Thursday, 27 September 2012

Northumberland Trip....20th-23rd September 2012.

A  'last minute decision' for a trip to Northumberland had me trawling the Internet for B&B/Hotel vacancies, easy I thought, well actually it wasn't! I was amazed at the number of  'No Vacancies' that cropped up! I had wanted to stay in the Warkworth area or thereabouts but no joy, there were vacancies in a few hotels in the area around there and beyond but not having won the Lottery I decided against booking any of them! Morpeth came up trumps, the accomodation I booked was very comfortable and the food was excellent!
I had not heard of Morpeth before my stay there but I am sure the whole Nation now know of Morpeth after making headline news with the heavy rains and flooding that occurred there this week after the River Wansbeck burst it's banks. A nightmare scenario for those affected in Morpeth and indeed also for others around the country that have been similarly affected, I hope they return to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.

The weather was overcast on the journey North and fortunately dry. After settling in to the accomodation an early evening visit to Newbiggin-by-the-sea was made for some seawatching at Church Point. Three Eiders were spotted bobbing about on the sea and also a lone Razorbill, I was delighted with both of these sightings. Oystercatchers, Cormorants and a Grey Heron were resting on the breakwater. Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Starlings and Gull(sp) were feeding on the shoreline. After a short while it started to rain and gradually got heavier and the air much colder. This was to be the only rain during the long weekend apart from a couple of early morning showers the next day (Friday) on the way to Bamburgh. The sun shone for most of the weekend and it was also quite warm in sheltered spots.

The North East coast lived up to expectations, stunning scenery, wonderful shorelines to scan for birds and the seawatching was a real treat. Places visited over the weekend and highlight birds were:

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea species seen as above.

Bamburgh, Swallows, Martins and Pied Wagtail.

Seahouses, splendid seawatching here and also views of The Farne Islands and Holy Island. Gannets (mostly juveniles) and Tern species fishing were a sheer delight to watch. Shoreline birds seen were as the species seen at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. A flooded field close to the roadside between Bamburgh and Seahouses was a very productive area with Shoveler, Mute Swan, Tufted duck, Coot, Little Grebe, Wigeon, Mallard, Greylag Geese, B H Gull, Linnet flock, Starling, Lapwing and a Sparrowhawk which swooped into the field where the Lapwings were feeding, it did not lift afterwards so presumably it caught it's prey!

Beadnell, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Eider.

Low Newton Pied Wagtail.

Alnmouth, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Redshank, Lapwing, Ringed Plover and a lone distant Goosander/Merganser.

NWT Hauxley Nature Reserve. Blackbird, Robin, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Dunnock, Chiffchaff (heard), Teal, Little Grebe, Redshank, Wigeon, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Swallow and Martin were a few of the species seen here but the main highlights were a flock of 100+ Goldfinch that were very flighty and Tree Sparrows that were seen at a hide feeding station.

Druridge Pools.Teal, Little grebe, Wigeon, Gadwall and Mute Swan. I am 99% sure that I caught sight of a couple of Black Darter Dragonflies, a pity they did not perch!

East Chevington. Wigeon, Mute Swan, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, G B B Gull and the highlight of the trip and a Lifer........a Bonxie!!!

Cresswell Pond. Mute Swan, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing and Curlew.

The above is a brief summary of species seen. Having just two whole days to explore this delightful coastline only short visits were made to most of the sights visited. I would have liked to have spent more time at each especially so Hauxley Nature Reserve. I returned home with a book I purchased about Northumberland and plenty of information leaflets, so plenty of reading through the long Winter months in readiness for a hoped for return to the North East coast sometime in 2013.
Enjoyable conversations were had with several friendly,interesting and informative  people whilst out and about.
It was a great trip to Northumberland, I am now looking forward to returning sometime in the future and spending more time exploring the stunning and dramatic coastline of Northumbria!

Church Point

Bamburgh Castle

Inner Farne Lighthouse

The Farne Islands

Eider Duck

The myriad of colours of the seaweed were striking in the sunlight! Just a pity the Oystercatcher couldn't have waited a little longer until I had taken my photo! At least the Ringed Plover behaved!
Pied Wagtail


Druridge Pools

Little Grebe
Common Darter

Hauxley NR
Tree Sparrows
Red Admiral.
Speckled Wood

East Chevington

Great Skua! A record shot, I was lucky that the Bonxie just lifted as I took my photograph!

Cresswell Pond

Cresswell Foreshore
Angel of the North

Thursday, 13 September 2012

All Around My Hat.............

...................searching for insects!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Moth Fest In My Garden.

Well 3 Moth species in my garden is a Moth Fest to me!

7th September.
A delightful new addition to my garden moth list was an Angle Shades Moth. It had been resting on a plant pot in daylight until early evening when it took flight.

8th September.
A walk around the Fisheries early on Saturday morning did not yield much in the way of bird species, however a female Blackcap, Nuthatch and 6 Mistle Thrush were pleasing to see. A couple of Speckled Wood butterflies along with hoards of Crane flies were the only other notable sightings on what was a bright sunny morning.

During the day in my garden a Small Tortoiseshell paid regular visits to the Buddleia flowers and in the evening another new addition to my moth list was a Yellow-barred Brindle moth that had sought refuge in my house.
9th September A lovely warm sunny day today so a ride to the River Severn at Arley in the afternoon was made, joining the throngs of people who had the same idea! Plenty of canoeists were on the water along with Swans and Mallards. Highlight birds seen were House Sparrows, Swallows, House Martins, Green Woodpecker, Kestrel and Buzzard.

House Sparrows entertain whilst enjoying a slice of Lemon Cake and a cuppa!

These shots were taken through the fence at the cafe seating eating area where there is plenty of vegetation for the Birds and Bees to make good use of.
He looks angry in this!

Silver Y moths were the evenings entertainment. I watched 3 individuals at times as they flew amongst the planted flower pots. The Lantana flowers seemed to be the favoured flower.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds!

The Robin

When up aloft
I fly and fly,
I see in pools
The shining sky,
And a happy bird
Am I, am I!

When I descend
Toward the brink
I stand and look
And stop and drink
And bathe my wings,
And chink, and prink.

by Thomas Hardy

This Robin enjoyed a bathe yesterday in the waterfall in my garden, it was not bothered by my presence and continued bathing as I snapped away! Robins are my favourite garden bird!