Looking out of my bedroom window this morning watching the sunrise over Whitley Bay and Tynemouth a Cormorant circled a couple of times before landing down by the burn closely followed by a Grey Heron ,the burn is running high and coloured at the moment so one wonders how they are finding food in that.This behaviour seems to be the exact opposite of kingfisher strategy who tend to move onto lakes and ponds when the rivers are up and coloured,lifting my head I watched the Kestrel hovering over the stubble field opposite and diving a couple of times before catching and flying off with prey.
As it looked like being a nice day (light wise) I thought I would try my hand at back garden Photography having got my own small Starling murmuration here's a few pics.
And of coarse we cannot miss out the garden master
can we !
Sorry no Waxwings I'm afraid in fact nothing ,but that's not surprising with this guy posing on my feeder tree and back fence, and he didn't seem to mind me clicking away either.BUT I just couldn't sign out without one Waxy pic could I !.
Man-flu and overdoing it at the allotment has kept me grounded for over a week but last Thursday morning looked real inviting for some fresh-air and wander around the patch,stopping off at the viewing screen for a look resulted in a solitary Brambling (still present)then onto the public hide where three Snipe to the left of the hide were first to catch my eye then a small skein of 26 Greylags just beyond the island.
I just managed to catch the tail end of them before "surprise surprise "two SEOs came across the front of the hide and started hunting in the Sheep field
Friday was my mates only day off and he was intent on visiting Clara-Vale for a couple of hours.
Arriving to find an empty hide and very poor light we had quite a wait until we could get the cameras into action,I went with the intention of possible Redpols/Siskin but neither were recorded and the Kingfisher perch was taken up by this poser
A pair of Jays was my highlight for the day even though they nearly always landed on the bird tables apart from once when I managed a shot.
Even tho it was freezing cold and took me another two days to get over it it was worth it for the Jays having never been this close before.
Two months or so ago whilst sitting in the hide at Holywell a lady showed me some very nice photo's she had taken of the Kingfisher at Gosforth park which she said had showed very well and very close.
A few days later I decided to give it a go arriving at the park at what I thought was quite early,not so as I opened the hide door to a full house stashing my gear to the rear of the hide and just managing to squeeze onto a bench seat at the rear I was greeted with" you have just missed the Kingfisher" time and luck was on my side as the gent on my left could only give it another twenty minutes before having to leave for work.
Just as I had got myself settled in my new position this female Kingfisher returned onto a perch which was too close for my lens,as it dived for a fish it alighted onto a different perch allowing me to get a few pics.
A brilliant morning and my closest ever encounter with a Kingfisher.
As promised in my last post more Fungi pics ,these were taken a couple of weeks ago at Gait Barrows n/r and Eves wood n/r whilst we were on a visit to RSPB Leighton Moss.
A nice colourful one to start Scarlet Waxcap came across it as we had just left the Limestone pavement for which Gait Barrows is famous,nearly missed it as it was well hidden in the grass.
Here we have what we believe to be the Dark Honey Fungus I've kicked myself for not taking the whole upright stump it was growing on as it was quite a sight.
further along the path we came across this stunning Fairy Inkcap (mature form) this was growing all around the tree stump,same mistake as last time we should have taken the whole stump as well as being selective (will I ever learn),
A rather nice Turkey Tail was a nice conclusion to our visit to this reserve,further along the road we entered Eves Wood n/r.
Not something you would want on your hand as these are Dead Mans Fingers a rather grisly common name.
The beginnings of a Yellow Stagshorn we think ?.
Very Rare this fungus that goes under the common name of Osram 1.50 Watts which is reputed to be wired into the local street lights and can give of enormous heat as can be seen in the right of the picture where it has burned off the brown pigment, its light emitting characteristics are highly prized by the local elves and fairies.The camera that took the above picture is also very rare if not a one off as the mode dial has a oo setting which the camera can select at any time ,oo of coarse stands for Owner Override ( why cant it just listen to what I tell it to do ??) are you listening you people at Canon!!.
The fungi is of coarse a Birch Polypore.
They just cant get enough of it can they,so I thought I would publish a bit of colour just to cheer things up a bit.First up is a rather nice Southern Bracket( quite an eye catcher this)
moving through the wicket gate I noticed this( Cladonia Pyxidata ) on top
then on down to the bridge over the old line where I came across this Shaggy Inkcap just starting to ink
on my way back I called in the members hide to check on the rat population and had a count of Nil for the third day running ,these SEOs look like there doing a good job maybe the feeders will be going back up in the near future ?This little guy was keeping of the ground : ya just cant resist em can ya:.
more Fungi pics to follow in my next post from our trip over to Leighton Moss.
A pretty quiet time on patch over the weekend I think I should have gone to St Marys instead ,however back to this morning and a call at the members hide produced this rather nice Little Grebe closely followed by the elusive Rail not a bad start.
Moving on down to the public hide saw very little movement other than a small number of Teal and two Snipe in the left corner,scanning the pond I came across a distant bird which I couldn't make out at first as it had its head resting on its back until a couple of Mallards landed raising its head it showed it self to be a female Long-Tailed Duck too distant for a pic,my attention on the duck was quickly diverted as I was inundated with S.E.Os two at first from my right then a third over the top all hunting in the field to the side of the hide,they all seemed to catch then landed on the fence posts to enjoy their breakfast.
Its the first time I have left the patch with three S.E.Os sitting on fence posts !!.
Leighton Moss is a reserve I manage to visit about twice a year but its Bearded tit population has always managed to elude me,with this in mind and hearing that they have been seen coming to the grit trays I decided to give it a go.My first visit was when the water levels were still quite high and the Kingfisher was feeding along the causeway where we were standing.We stood nearly two hours before a solitary male made his way along the reeds to the trays,I was reliably informed that this bird identified by his combination of ring colours is a 2009 bird .
He only hung around for a few minutes and we had no more takers for the rest of the morning ,moving on to higher ground ie Warton Crag we could see just how extensive the flooding was surrounding the village of Warton .
This was the view from the road by the entrance to the car park and the second image is from the top of the Crag.
Sunday was the day we were heading home but the urge to see more of the beardie's saw me heading down the causeway for a final time the water level had dropped about 4 inches and being a bit later was met by this growing crowd
I am over the back somewhere after a bit of jostling. However the beardie's where a bit more obliging this time with the same male bringing his missus with him.
Our visit to Leighton Moss last week was a bit of a shock to the system (didn't take me Scuba gear or my wellies) six to eight inches of water over all the paths and reported to be over the wellie tops at times heading to the lower hide.
A trip down to the new sea hides was a little better but very muddy I still managed to get my gear down and get few pics of this rather smart Greenshank that was with another four of his mates ,
moving onto the next hide produced a very nice Green sandpiper that had been there for a couple of days until it was frightened away by two Nikon touting machine guns that spoiled it for every one (no wonder we get a bad name!!)
this Curlew was quite obliging in the morning light along with the Heron watching over things.
This was the real villain who was having a go at anything that came within thirty yards and at one point nearly did for a spotted Redshank just as I was setting up, a Little grebe didn't come off much better over on the next pond and must still be recovering I didn't realize how agile these crows were and he didn't mind getting his feet wet.