Saturday, 17 October 2015

Fired up.

Yep, that's how i felt last Sunday at Tynemouth having gotten one of my bogey birds, the Firecrest. I had rang THE Howdon Blogger early to see if i could join him at Big Waters if he was going but he was sooooo busy he hadn't  heard it (that's what he said) i'm pleased to say. This left me to my own devices. Couldn't get out until 9 anyway so when i saw a Firecrest reported at the end of the pier i was off down there. PC Wanderings was already on site and was actually trying for the Ring Ousel which was also about as he had already seen the Fiery One. He warned me that there were a few Goldcrests about and that it might take some spotting. He wasn't kidding. So i started the birding version of Where's Wally. I did get some nice views but getting an image was a different proposition so quickly i decided i would just enjoy what views i would get.
The mouth of the River Tyne on Wednesday at sunrise.

I was out with Howdon Blogger on Wednesday and so we started our day at Tynemouth. All the migrants had moved on and it was very quiet. A quick visit to St Marys produced little so we headed on to Seaton Sluice where we had an hour. All the usual stuff on the rocks and nothing much on the sea until a Short-eared Owl came in off the North Sea. A couple of circuits of the rocks and cliffs being harassed by corvids, it gained height and slowly drifted west inland.
Onto Blyth for the Shorelark hopefully and sure enough it was still there and continuing to  provide close views. I'm sure you've seen enough images of it.
Back to St Marys after lunch and it had picked up a little. Again, many of the usual suspects from the prom. with good numbers of waders building. A Peregrine Falcon suddenly appeared at proceeded to head up to and land on the lighthouse. It was out of sight to us but it soon  swooped down and headed for a flock of  birds and as one peeled off it was straight onto it. Somehow the bird eluded the falcon which looked as if it was going to land on the cliffs but a couple of Crows put paid to that and off it flew. The wetland held little of note on the bird front but a couple of Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers were perched up enjoying the sun. We managed 4 or 5 Goldcrests in the Willows but that was about it.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Last hurrah

Apologies first of all for the lack of postings recently. I've discovered Twitter and have to say i enjoy using it. It's instant and i can post thoughts or comments as i think of them and importantly before i've forgotten.
Last week the weather was superb and was a chance to go seek out a few dragonflies. It has been an awful year for odonata thanks to the indifferent weather. I found myself cancelling the few dragon outings i had planned and can only remember using the macro lens once in earnest. I visited Banks Pond near Dinnington on three occasions in seven days. The last visit was relatively quiet and although the sun was shining initially there was a chill in the air and when some light cloud drifted over the drop in temperature was noticeable. Despite the conditions and lack of numbers i did get my best dragon of the week. I espied a Hawker moving around the perimeter of the site and thankfully it dropped down into the vegetation at the north end. As i approached i could see it was a female and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a Common, a species i hadn't seen here before. On a later date i bumped into Peter Fletcher at Tynemouth and asked if he had seen any Common at Banks but said as far as he could recall he hadn't. A handful of Common Darters were perched on stones at the north end absorbing as much heat as possible. I found a single Black Darter and spotted two Migrant Hawkers eventually on the lookout for females on the larger pond. I was only there for just over an hour.

On the second of the three visits i was with THE Howdon Blogger and we had good numbers of Common Darters many of which were in tandem ovipositing. Hard to give exact numbers but possibly 20- 30 on the larger pond and 10-15 on the smaller. Great to watch as they danced about the water. A few Ruddy Darters were favouring the sphagnum moss around the perimeter while a half a dozen Black Darters  were in the spagnum and grasses close by.

 Three male Migrant Hawkers were patrolling the the reed beds, one of which came close as i sat by the smaller pond having a drink, its wings clattering the reed stems as it passed. John put me onto a pair of Migs in tandem flying but they were distant and heading off into the trees. I did however manage to capture a couple of in flight dragons.