Monday, 19 May 2014

A quickie

Not much spare time today but managed to pop out locally early afternoon. Nice and warm and sunny.
Cheviots from Alnwick Moor
Quiet on moorland close to home, Cuckoo calling, Siskin, Skylark, Willow Warbler and Chaffinch. As I was watching a few White Butterflies, far too active to p[hotograph I heard a squeaking at my feet. It sounded like a nest full of young birds.
It was in fact an Adder with a small rodent, the poor thing was sqealing for a good few minutes untill it eventually fell silent. I did manage to get a photograph of sorts, centre left if you look closely.
Adder with prey
I headed to Rabbit Lonnen on the outskirts of Alnwick with an idea to photograph some butterflies. I didnt have much success, too warm. There were Orange Tips, Whites and a Wall Brown but they were much to active in the warm early afternoon sunshine.

Rabbit Lonnen

Woods at near Denwick at the start of Rabbit Lonnen

Forget me not flowers
Ratcheugh Tower from the Lonnen

Nettletap Moth on a Dandelion flower

Alnwick from Denwick woodland

The only Butterfly I managed to photograph

Monday, 12 May 2014

Show me your Tips

Low Newton this morning, parked at the car park, and paid, then headed north towards Beadnell. We checked flooded fields just behind the sand dunes, very quiet. Afetr a very brief scan of the area we headed back south, the noise coming from the Tern Colony at Long Nanny tempted us to wander over to the wardens hut and take a look.

Warden and birders scanning the Tern Colony
The whole Colony has been roped off and access is controlled around the clock by five wardens on site. We got some great views of Arctic Terns pairing up and preparing nesting sites. Up to 4 Little Terns were seen and an Arctic Skua flew into Beadnell Bay chasing Sandwich Terns.

Arctic Terns
We left the Terns to their noisy business and headed back to Low Newton.

Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were singing from the woodland where we parked the car near the little tin church. We had tea and some fine cake before heading for Newton Pool.
Quiet here also on the scrapes and reserve. A Yellow Wagtail flew past and two Reed Warblers were singing from the reed beds and scrub fringing the main pool.

On our way back from the hide we took our time walking along the path that leads away from the reserve, the cloud was breaking up nicely and there were sheltered areas in between the trees and behind the high sand dunes that were warming up nicely. One small area held a fabulous Orange Tip butterfly,several Small Whites and a single and very small Green Veined White.
The Orange Tip sat up and, typically when I'm wanting a photograph, closed its wings. They are really nice even with their wings closed showing underwing patterning, I wanted to see the upperwing though and those lovely orange tips. Upperwing photograph is dissapointingly out of focus a little but it was well in focus in the field.

Orange Tip

Monday, 5 May 2014

Rosemary, Lily and The Jack of Hearts

Parked up in the car park at Warkworth Dunes mid morning, thought I'd check the Coquet Estuary. The sound was wonderful, singing birds; Summer visitors seemed loudest, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiff Chaff as well as some residents, Robin, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Wren, Skylark and Blackbird.
A group of younger people than myself had made the car park their home for the day and were cooking food and generally wandering around vehicles and tents. Music was playing loudly and competing with the birdsong. The title of this post will give you the idea, I do like Bob Dylan but I wanted to hear the birds, I headed off to the estuary.

Old Water
Some good early wild flowers to enjoy now. I love White Dead Nettles, great insect flowers.

White Dead Nettles
As I approached the start of the saltmash I could see it was very low tide, not many birds to see, a single drake Gadwall drifted slowly closer to the reed bed as I approached.
The salt marsh was carpetted in the wonderful white flowers of English Scurvy Grass
(I think).
English Scurvy Grass
I Followed the track along the north shore of the estuary and stopping occasionally to scope the low tide mud flats. Nothing really of interest, a small group of Sandwich Tern were the only birds of note.



Common Spotted Orchid flowering

There is a cut that runs through the sand dunes and leads to the north peir, I was wandering through the soft sand and cursing to myself for having brought my telescope, selected wellington boots as the footwear required for this walk and put on a jacket. It really was a warm morning, very pleasant, if I'd not brought my scope and dressed for winter. 

My eye was caught by some butterflies at my feet. Fabulous Green Veined Whites. I counted approximately 12 or so in this area, these superb little butterflies were the highlight of this outing without a doubt. They were fluttering from Dandelion flowers and the light Westerly breeze was blowing then around making photographing them difficult. A couple of surfer dudes walked past me when I was lying on my front in the sand taking a picture, I could tell what they were thinking and I wanted to explain, I said nothing.


Green Veined Whites

I walked to the pier end and then back to Bob Dylan...