Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kittiwakes and Life At Big Waters

Wednesday morning I went onto the Tyne Bridge to have a look at the Kittiwakes.  A lot of them now have chicks but they are still quite difficult to see.

I did manage to get quite a decent video of one though

On Friday night I managed to get some fleeting glimpses of the Cuckoo that has been heard although seldom seen at Big Waters.  Although on Saturday morning I did get a couple more better views and it called in short bursts 4 or 5 times.   The Grey Herons are still a nuisance as they still chase each other and then attempt to get one of the Mallard chicks which ended up with the female Mallard hanging onto the Herons leg as it attempted to fly off (if only I had my camera in hand it would have been some great pictures) so here is couple of not so exciting ones instead

A couple of videos showing snippets of life at Big Waters from the last week with original soundtracks with unbelievably nobody swearing

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Bit More Bits and Tits from Big Waters

A few wee beasties are now being seen as the sun was out for an unprecedented five days without a sign of rain.  The first Large Skipper of the year was seen on Sunday and we have also seen a couple of Chimney Sweeper Moths as well as the regular Butterflies.  Dragonflies are still showing well with 4 Spotted Chasers and Alan J's Broad-bodied Chaser at Little Waters.

Large Skipper

4 Spot Chaser

Cardinal Beetle

Now some beasties that I cant quite identify as easy
This one I think is one of Blue Damelfly species

No idea 

Spent 20mins hunting around the net but came up with nothing

Bit of a Smorgasbord here or is it Sushi

Finally a couple of pleasanter on the eye pics from you know where

Monday, 24 June 2013

Big Waters Tit Bits

A few visits to Big Water over the last few days produced a couple of year ticks for the patch list.  First was the 
Green Sandpiper

It was only there for less than 5 mins when it was chased off 

by one of the 5 Lapwing which are now 
flitting between the scrapes

The other year tick was a Grey Wagtail which dropped in after a rain shower and was once again chased by the Lapwing although when it did fly another joined it from further back on the scrape which I hadn't noticed.

Other visitors included a family of Crows which seem to have taken the scrape to be their official Dining Table.

A couple of Shovellers are also using the scrape as a place to rest but unusually not at the same time and keep vanishing into the reeds although occasionally the do swim around together but always at a distance and then go for a fly round the pond then return.  They are both in eclipse but you can tell the male as the eye still retains the same colour which unfortunately is a bit difficult to tell through the "not to great" picture

Meanwhile on a distant perch a Pied Wagtail and a Tree Sparrow were getting a Masterclass on "Perching Techniques" by a Master

When the class was finished the Kingfisher shot off and hid

The Mute Swans and their 5 Cygnets have been regular visitors to the scrape although on Sunday only 4 Cygnets were visible.

The Grey Herons have been seen quite a bit and I reckon there is at least 4 regular visitors to the pond at the moment although they are still being chased quite regularly by our new visitors to the scrape, the Crows

The Common Terns are still on the island with at least 4 young and one still sitting.  These 2 young seem to be the oldest and most active and at times their parents do leave them but not for long.

With the Terns being so active hunting food for the newly born 
the opportunities for some flight shots come around often

Meanwhile in the Feeding Station there have been several visitors including the Woodpecker looking for Peanuts to feed his hungry brood, a solitary Willow Tit comes in fits and starts and 2 Yellowhammers have been seen on several occasions.

Well thats enough for now but don't worry, especially you Alan, there will be a video in my next blog, just haven't had time to edit it yet 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Cub Reporter Inputs

A quick post after receiving a couple of pics from 2 of my 
Cub Reporters

From Alan J taken at Little Waters, a fantastic picture of a 
Male Broad-bodied Chaser taken with his new camera
(think its a Box Brownie Mk 2)

Secondly from Charlie S a Ruff on the island at Big Waters

Great shot guys, your usual pay check will be slightly larger this week

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mayhem at Gosforth

It was a nice peaceful  morning at Gosforth Park, if you ignore the constant "kars" and "keks" of the Black-headed Gulls,  Keith and I were just chewing the fat when the decibel rate increased dramatically.  I looked up to see a solitary Jackdaw swoop down across the platform where all the Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls are sitting with 4 of the latter having young.  I only managed to get 4 shots as the combined defence by the birds soon saw it off.

I assume that the Jackdaw was just "testing the waters" as surely no sane bird would ever have a serious attempt at trying to pick up a meal from amongst the 40 or so adult birds that were present.

A bit later on though we were still chewing the fat when every bird on the pond lifted, pity my camera wasn't ready as it was a very impressive sight.   Keith spotted a distant dot and we had soon identified it although it did not come very close to the pond it was  absolute mayhem for 20 seconds.  It was very high and just sauntered along then dropped very fast heading over the pond being chased by the inevitable Crows and vanished over the treeline.  This was about the closest it came and is cropped to the limit.  It headed off in the general direction of Big Waters so a quick call to the new communications setup we have installed in there for just this purpose (mobile in Alan's pocket) to warn him.

He did manage to spot it as it sauntered towards Arcot

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Storyboard For New Blockbuster on Location at Gosforth

Once upon a Time Mammy Mallard brought 5 young babies into this world.  All was well until the babies started reducing in numbers and eventually only one was left.  At this point Mammy's head was turned by a Dashing Daddy Mallard and as the surviving Baby Mallard was a bit of a hinderance it was eventually chased off.  The said Baby Mallard was very clever though and started looking around the pond to see what the other ducks were doing and started copying them in order to survive.  A few weeks later this Mallard is now doing what any Mallard Pochard would do and is diving for his food, staying completely under for at least 20 seconds.

Nice Family

Only 1 Left (sob sob)

Mammy and Evil StepDaddy leave

Learning to Dive

First Successful Dive

I'm a very Pretty Poch Duckling Now 

Look at the Wings on ME

Lets hope this Duck manages to overcome all the trials and tribulations that will be set in front of him and grow up to be a beautiful Swan Mallard

Story idea by Paul Christian Anderson
Screenplay by John Spielberg
Filmed at Gosforth Nature Reserve
Best Boy (45years ago) and 
Technical Advisor Keith Cochrane Darwin 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Kites and Shelduck Young - Great Morning

Am on holiday this week so not much time for Blogging, just time for birding.  Saturday had a half day out with Sedgedunum Warbler as he had to go home to pack his underthings for a holiday in Kent commencing on Sunday.  So here are a few pics from "around the doors" as we didn't have time to do any long distance driving.

First of all a few more Red Kite photos from the same place as last time, just can't get enough of them

On to Thornley Woods where not a bird was to be seen so popped into the Feeding Area and put a few bits and pieces out and within minutes we had Nuthatch, Robins, Coal Tits (including a young one), Nuthatch, Jay and the inevitable 2 Grey Squirrels.

Then off we went to Shibdon where we were not expecting much and we were not disappointed but did manage to watch a Wren having a good old look around from a "Bullrush" before departing within a couple of secs of my camera being pointed in its direction


A final stop on the Tyne (North Side) as we sat and disposed of a Macedees Latte and raising our genuine cardboard cups to the kind person who had left a Tenner, lying on the ground, for us to partake in a relaxing, refreshing break.  The wind was very strong and enabled a few Kittiwakes to just hold themselves against the wind for up to 30 seconds at a time, it was great viewing and we said as soon as we finished our Lattes we would go and get a few pics, John couldn't wait and headed out to get a closer view but didn't take his camera then when I had finished I got my camera and went out just in time for the last Kittiwake to vanish.  Just as well really as I am sure you have had enough Kittiwake pictures by then.  We headed for the car to head home but out of the corner of my eye I saw a bit of movement along the beach but the bushes were in the way so off we went along and sure enough there was the 15 "Birds of the Day".  We stood and watched them for about 10-15mins as they battled against the ebbing tide and they ended up practically across the river onto Timber Beach.  Amazing little things, especially the individual who kept away from the main bunch and was diving and swimming around like it was an adult

And of course the inevitable VIDEO
At Least I got the YouTube video link working again