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Friday, 26 April 2013

Pectoral Sandpiper ....Holywell pond

The lack of an internet connection for a few days  has made me realise just how much I use it , but sorted with the help of a brilliant team from PLUSNET.
Checking the local patch of late when I could and added ,  White Wagtail, Wheatear and Yellow Wagatil , the report of Pectoral Sandpiper in the Holywell area but I could not get up till Monday ,checked the small pool and the shore from the public hide  but no sign a pair of GCG and about 15 Pochards viewed from the east hide some waders drifted in and headed down to the shore I could see Redshank and Dunlin but thought it worth checking so off I went back to the public hie to find the Pectoral in with them it only stayed about 5mins or so before they all set off again, a nice bird to add to the local list.
 Digiscoped images of the Pectoral Sandpiper

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Belsay Hall

I was informed that we could now visit English Heritage properties for free with a corporate pass  well to good an opportunity to miss so we headed off to Belsay Hall as I have not been here for some time , I am not to impressed with the house/hall itself but the grounds I do like some nice paths wend there way to the ruined castle , and another path takes you past the lake and through a woodland in a circle . Nuthatch a plenty calling , and 2 Great Spotted drumming , with Tufted Mallard Teal on the lake and nesting Mute swans ,I thought we might have had Willow warbler and Chiffs but no although they could have been singing in the early morn . While at the castle I looked back and said look a swallow my first of the year ,but putting the bins on it it turned out to be a bat turning and flying close to the wall it just disappeared we sat in the sun for ten or so minutes in the hope it would re-emerge for a photo but no luck , so not first Swallow of the year but first Bat.
Although it does puzzle me why we have to have two organizations National Trust and English Heritage  to look after properties for the nation Belsay is well worth a visit for the grounds alone and it's not too far to get there , they seem to have a lot of special events  throughout the year so they might tempt you  !!  
 The hall although I have been in several times we gave it a miss this visit far to nice a day

 The walks through the old quarry are particularly good ,nice sheltered sun traps

 which bring you out onto the castle
View from the castle roof

 What  little ecosystem lives on top of this rock which has probably been isolated for about 100 years
 Model Plan of the house lower right and castle left

Monday, 15 April 2013

Little Gull

Just sorted a few more images from the recent influx of Little Gulls and thought you might like to see this one

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Fun at Fontburn Reservoir

Edit: it's the 10th of April as I catch up with the blog and it's still bloody cold these could well be still around.

At the end of the Month we had a run to Fontburn reservoir usually at this time of year you can catch up with some early migrants ,but not this year , a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming on a metal plate of a telegraph pole resonated throughout the area on this cold grey day . First a walk around the north shore you can't actually walk all the way around , the grim sight of 5 dead sheep in one field summed up the conditions experienced this SPRING, the usual Canada Geese , a few Mallard and about a dozen Teal all that was on the lake , a distant Buzzard and a couple of Great Tits was the total for this side. There has been a fairly recent addition of a pond near the car park which could prove useful for Dragonflies  . Back to the car for a warm and a coffee ,which is where I left my other half reading a book as I headed around the South side it's easy walking with boardwalks where required  again not much bird life , a Wren, 2 Chaffinch (numerous t the car park) 2 Pied Wagtails , but from the north side I could see ice formations along the shore where the wind had constantly splashed water over the trees etc. . There was some quite spectacular   formations just shows you don't know what your going to find so get out there .I insisted my other half came around for a look it took some convincing to leave the car but she did think it worth it in the end !!

 This was the oddest shape just formed on the end of a branch ,I had to lean over and take pot luck with the shot,hence my boot in the frame
 Stalagmites and Stalactites yes , but what do you call this ?
 Nature is marvellous these must have started as individual icicles then blended together ,a time lapsed shot would have been fantastic 
 A few Cormorants on the end and the start of the overflow on the right 

 The overflow hole what a piece of engineering ,like something from a Bond movie,the overflow drops down here(look how level it is) and comes out here ,the dark area by the trees,it's quite a drop .An old rail bridge in the background

Looking over to the north
 About 2/3 of the lake was frozen  looking rather bleak

Friday, 5 April 2013

Blyth Harbour Beach

Here are a few shots from the recent visit of Little Gulls to Blyth Beach and Harbour area, I took rather a lot of photos you just have to take them while you can  just lately ,I enjoy the taking of them anyway it's more when you look back over the years a photo brings back instant memories of the day (well most of the time), a couple of Kittiwakes also dropped in to feed numerous Turnstones, Sanderlings, a Rock Pipit and  three Purple Sandpipers gave good views as they dropped down onto the beach from the 4-5 ' bank that was formed as the surging waters washed away the shore ,what they where picking up must have minute as I could see nothing save for the small shrimp taken by a Purple Sandpiper.

 Purple Sandpiper with a sort of shrimp

The following taken with mi phone, there are Little Gulls in there somewhere
 Thats a lot of sand removed , Turnstones on the top waiting to drop down on any morsels of food
 In the corner a large amount of seaweed ,small branches ,and all sorts of other rubbish , including the odd Puffin and Lapwing .
 It's actually calming down in this shot and again Little Gulls in there somewhere