Friday, 27 June 2014

Temminck's before breakfast

After dipping the Temminck's Stint yesterday I thought it might be worth another shot, but getting there before the fishermen disturbed everything. Arriving at the reservoir at 5.15 this morning paid off as I found the stint after just a few minutes scanning with the scope. Feeding with a Little Ringed Plover it was creeping about like a mouse. Sadly the light was poor for photos.

Temminck's Stint and Little Ringed Plover
Temminck's Stint

Walking back to the car I was charged by this stoat, a real shame that the light was so poor.

A fly-by Hobby on the way home was an unexpected bonus. A successful trip and back in the house before 7am.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


A late start after calling in to work. Cresswell first where there were 22 Little Gull and 50ish Black-tailed Godwit. At Druridge a Spoonbill was feeding in front of the south hide and my first Dark Green Fritillary of the year was patrolling by the road.


At the point at Hauxley a brief seawatch produced a few distant Roseate Tern taking food back to Coquet Island.

Coquet Island
South, via home, to Derwent Reservoir failed to get the reported Temminck's Stint, but there were 4 Common Sandpiper, 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin and a Little Ringed Plover.

Common Sandpiper
A tea-time trip to Kibblesworth Brickworks gave an Emperor Dragonfly, Emerald Damselfly, Four-spotted Chaser, Common Darter and Common Blue Damselfly. Loads of Ringlet and Meadow Brown with a few Large Skipper and Common Blue. Plenty of Five-spotted Burnet were feeding by the path.

Five-spotted Burnet
A late trip out before a curry gave a Kingfisher at Lamesley and a Long-eared Owl on Ravensworth Fell.

Long-eared Owl

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Little Bittern, Tern and Dolphins

After a bit of a lie in I didn't get to Gosforth Park until 8am with the Little Bittern not having been seen for a couple of hours. I was set for a long vigil and possibly having to return in the evening, but after just an hour I picked up the bird flying straight towards the hide. Striking buff and black plumage and amazingly small. Great, but brief views before it dropped into the reeds, too quick for a photo. A juvenile Water Rail entertained close to the hide while we waited for the Little Bittern.

Water Rail
Next was a trip to Byker, but there was no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling so I headed north to Seahouses.

I joined a boat trip out to the Farnes on Serenity II. The trip first toured the outer islands giving great views of the breeding sea birds.

Sandwich Tern
'Bridled' Guillemot
Grey Seal
I felt a bit guilty, as I was dying to get to Inner Farne and the Bridled Tern. Eventually arriving on the island to the news the tern had disappeared 2 mins before we docked. Thirty nervous minutes later the bird showed itself, giving good, but fairly distant views.

Bridled Tern
Happy with the bird in the bag I got on the return boat. Looking up to see the Bridled Tern heading straight for the boat, giving cracking views as it circled overhead.

Almost back in Seahouses a shout of 'Dolphins' went up and the skipper treated us to an hour extension to the trip as we moved back north as the pod of Bottlenose Dolphins played around the boat. The action was too close for my 400mm lens, but I was happy with the following picture.

Bottlenose Dolphin
Not a bad day!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Green Sandpiper

Stuck at work, so I haven't seen the Bridled Tern yet and managed to dip the Temminck's Stint at Saltholme last night.

Gateshead today before and after work. The highlight being a Green Sandpiper at Burdon Moor briefly before flying high to the south. The first juvenile Black-headed Gull of the year was on the flash pool at Lamesley.

Common Blue
Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Green Sandpiper

Thursday, 19 June 2014

No Demoiselle

Up to Cresswell this morning where there were 23 Little Gull, 5 Avocet and 25+ Black-tailed Godwit. 7 Bar-headed Geese dropped in from the Hauxley collection. 4 Spoonbill were doing what Spoonbill do best at Druridge and a female Marsh Harrier hunted over the north pool at East Chevington.

Great Crested Grebe and passenger at East Chevington
This afternoon I went hunting Banded Demoiselle on the Derwent. I followed the Dragonhunter's footsteps, even finding his missing water bottle, but drew a blank. The time was not wasted as I did see 2 Kingfisher, 3 family parties of Grey Wagtail, 2 Dipper, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Butterflies seen were Red Admiral, Orange Tip, Small Copper and Meadow Brown. Hundreds of Toadlets were on the paths around the country park.

Orange Tip
Grey Wagtail
Garden Warbler
On my travels I also saw a fugitive Ruddy Duck, my first since the mass slaughter.

Richard Kimble

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Black Scoter

Had a lazy lie-in this morning, not really sure where to head. Just as I was about to leave the house news of a Black Scoter at Redcar meant south it was. The bird was in a flock of Common Scoter just beyond the surf in a surprisingly choppy sea. It took a couple of frantic minutes to get on to the bird with the whole flock disappearing in troughs or diving en masse. The bulging, yellow beak meant it stood out from the flock.

Spot the Black Scoter
* marks the spot
A quick look at the Saltholme area on the way back north didn't produce anything of note.

Kibblesworth Brickworks produced two new butterflies for the year with Meadow Brown and Ringlet. There were good numbers of Common Blue, Large Skipper and Small Heath with 30+ Four-spotted Chaser and a few Common Darter.

Large Skipper
Four-spotted Chaser
Common Blue
Poppies at Burdon Moor

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

More Dragons

Warm and sunny so headed down to Kibblesworth Brickworks. The area was alive with Azure Damselflies and 30+ Four-spotted Chaser. There were smaller numbers of Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damsels and the first couple of Common Darter were heading for the trees to dry. A Great Diving Beetle was hunting near the surface of the main pond. Surprisingly there were not loads of butterflies, but there were Large, Small and Dingy Skipper, Small Heath, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Wall, Peacock, Spotted Wood and Small White.

Four-spotted Chaser
Common Darter
Great Diving Beetle
Large Skipper
At Burdon Moor 2 male Broad-bodied Chaser were dogfighting and not stopping for photos, but 3 females were perched up, well away from the battling males.

Female Broad-bodied Chaser
I returned later when it had cooled a bit and the chasers were all perched up, the following two were out in the open.

Female and Male Broad-bodied Chaser
Male Broad-bodied Chaser