Sunday, 22 June 2014

Norfolk or Northumberland?

Spoonbills, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Marsh Harriers, Reed Warblers......... you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in Norfolk rather than the south-east of Northumberland.... but the climate-assisted northward drift of these species in recent years is making such a list more likely and more accessible. Yesterday, we enjoyed good sightings of all of these birds,seeing the four spoonbills currently at Druridge Pools from the Budge Hide, whilst at least eight Avocets and over fifty Black-tailed Godwits were close to the hide at Cresswell, along with the brief appearance of a couple of Reed Warblers. Equally enchanting were the Little Gulls also present just in front of the hide, mainly immature first summer birds but at least a couple of more mature birds in smart summer plumage with jet black heads and a pinkish tinge to the breast. We counted fifteen, but there have been daily variations of up to 23 birds reported from a couple of days back.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Nocturnal activities

The weather was mild, dry and just a light breeze so we set off for Holburn Moss. The midges were few and far between as we settled down next to the shelter of the trees with good views across the Moss, after a short wait we could hear a Green Woodpecker yaffling behind us and the constant screeching of Gulls on the wetter area. As the midges began to build we finally heard the noise we had been waiting for, a far carrying, churring, as a Nightjar sang in the gloom. Soon a second bird joined in from nearer the middle of the Moss and there perched on a bare branch was the source of these evocative sounds, after a few minutes it decided to fly and it's long narrow wings and distinctive flight gave us our last images of the evening, it was 11.00 pm and we then headed home for a further 2 hours moth trapping. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A trip down south

A trip down south
As it was the last day of our holidays we decided on a trip to Wykeham  Forest near Scarborough, we arrived at 10.15 about 15 minutes later than we had hoped due to traffic, note the time it is important.
On reaching the raptor watch point we were soon viewing a low flying Honey Buzzard, this was soon followed by several Goshawks some of them at quite close range as they circled ,swooped and dived at great speed , territory marking with their white lower tail coverts spread. The morning raced by with Common Buzzards putting in an appearance along with more views of Goshawk, meanwhile Tree Pipits sang from the surrounding branches.
After a brief lunch break we walked along the road into the forest in the direction of the tree nursery and were soon hearing the soft purring calls of Turtle Dove, a species which is under real threat but seems to be fairly reliable at Wykeham.
Back to the view point but very little to see, the clear sunny morning turning into a sultry, hazy afternoon,but a Green Woodpecker was heard from the valley below.
Finally why was it important to remember our arrival time?, well at 10.03 , 11 minutes before we got there some lucky observers were treated to a fly over White Tailed Eagle, isn't traffic annoying!