Sunday, 25 July 2010


Quick wander at Holywell, noted, 10 Teal at Public Hide, 6 singing Male Yellowhammer, 4 Linnet, 2 Skylark and a buck Roe Deer.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Geltsdale, Bishop Middleham, then Holywell

On Thursday I had an invite from Ewan, to his patch and home, Geltsdale. Arriving at about 10:30 we had a couple of hours to burn before Gary was due to turn up. Before heading out into the fells Ewan took me for a wander round his neighbours garden, looking for Spotted Flycatchers, unfortunately it wasn't to be. Out on the fells with the dogs we soon picked up two Short Eared Owls quartering the ground. Also about were a number of Kestrels, Meadow Pipit, Curlew, a male Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Roe Deer, Rabbit, and Brown Hare.

When Gary arrived at about 13:30 we headed straight to Longtown in search of Yellow Wagtail, at the location we picked up two birds amongst a number of Pied Wagtail, 8 Goosesanders were also in the area. The rest of the day was spent back on the fell, where more Short Eared Owl, and a Barn Owl were seen. A great day in a beautiful place.

Today I've been to Bishop Middleham with Brian, check his blog for the update, I'll just leave you with some pictures, another good day with a lifer of a Corn Bunting.

Carline Thistle Carlina Vulgaris

Ringlet Aphantopus huperantus
Five-spot burnet Zygaeana trifolii

Fragrant Orchid

Red Helleborines Epipactis atrorubens

To finish the day off I took my sister and a friend down to Holywell, we stopped firstly at the Public Hide, two Green Sandpiper were feeding on the scrape, then we moved on to find the Barn Owl, and it showed giving us some brilliant views.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Buzz...

Record shot of the Little Egret (into the sun)

I haven't blogged that much lately, mainly because I haven't been birdwatching lately due to a lack of time. For the past few weeks I've been living in the real world, working solidly as a labourer for my dad. Over the past few weeks my extent of birding has been restricted to a visit south of the Tyne to North Yorkshire, looking for Honey Buzzards with Geltsdale Wildlife Warrior and Rowlands Gill Birder, and a visit to the Durham Dotterel which we dipped on, but the Little Tern Colony is impressive.

This morning I was in the lovely Lakes, Buttermere to be exact. Walking was on the cards for the day, starting with cloudy tops, but clearing to be a glorious afternoon. The morning started great with a close encounter with a Red Squirrel. Raven, Meadow Pipit,Wheatear, and Common Buzzard were seen on the hill. Walking along Buttermere we picked up a flock of mixed Tits, accompanied by 3-4vTreecreeper, a few Chaffinch, and a lone Spotted Flycatcher. Peregrine Falcons could also be heard, but not seen, above.

We arrived home at roughly 18:00, had my tea, walked the dog and arrived at Holywell for 20:30. Heading straight down to the Public Hide for the chance of waders, it was a glorious summers night. 2 Common Sandpipers could be seen on the island, along with 27 Coot, 23 Lapwing were on the shoreline, accompanied by 28 Black Headed Gull and a single Lesser Black Backed Gull, 2 Grey Heron were hunting the shallows, a Cormorant was roosting on the island and a Sedge Warbler sand its song. The Little Egret made an appearance, although the sun was in the wrong direction for any decent photographs.

Making my way to the members hide it was apparent that there was a large number of hirundines in the area. As I walked down the track to the hide, alarm calls filled the air, I ran to get a view and there it was, a Hobby flying West towards Seaton Delaval, at 20:55, a lifer :D

Opening the shutters, it became apparent why the Hobby was here, 100+ hirundines hawking over the pond. Scanning the pond 14 Pochards could be seen, a Grasshopper Warbler could be heard reeling to the left of the hide, and a Reed Warbler in the NW corner. At 21:05 the Barn Owl made it way from the East fields over the pond into the Northern reeds, quartering West, it disappearedout of sight. At 21:06 I noticed a front coming in off the sea, thick sea fret followed, at 21:08 it just reached the water of the pond and a northerly gust proceeded it, the Barn Owl took it chance to cross the pond, flying straight through the feeding station. By 21:09 the sea fret had engulfed the hole pond and hide. I've only witnessed this type of weather change up in the hills, and summits of mountains, never in the lowland regions. The sea fret give the whole area a eery feeling, adding to the endless wonders of the natural world which can spiritually influence.

By 21:30 I was walking back up to the main gates, pipistrelle and noctules bats were hunting above, their clicking could clearly be heard, I stood and admired the view which the sea fret provided me, evidence in itself of the links nature provides us.

Its times like these which really give you a buzz, a buzz which the next generation are missing out on. I've recently been reading 'The Last Child of the Woods' by Richard Louv, an interesting but sad read, well worth reading. I hope I can make a difference and reverse the process for at least some children withing my lifetime, as I won't be the last child of the woods.

Friday, 2 July 2010


Just a quick heads up. If anyone had a quiet, relaxing walk on the cards for tomorrow its advised to avoid Holywell, especially the hides. As mentioned in my last post, I have planned a program to allow my Scout troop to gain their Naturalist Activity Badge. The program started last night, with an introduction to the natural world. Fourteen scouts are participating in the program, and will be experiencing the wonders of Holywell pond and Dene tomorrow, with the main subject being collection of field notes, but also to show them what can be found on their doorstep, and for the majority, what their missing out on.

The weather forecast is promising, and the scouts have the interest, it should turn out to be a great day.