Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another cold and windy day with a NNE6 and leaden skies. Fortunately the rain held off until dark.

A wander around the Foxton and Alnmouth area this morning with JWR turned up a few spring migrants.

At Foxton Bends what we assume was a pair of breeding plumaged Green Sandpipers took the 'best of the day' award. A much different bird to the autumn juveniles we are used to, these ones were nicely speckled above in black and white. Nearby a Brambling called then flew west while our first Swift of the year flew north overhead.

From here we walked the golf course at Alnmouth. The pond trees held Whitethroat, a singing male with a beak full of nesting material. How do they do that? A Sedge Warbler was also a year first but was sensible and stayed at the bottom of a thick patch of brambles.Plenty of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler and Blackcaps were heard but only s few showed themselves.

A half hour seawatch curtailed due to hypothermia was very slow except for Razorbills and Guillemots with hundred flying north.

Green Alkanet

Spring Beauty carpeted the banks in a bright acidic green.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yes I'm still here....

This is getting pretty dreary isnt it. My posts are very thin on the ground these days so here is something to start with.

Last week I was up there in Scotland. Speyside to be precise. We had a nice house in forest near Dulnain Bridge. The first couple of days were cool but sunny, but the rest of the week was pretty much like the rest of April has been, but colder.

We got out when ever the weather allowed but the landscape was very much still wintry up there with little bird activity. We had a lone Osprey on a nest away from the Garten site, sitting with its back into a blizzard, 4 Crested Tits in Abernethy and thats about it really. Roe Deer and Red Deer plus one or two plants helped the days along....

Holiday House - Craignay.


Bearberry - Lochindorb

False Morel - Abernethy

Friday, April 13, 2012

No, none...

Our Blackbirds in the ivy are feeding young now and the outhouse Robins have 2 eggs...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Its been a long winter....

12th April. Still nowt. A pair of Shelduck on the coast path were new for the year but proper migrants - nil. While it has long been known that Northumberland does not have a spring, due the the cooling effect of the north sea coupled with the high ground and northerly latitude, this year is getting ridiculous.

For me I reckon on Wheatear on or about 3rd April, Sand Martin first week in April, Willow Warbler 8th, Blackcap 10th, Sandwich Tern similar,  etc, but so far none of them. Swallows are due in the village on about the 15th. At this rate its going to be summer before I see them!

Oh well the Coot is still on the pond along with the same 2 Teal, 4 Tufted and 1 Goldeneye...

Maybe this weekend will drop some in....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Excuses excuses...

Ground Ivy
What can I say. April 11th and not a single blog post. Why? Well, my computer is at death's door and is very slow indeed. I fear every new photo uploaded will do for it, so I am pondering some expense. In the next few weeks I will be getting a new one, powerful enough to launch satellites, but, til then its back to my seven year old one.

Checking the spec on it is a laugh. My current machine is steam driven - 512mb RAM and 160gb HDD. No wonder its slow. I have my eye on one with 6gb RAM and a TB HDD...That should load sites and pics quicker.

So what else have I not been doing....seeing migrants that what. To date, Chiffy is my lot. Not a Wheatear or Sand Martin has gone this way, yet, but I'm sure they will soon. No Blackcaps or Willow Warblers either, what on earth is going on!

I have had one bird highlight though so brace yourself  - Coot. Oh yes, I can induce envy in the hardest of listers. The other day I was over the moon with a Coot on our pond. Its the first since spring 09, making it rarer than Yellow browed Warbler and Barred Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Pomarine Skua, three diver sp, Purple Sandpipers, Storm Petrel(!) Snow Bunting and Waxwing. Patch watching is great for putting things into context...

None-bird highlights - some nice Ground Ivy flowering in the woods among the daffs, mmmmm, er, ...oh dear. Yes - moths - Oak Nycteoline and Chamomile Shark, both scarce county species graced the garden this month.

Thats about it really. I'm still getting out and about just not seeing much. You'll be the first to hear when I do...