Saturday, November 17, 2012

Alnwick Wildlife Group Blog

Hi all, can I take this opportunity to point you in the direction of the relatively new Alnwick Wildlife Group blog ( (CLICK HERE or see link in my right hand column)).

There are 5 authors at the minute with maybe a few more to follow, to bring news of the wildlife of North Northumberland and sometimes other areas.It is hoped to attract newcomers and experienced alike to the wildlife of the area.

Please feel free to pop in and comment and even follow us.

You might even end up joining the group!

Cheers Stewart.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Blue Hawk...

As the weather today was bright, and clear with a light SW3 blowing we headed off to one of our upland patches.

At the first stop, good numbers of Reed Buntings were attracted to various scattered pheasant feeders, but the highlight was a calling flyover Snow Bunting heading west. A female Stonechat also kept us company, and the fields held 50+ Fieldfares with 200+ Starlings.

After a cuppa, another site seemed very quiet in comparison. A Stoat crossed our path and 2 Roe does ran over the moor. Leaning on a five bar gate, as you do, I noticed a 'lapwing' crossing the heather distantly to our east. Then closer examination changed the morning. This was no lapwing, but an adult, silvery grey male Hen Harrier quartering the ground ahead.

We had a superb hour watching him hunt around at varying ranges, in good light, until we finally left him to it.

What a bird. Its such a shame every moor doesn't hold these...

Back home, 50+ Waxwings dropped in to the apple trees as usual. There are maybe two or three days feeding left here before they head south...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Waxwing Update...

Numbers of Waxwings in our village have gone from 4 to 14 to 36, to 100+ this morning thanks to two apple trees still hanging with fruit in a neighbours garden.

In the still of the morning the calls were superb as they circled over our heads.

Here are a few photos...If I had a proper camera, I could have filled my boots here, but you'll have to make do with these I'm afraid...

If I remember rightly they are aged and sexed by wing markings and chin patterns though I havent consulted 'Svensson'. Please keep me right if I have made an error here - 

I think - 

Immature male ( some yellow, more and larger red tips)

Immature female ( very little yellow, and few,small red tips)

Adult male female ( bright yellow with white ladder effect, plus long red tips)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A late patch list addition...

As autumn slowly merges into winter, new species on the patch seem very hard to come by. So, when I came home at lunchtime today, I was very pleased to see a small party of Waxwings fly up into some tall trees, from a neighbours garden.

After a short sojourn calling and flycatching, the four glided back down into the gardens, and in particular, on to an over ripe apple tree. Here they got stuck in for a while alongside the immigrant Blackbirds, before some kids came out to play on a trampoline. Even tame Waxwings cant stand that. They flew off strongly to the south...

This is the third year in succession I have had waxers on the patch list. I can remember when 'Wawing Winters' were very scarce indeed, now they occur most years in variable numbers.