Friday, 29 May 2009

Day out to the North East (Thur 21st May)

Cant remember what time we set off at cos it was more than a week ago when we went but it was fair early about 7am. I picked up Gary from his Broffle and we headed east for the day with the first major sighting been a stoat crossing the road 10 meters from us. Two kestrels also hovering roadside on route to Rowlands Gill. On the trip across I was showing gaz how to drive properly as he has got a lot to learn the road knowlodge, (you know its true Garath). The highlight of the day is now as Gary said he would give me £100 if we diddnt see any so i was in a win/win situation but would rather see these in the wild than have 100 pun! Anyway as soon as we entered Rowlands Gill a Red Kite was circling just above us quite low down and it was the first RK id ever witnessed which i was delighted about! as We drove through the village towards Garys house we seen another couple in the skies and it made my realise that he lives in a superb area with the introduction of the RKs so close to him.

We went for a stroll in Chopwell woods which is a large woodland just next to Rowlands Gill Which is full of wildlife. Bird sightings in the woodland were Chaffinch and Blackcap and also Bullfinch. Plenty of Grey Squirrels around which shows they are well and trully making there way up the country. Talking of Squirrels I still havent had a Red Squirrel sighting in Geltsdale this year as they are a common afair in years gone by. We came across some small ponds on the edge of the woodland so me and gary the Pro Newt catchers moved in to see what small amphibians we could spy. The first one we seen was doing a lot of chilling and sunbathing but then we discovered it was dead but we still counted it as a recoreded sighting! We seen about half a douzen more after that but gary was not sharp enough to catch any so we moved on.

We moved down to the river hoping for kingfisher and enjoyed a sighting of a dipper and its young chick then just when we were leaving Gary heard the Short whistle like call of the Kingfisher and when we looked down we seen a flash of blue moving down stream and as it stopped on an over hanging branch we got a good view admiring the Kingfisher for a few minutes before it moved on, Success!

Next stop was to head over to the east coast to Creswell Pond where we went to the nature reserve with some well set out bird Hides to view out of. When we parked up in Garys Chav motor an old wise man told us about three otters just been viewed playing in one of the water reserves so I was excited to see them as we werent successful in seeing them in Isle Of Mull on the easter weekend. The first hide we went to we spent about 15 min scanning for otters with no joy again! We got a few herons and a Ringed Plover, also a good number of Common Tern and Arctic Tern. We viewed a huge number of Woodpigeon in the distance with a Buzzard circling above. We went to check out the second hide which included sightings of a common sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Tufted Duck and a clumsy herron that fell over on its long thin legs. We made way back to the first hide to look for the otters again but they must just keep hiding when they see me coming! A guy was in the hide with an impressive SLR camara and good sized lense which i am going to own one day when my money tree starts to blossom!

Duridge bay was the next port of call right on the coast with some stunning beaches and views out to sea. Had a quick scan for whales out on the ocean but who the hell was I kidding. Went to a small nature reserve with Noisy metal hides which some bird watchers had covered in graffiti with things like Gaz Y2K was Ere! which was unfortunate but the hides were crud anyway to be honest. Seena number of herons, Ringed Plver, Comoront, Dunlin. We started to get cold and hungry so we went back to Garys Residence for tea where we had gorgous home made Lasagne and Garlic Bread and also seen another two Red Kites acctually Circling over his house viewing them from the garden so was a great finish to the day.

Still waiting on the flaming camara to come so sorry for no pictures again which will make my blogs look a lot more professional. Also need to learn to publish my blogs at the time of my trips and sightings because I end up forgetting bits of it but I will get better as im still getting into the routine of blogging!

Sightings record

Rowlands Gill / Chopwell Woods
  • Red Kite 8+
  • Smooth Newts 10+
  • Grey Squirrel 15
  • Kingfisher
  • Dipper 2
  • Blackcap 2
  • Kestrel 2
  • Chaffinch 2
  • Bull Finch 2
  • Goosander
  • Mallard 6
  • Stoat

Duridge Bay

  • Heron 10
  • Ringed Plover
  • Common Tern 20+
  • Arctic Tern 20+
  • Cormoront
  • Redshank
  • Dunlin
  • Linnett

Creswell Pond

  • Common Tern
  • Sandwich tern 10+
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Godwall
  • Tufted Duck
  • Shellduck
  • Redshank
  • Oystercatcher
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Sedge warbler
  • Black Headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Curlew
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Buzzard
  • Heron
  • Woddpigeon 500+

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Afternoon Geltsdale strole with Woody and Suzie

Headed out at about 12 noon GMT and as I was checking the skies for rain clouds a woodcock flew past the kitchen window so it was a nice suprice to the day. It was forcast showers but was clear for the time being so I ventured out with the two pooches Woody and Suzie by my side for good company and someone to talk to. Also got my pocket tree book which my mum bought me from Aberdeen the other month and has been very well used sinse and provided essential knowlodge and information in my tree identification skills. I recon I can identify 9 or 10 trees with my own skills without the magic book so im making progress and happy with it! On the track town to the river Gelt I made a successful identification of a young Elder tree so was good start. Every time I go down the track now I am learning a new tree type and have got most of them covered on the stretch down the track so am delighted with that! Main ones are European Larch which is my fave tree, and some young Oak which i also identified today, also scotts pine towards the bottom of the track.
did not see a dipper today down by the bridge but yesterday there was one sat on a rock very close by with its clear white chest facing me. The three of us headed up to the small woodland which i am going to have to call 'John Milos wood' as he was responsible for the plantation 20 odd years ago which is full of mature silver birch at 20 meters in height. Also present in the woodland are three ponds also created by the man himself and they have plenty of life in them. Plenty of Smooth Newts visible again but wiht no help from the dogs lapping the water every minute or so and eyeing up the dog looking back at them in the reflection. No sign of the P-F Catcher but the constant rain showers diddnt help with the viewing.
I moved up onto Talkin Head hoping for Yellowhammer and Sparrowhawk again and as I got upto the top Could hear plenty of mewing from the buzzards above as they came out to display as there was a break in the clouds. I counted upto six at one time and had some stunning views of them with clear visibility of their under wing colouration. I followed one into a potential nest site in a tree by wannops farm so am gonna check that out in the next few days so will keep you posted on that. Made tracks home as weather started pishing again so as I was heading down Milos wood again looked up to see a female sparrowhawk with its distinguishable flap flap glide flight pattern. it was also joined by a female kestrel and you could see the comparison in size and also the difference in wingshapes with the kestrels pointy wings and the Sparrowhawks rounded more sepherical wing tips. Also heard a strange clicking alarm call made by some bird which was obviouslly aware of the predators above. Another success with sightings tree knowlodge coming along and had more rewards when heading towards Brampton later in the day A great spotted Woodpecker flew right past me with its obvious undulating flight pattern.
On another note just to update the sightings from a week ago Me, gary and Rachel went out into the Geltsdale valley one pleasant evening and witnessed a Peregrine Falcon and a Short eared Owl in one view so that was another highlight of recent times.
Just to say there will be some cracking snap shots uploaded onto my blog of sightings made (if im quick enough) but im just waiting on a new camara to get delivered this week sometime with a strong zoom to get close to thew action so Will let you know when its arrived and you will be able to tell by the quality of the images. So over and out for now!

Sightings Record (20-05-09)
  • 6 Buzzards
  • 2 Kestrels
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Smooth Newts 20+
  • great spotted Woodpecker
  • Elder tree Identified

Newts & Pied Flycatcher (Tue 12th May)

First post of the new blog welcome to all of you who are looking at my blog! in other words Hi Gary and someone who has got the wrong web page. But I am gonna try and get the word out to all who would be interested and keep it updated with all my sightings and Learnings.
Headed out early 8am early which is early for me! my friend flaurence the famrer always says 'you only think there is one 6 oclock in a day'. Anyway I went to pick up my pecker partner gary Edward Storey and on the way driving through Cordy Hill i seen a raptor of some sort which looked bigger than a buzzard and red colouration on it but was not sure at all as it was just a glanse. With Gaz we called into Warwick Bridge to walk down a public route along side a tributary of the river Eden whre we heard a Kingfisher, well gary did, we also seen two greylag geese. I also taught gary the distinguishable differences and featured between a Swallow, swift and a house martin with the swallow having the pointy fork Tail and the Swift having the body shape similar to an anchor and the house martin having the white rump. We did not see any otters that we were hoping ot see but maybe next time as the famous saying goes. We moved onto the main attraction of Geltsdale where we called into Jockey Shield to get scope and binos and headed down to the small wood on the other side of the river Gelt which is full of Silver Birch and John Master Milo had heard the pied flycatcher calling the other morning. In the woodland we were delighted to see Smooth newts in one of the three ponds with Gary Catching one using the Quick Hand Scoop technique.

Next thing we know when admiring the many Smooth newts Gazzateer heres a unique unrecognisable alarm call which could well be what he is looking for to mkae his 201st different UK bird sighting and with Great Success it was there purched just chiling right above the pond we were at and diddnt seen to be bothered by our presense.

Sorry this is the best snapshot I could get of the pied flycatcher as we took this using phonescopping using my 2mp Cell phone and my dads pair of Leica Binos we also could not stop laughing while doing it which made the shacking 10 times worse so this is the best out of a bad bunch!
After admiring the flycatcher and newts together for around 45 minutes we moved onto Talkin head hoping to see yellowhammer and a Sparrowhawk. The week before my dad had set me the task of seeing the Yellowhammer that evening but I was unsuccessful so was hoping today would be the day. Walking along the top track a bird flashed right across me in the colour of a shade of yellow so was pritty sure that was the bird, but within seconds after that a male sparrowhawk shot right across our path and as we admired it it seemed to be making a kill in the way it positioned its body and lifted its talons up. We also admired Buzzards and Kestrels displaying over the valley so was overall a good news day and hoping for more to come!

Sightings Recorded:
  • 2 Buzzards
  • 2 Kestrel
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Short eared Owl
  • 20+ Smooth Newts
  • Heard Kingfisher!
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Yellowhammer?
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Wild Garlic!