: a picture in The Independent on Friday 1st May.  Stornoway are an indie band from Oxford who were being showing around Lindisfarne by Andrew Craggs.  Their latest album 'Bonxie' was in need of promotional material.

Stornoway get up to a spot of birdwatching Lindisfarne (Mark Pinder)Mick and I were glad to help even though the rest of the AWG group had sloped off to the Lough.

All the best to Stornoway. Their album is great, especially the use of bird sounds such as Red grouse. From what I read, they do a lot of great work for conservation. Certainly, there are at least three new fans in the Dodds household!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Recent days around Branton Ponds have seen an influx of warblers, first we had the Chiffchaffs which were then overtaken  by the Willow Warblers, now Blackcaps are here in large numbers, there seems to be a bird on territory almost every 50 yards. This evening we came across the first Garden Warbler of the year, sounding a bit like Blackcap but a bit more monotonous, on Monday we had a first for the ponds in the form of a Wood Warbler with both it's very distinctive shape and song which sounds like a spinning coin gradually coming to rest on a table, it was still there this morning. Another warbler which just arrived yesterday is the Common Whitethroat with one bird calling from the gorse, this evening there were a further two birds, so all we need now are Lesser Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler then the set will be complete.

Monday, 27 April 2015


The warm weather of last week has be replaced by a much cooler air from the north.  Not a lot to report from the weekend but the majority of Swallows appear to have arrived in the last 4-5 days.  A Cuckoo was seen on the south side of Longframlington Common on the 26th April.

Tthe first flower heads of Meadow saxifrage have appeared on lowland acid grassland next to the Wooler Water today (27th April).  A pair of Common sandpipers have also taken up residence.  Numbers of Sand martins appear to have dropped since they first arrived.  Buff-tailed, Red-tailed and White-tailed bumblebees were much in evidence visiting the flowers of Lesser Celandine.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

cuckoos and tigers

Walking in the fields near the cottage this morning I came across a small caterpillar with a bright orange head and very long, silky- looking hairs on its back.  I hadn't a camera so had to look it up when I got home and it identified as the larva of a Garden Tiger Moth.  These moths have a wide distribution in Britain but it was a first for me.  The other first was a cuckoo calling in the wood beside our cottage.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Peking Duck...

Two lovely Mandarin drakes have been present on the small pond at Warkworth Lane Caravan Site, Ellington over the past few days. They looked really stunning on the calm water in yesterdays morning light...

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Migrants start to appear

Little to report from the WeBs count on Sunday but for a passage Whimbrel, two Pale-bellied brent and a female Pintail.  Waders were scarce and there were few migrants lingering in the scrub.

Monday morning was spent on the moorland edge just south of Blanchland.  It was an idyllic morning with displaying Lapwing, Curlew, Golden Plover, Snipe, Redshank and Oystercatchers all within three or four fields.  Added extras were a female Black grouse, a Short-eared owl and a very dapper male Ring ouzel.  Leaving the farm a Red kite was hunting close to some farm buildings in a horse paddock.  The first Green-veined white butterfly was seen close to Riding Mill.

This morning was spent carrying out the last of the tree planting on the banks of the River Pont. There were several male Redstarts in song as well as Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

An Orange-tip butterfly flew across the A697, in the Wooperton area.