A Naturalist in Northumberland


Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Chinese...




See blog link top left...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fall...



Rain and showers early on with a light E3 could only mean one thing. Migrants.

Sure enough as I sat at work this morning I was regularly updated with news of scarcities the length of the east coast, including oddments on Holy Island.

I decided to get out of work at lunch time to stretch my legs. The nearest bit of migrant holding cover to me is the line at Cambois ( pronounced 'Cammus' to the uninitiated) where we saw the Golden Oriole the other week.

I walked the length of the site seeing only one each of Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff and decided to head back to the office when I heard a snatch of song from a willow and bramble thicket. It sounded different and then I noticed the tones of Goldfinch, Swallow and Blue Tit all coming from the same spot. The signs sparked my memory and I immediately thought - MARSH WARBLER!

After a few minutes trying to get a view Cambois patcher Steve Taylor arrived so I summoned him to the spot. We soon managed glimpses of the bird feeding low in the cover occasionally moving higher up. I rang the news out and one or two people arrived, Dave Elliott, Alan Giloney (Blyth Birder) and Brian Bullough ( Northumbrian Birder). 40 minutes had passed without further sign and I feared that the local Whitethroats and Sedgies would have people thinking I'd fluffed it but then Dave saw a movement and our bird clambered into the open to feed and back down again just as quickly. Phew.

Its a while since I've seen Marsh Warbler and to find my own made it even better. The notes above were done as soon as I got back into the car while the bird was fresh in my mind...

Later I gave Boulmer a thrashing but it was very quiet. The only migrants seen were 1 Garden Warbler and 1 Wheatear.

So, in the county today, RB Shrike, Rosefinch, Icterine an Barred Warbler on Holy Island, Rosefinch at Newton, Icterines at Newbiggin and St Mary's...there'll be more tomorrow I bet. The weather is still looking good.

102. Garden Warbler.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bank Holiday Blues.




Above - A pair of Goldfinches feeding on Dandies in amongst our poppies looked very nice this morning.




Mmmm...this is new, what is it?



I'm not sure what they are but they smell good...

This weekend we have just sat around the garden and the local beach really, doing very little indeed. Bunty has taken a shine to Jane's new patio tomato greenhouse for some reason?

Sunday, May 25, 2008



Above - Sibe Blue Robin on the beach...



Above - Click on the picture. In there is the brightest male Yellow breasted Bunting ever. Honest.



Above - I thought I had photographed an empty tree then saw this male Yellow rumped Flycatcher.

See the other blog for today's update...

Saturday, May 24, 2008





Another post on Boulmer Birder Xtra link on the left...

Friday, May 23, 2008



Above - Siberian Meadow Bunting. Great Wall.

Another update from China on the other blog. Link above left or the post below...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Beidiahe, Happy Island, Beijing Birding 2008.

Back from holiday in North East China and finally starting to recover from jet lag, here's an introduction to our trip. 8th - 19th May...



Above - China Crew, from back left...Jesper Hornskov ( Mr China, Bird Guide extraordinaire ), Rob Hopson ( Drift migrant from Yorkshire), Bob Biggs ( Trip Organiser 'Biggsyjet' and David Niven-a-like), and John ( I'm not one for drink, me) Rutter. Front from left, Iain Robson ( Ipin Blog, Druridge Birder fame), Andy McLevy ( Cresswell Godfather), Yours Truly, Boulmer Birder ( Looking well!), Richard Dunn ( Papparazzi) and Tom Cadwallender ( Anyone fancy doing an atlas tetrad?) on the Great Wall.


Above - The Great Wall.



Above - Birding Scenery, China style, a flyover construction site...



Above - Some of our 'Birding Mates'.



Above - What it was all about....Ibisbill.

I have quite a few photo's and things to report so to stop clogging this blog the posts will be on Boulmer Birder Extra!.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Boulmer Birder...



...is away birding until 20th May. See you all soon...when normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Until then, some snaps from my last time abroad, Slovakia 2006...Ural Owl, Lesser spotted Eagle ( in a bush on the edge of a laybye!) and Three toed Woodpecker ( go on count them...).



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Goldy 'O'



Sunny, warm with a light SE breeze, some hazy spells...

On my way to work this morning the pager blurts out 'Golden Oriole at Cambois'. Now this is on my way to work but all my gear is packed ready to go on holiday ( would you believe it, typical ) so I thought it would probably be gone before my arrival so I put it to the back of my mind. Until ADMc rang me to say that he was watching it and it was showing well. Optics, thinks I, and indicated off the duel carriageway...

At first, the bird was only seen as it flew through the bushes but after half an hour it appeared in some rose twigs up a baffle bank and sat out in the open like a shrike! What a cracker. A female but it was a bright luminous green complete with red bill. A great bonus for the spring.

Golden Orioles are sometimes seen in Northumberland mainly in May but they are typically elusive one day migrants. I've dipped one or two, so I'm over the moon to claw this one back to my county list.

Better than the Stork anyway and deservedly number 316 on the list...

Later this evening at Boulmer, 1 House Martin, 2 Teal, 4 Whimbrel and a Wheatear.

102. House Martin.
103. Teal.

Northumberland County 316. Golden Oriole.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tonight a Common Sandpiper was on the shore down from the seawatch seat...

101. Common Sandpiper.

Monday, May 05, 2008



Rothbury, looking well, hiding the hellish bank holiday traffic...




Remember the Song Thrush nest in our outhouse? Well it has young now and the adults are feeding strongly. This shot was taken on the new camera alone, at a range of about 40 feet. The Robin is also back and forward with food for its newly hatched young too.

Today was a lovely warm spring day. At Boulmer this morning I finally caught up with Yellow Wagtail on the patch with a male feeding on the washed up seaweed along the shore. The day was spent at Rothbury visiting the food fair then back home to plant up the pots and hanging baskets in the garden.

One unusual sighting not seen by many south of here was a Fulmar road casualty dead next to Longhoughton Quarry. This is about 2 miles inland! I think it has probably tried to land on the wet road last night during the rain and met its fate. They try to nest in the quarry each year. Can't be a regular cause of death for these birds....

100. Yellow Wagtail.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Alnmouth...





Above- Wren, Robin and Linnet unthinkable with the digi-scope...all at Alnmouth common.



Above - While taking the top pics, I thought this Willow Warbler was becoming agitated. I was almost standing on its nest! I carefully replaced the vegetation and moved away immediately...



Above - This Pheasant gave me a strange glance while leaving the Willow Warbler.

Hundreds of hirundines feeding above the waterworks carousels at Alnmouth...



Above - The bottom right hand Swallow was very different, with a russet belly. A well marked male. All the others were ordinary ...




Above - Digiscoped for a closer look. A good mix of Swallows, Sand Martins and the odd House Martin ( in the more distant shot further up).


Thanks to Roger Forster for the tips...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Some practice shots...







Some of our daily visitors. Results ok considering they were taken through double glazed windows that really need cleaned...

At Seaton Point this morning a good count of 18 Whimbrel were in the field across from the car park, 1+ Lesser Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler were in the golf course bushes, a Sedge Warbler could be heard singing nearby, 2 Grey Partridges were on the runways and Linnets were everywhere with some flocks still around of up to 30 birds.

As is typical of a Bank Holiday weekend, a whole surfing and kite flying crew have decended onto Boulmer haven. I can't understand why because the beach is covered in boulders and the sea is as flat as a mill pond in the haven...I think they should go back to Druridge to see Ipin....

Friday, May 02, 2008

I forgot to say what it was...its the Panasonic Lumix FZ18. Not for me the joy's of the SLR. A bit too expensive for someone who just dabbles. I was impressed by Ipin's photo's on his blog, so I thought I would give it a go. It might give me a chance with some of those flitting passerines such as the Chiffy below...

Still a few Whimbrel dotted around Boulmer, another 4 in different places tonight.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New camera...












same old photographer!