Sunday, 29 March 2020

White Brown

I came across two Brown Hares today while wandering through the Longdyke Dene, one was very pale, I've not seen this before in Brown Hares, quite striking in the field, I managed a few shots before they dashed off.

A single Buzzard floated down the Dene, two Jays, Long Tailed Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker completed a cold and windy walk, none of the singing Chiff Chaffs I'd seen in previous days before the cold north wind started

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Chiff Chaff Chiff Chaff

Its wonderful when the first Chiff Chaffs appear. Walking hedgerows and through the Longdyke Dene, the air is full of their lovely song. I popped out this afternoon to try a few snaps..

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Mellow Yellow

I had listened to Chris Packham's broadcast about his garden Primroses on Facebook, it was really good. Inspired and knowing Primroses can be found in the woodlands local to me here I decided to take a walk out to see if I could find any at all.
Success, plenty of Primroses to attempt a photograph, also Lesser Celandine and a blaze of Gorse flowers to complete the yellow theme. I fluked my first butterfly too in a clear fell area, Small Tortoiseshell. 

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Winter Yellow

After Christmas and a few days of illness I drove the 30 mins or so to Prestwick Carr. The Eastern Yellow Wagtail still present, I'd missed the early rush for this visitor from North East Siberia and daresay didn't deserve to see it.


This lovely little bird was showing nicely, feeding in some rough pasture close to the fence bordering one of the tracks.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Wood Sand

I always feel when I can't quite work out what to do or where to go then a trip to Hedgeley Reserve is always a good idea. It had been a while since I'd experienced the high numbers of Common Darters you can get there along the tracks, hedgerows and lanes later in the summer, there and there had been a Wood Sandpiper reported recently so I could do the proper birder thing too. 

I started by walking anti clockwise around the ponds on the eastern side of the main track, through the fields and returning by following the River Breamish. 

Plenty of birds to be had, Wood Sandpiper was seen well on the first Largest pond, feeding on one of the shingle spits. 

Also of note, 
Greenshank 1
a good count of Gadwall 42+, 
Goldeneye 6+
Little Grebe 27

Redpolls were buzzing overhead, a small group of Crossbills too. A couple of Raven circled, cronking away, headed south then headed back North away from the ponds.

4 Grey Wagtails counted during the walk.

As I walked the main track that separates the new from the old ponds there were countless Common Darters on the wing, exactly what I'd hoped, I went back to the car to change my lens.

Never ever tire of watching these insects, so alert and so beautiful

Thursday, 11 July 2019


Back in the summer of 2016 our small garden pond was visited by a Southern Hawker Dragonfly

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I observed that this visitor must have been a female as she was egg laying, selecting various parts of the pond edge vegetation, stones etc

Fast forward three years. While gazing at the pond one sunny day I noticed an empty larval case on a plant stem little way into the pond over deeper water. This was the interesting enough until I spotted the fully emerged Southern Hawker just above.

This is clearly an offspring of that female that visited in 2016 as the larvae spend two full years under water. Amazing that a small garden pond plays host to such a magnificent insect

Friday, 21 June 2019

The Longdyke Ghost

Staring at an unimpressive attempt at a wildflower meadow on part of my lawn this afternoon and something caught my eye. The area was a patch long grass and clover in the middle of the lawn that I was quite pleased with really, bees were loving it.

What caught my eye though was a silky white shape resembling a small handkerchief that had been discarded by a miniature passing dandy..

It was a superb male Ghost Moth.

That and following evenings I added to this experience by managing to observe these moths display flighting for females over thistles and long vegetation in the sheep pasture adjacent to the garden..