Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Stilt sandpiper, seals and grayling butterflies.

A day out in the North East with Chris today. We decided to go north rather than south to Gibraltar Point, in the hope that a good bird would turn up. We were not disappointed, whist looking at birds a Greatham Creek.

News came over the pager that a stilt sandpiper was at Cresswell Ponds, so of we set. The journey went well apart from a problem with the automatic toll machine at the Tyne tunnel, when it refused to accept a load of 5p pieces.
Lots of cars at the nature reserve, and the hide was full of birders, none of whom had a hide clamp, so the hide was full of tripods as well. One birder kindly allowed us to look at the bird through his scope, before I managed to get my scope set up. Chris and I were then able to look at the bird a bit closer. The bird was stood on one leg and had its head tucked under its wings. It was much taller than the dunlin that were feeding close to it. Apart from a little hop on one leg the bird hardly moved, despite the other birds taking off every now and again.

We left just after lunch and returned to Greatham Creek via Hartlepool Headland and Newburn Bridge, where we saw the local Mediterranean  gull.

On our second visit to Greatham Creek was rewarded with good views of greyling butterflies.

On the way back to the car we came across an "Essex Skipper". These little butterflies are slowly spreading north and can be distinguished from the "ordinary" skipper by looking at their antenna which are black at the end and not yellow.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday night at Blacktoft Sands

Lots of little jobs to do today, so bird watching was bottom of the list. However after tea I decided to go to Blacktoft Sands for a few hours bird watching. I started at Marshland hide where waders were close to the hide, however we were looking towards the sun, so my photos are not brilliant.
Redshanks, spotted redshanks, avocets and grey herons were busy feeding.

I moved on to the other hides and from Xerox could see lots of greylag geese

From Singleton hide a wood sandpiper and greenshanks were busy feeding along with lapwings, grey herons and little egrets. The light was better for photographs was better, but the birds were further away than from Marshland hide.

Young grey herons were flying around following a parent bird and greylag geese were flying around.

Nine o clock and time to head for home.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Owls in the park.

Had to go into York this morning. Whilst walking through the Museum Gardens I came across a group who had birds of prey. For £3 you could put on a leather glove and hold one of the birds.