I hope! New PC comes back tomorrow after getting my saved hard drive uploaded on to it. Hopefully this will see an upturn in blog posts after a meagre February output. It’s been a long month...
Monday, February 08, 2021
A week since my last post and I’m still on the iPad. I’ve been catching up on my favourite bloggage but see that most faves have as little output as me! Maybe it’s due to waiting for it all to happen during this mini freeze up. Still, Dylan, Steve, Peter, Gav and Seth are all up to date.
Over the week I’ve seen a few bits and pieces, even photographed some, but all of that remains on the Sandisc until my technological issues are resolved. The good news is, my hard disc survived intact, the bad is the rest of the workings seem fried.
So, please hang with me a while longer. As the Great man says, I’ll be back...
|Storm Darcy bigging it up on the patch.|
Monday, January 25, 2021
A quick update on here on Jane’s iPad.
On Thursday evening we had an 8hr powercut, that resulted in my PC going off with a crack when I turned it back on, on Friday morning. It appears to be as dead as a door nail. I am hoping it’s the power pack that is burnt out and not my hard drive with all my photos, scans of drawings and documents such as lists, database, spreadsheets etc. Time will tell.
So I am now in conversation with the insurance company and trying to find someone to recover my drive.
Chances are, as you would expect, this may not go as seamlessly as I would hope, so for the time being the blog will be in hibernation. It will be resurrected as soon as my hardware is sorted...
Thursday, January 21, 2021
I have seen on Twitter that quite a few birders are taking on the new 5MR birding challenge. That is birding / listing within a 5 miles radius from their home, so they are staying local when exercising.
Before that came about though, Alan Tilmouth, our NBNO or Northumberland Bird Network Organiser - a good job title I've just made up for him, set up a county 5 km radius patch list page that is currently trending on BUBO.
Out of interest, I thought I would compare the two areas directly to see if it would be greatly different and found this for my area -
That is some extension. If I was to take on the 5 mile radius, it would cover the local patches of Gary Woodburn in the North at Low Newton, Tom Cadwallender in the South at Alnmouth and Ben Steel / Dan Langston / Mark Eaton / John Rutter and myself in between.
Even though 50% is in the sea, the other landward half is a big area, a bit big to call it one patch really,as is the 5km to be fair, so I'll just stick with the original plan, even though I do frequently get about to the other places.
I am always interested in these type of geographical monitoring areas. Its a great way to learn about your 'own' wildlife. Usually I would treat zones separately so I list Howick, do regular birding at Boulmer, venture to 4 or 5 inland sites west of Alnwick for invertebrates and other forms but if I were to measure the whole range I watch for 90% of any given year, it covers no more than about 12 miles from home.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Its been all birdy for weeks now and I am eager for some variety when the weather gets a bit warmer. Soon it will be time to dust off the moth trap and get some early spring moths caught, but for the minute cold, dull weather means birds will still be the way to go.
As a taster of things to come I was pleased to see this small Many plumed Moth in our house last night, my first moth of 2021 on MapMate...
|Many Plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla beside a drawing pin for size.|
Last night dusk was around 4.45pm as I took Peggy out. It was just about light enough to look for a Barn Owl over the back field but it seemed quiet. Then a movement caught the periphery of my view . In the gloaming, a Buzzard, a male, was in full hunt pursuit of something just behind the hedge line. Then I got my eye on the victim, a bird, very unusual... made even more so when I saw the bird was a Sparrowhawk. You would think it could easily out pace a lumbering Buteo, but its surprising what a run it gave. The hawk had to switch and flip before plummeting like an arrow into some small Scots Pines beside the village hall. the Buzzard followed the same route straight in with such a clatter. The hawk emerged from the other side and off across the road, but it was now too dark to see the Buzzard again.
This shows that these large carrion, worm, and vole eating raptors are more active than you might first think. The Sparrowhawk should thank its lucky stars.
Sunday, January 17, 2021
This morning dawned clear, fine and cold. Just right for a walk into some of the less visited places around home. The loop from home to Craster and back is a shade over 4 miles, taking in the fields just inland to the north then back by the usual coast route.
Only half a mile NW of home are a few long term set a side fields. I always forget how good they look for feeding finch and bunting flocks and possibly some attendant raptors. Today they held a nice selection of passerines with 40+ Reed Buntings, 60+ Goldfinches, 30+ and 100+ Linnet flocks, 7 and 16+ Yellowhammers, 50+ Chaffinches and 6 Grey Partridges.
|Some of the Reed Buntings in dock.|
|Above - Reed Buntings|
Year list targets this morning included - Brambling, Greenfinch ( yes thats right), Red legged Partridge, Woodcock, Merlin, Peregrine and Willow Tit. Its fair to say that I largely failed with this lot, but there is plenty of time until spring to seek them out. Rome wasn't built in a day.
|Raven low overhead, calling.|
|The view north from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle, the northern edge of my local patch.|
|Fulmars on Cullernose cliffs. No seawatching today.|
|The Common Scoter flock just off the south end of Craster. Imagine living here !|
Sunday, January 10, 2021
This morning I set off on an walk beyond the reaches of the Howick patch, over the burn mouth footbridge into Boulmer. Its not that I dont go there, I just usually don't walk to Boulmer. To save time, I drive to the main car park and work away from there but today, in the spirit of Lockdown, it was Shanks's all the way. The route is below -
|A 9 km stroll took all morning with stops to scan and search.|
The target for this morning were the waders at Boulmer that are in good numbers on the mud, but are scarce on my turf due to the rocky shore.
|This is Howick burn moth footbridge. The burn is the south boundary of my home patch and the northern edge of Boulmer.|
|On the bridge, a 90 degree left turn gives this view. 10 Goldeneye and a few Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Eider were here.|
|From Sugar Sands looking back North towards Howick Haven.|
Once I arrived at Boulmer village and sat on an old telegraph pole in the hauled out fishing boats, I could see 11 cars in the Boulmer car park still. Not one of them local or from the area or they wouldn't need to drive.