Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Jollies Tuesday & Wednesday

Tuesday dawned as predicted with heavy rain, that meant only one thing, Alnwick day, shopping. Well we needed supplies and as the Queen was due to visit on Wednesday it was a good day to get it out of the way, it also meant that I could visit my favorite book shop, Barter Books (BB). It's a place where old books go to die and they BB. occupy the entire now defunct railway station, it out does Hay-on-Wye for secondhand books hands down, even if you have no interest in books it's well worth a visit if your in that neck of the woods.
I got up and went to make a cuppa and as I walked past the patio doors two woodpeckers flew off the they are here after all. On and off for the rest of the holiday they appeared on a regular basis mainly one of two juveniles and the female parent I only saw the male once.

Female great Spotted Woodpecker


Feeding Time

I hadn't done the twelve mile stint of upper Coquetdale so far, so my mission for the day was to put that right. The single track road to Coquet Head beneath the Roman fort of Chew Green holds delights at every twist and turn. These days I don't venture too far from the car, but that's fine as there are plenty of places to squeeze the car in while I go to explore my favorite nooks and crannies.

Common Sandpiper are numerous in Coquetdale

Plenty of common sandpiper with young in tow, and some very scrappy wheatear again with their young, pairs of oystercatchers on the many scrapes up and down the river along with dippers and grey wagtail patrolling their stretch.

Sand Martin


With posting swallows and sand martin quite close by on my return down it made for another memorable trip.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

BBC Summer Watch Photo Of The Day

This image of a hunting little egret was taken at Leighton Moss from the EM hide around eight in the evening.
Suitably chuffed and many thanks to BBC Nature team.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Jollies Monday

Still no sign of the woodies, but at least we had a pleasant start to the day weather wise. The usual suspect where on the wall and feeders, although the numbers had increased dramatically since Saturday, but I have doubled the seed and introduced nigger and put up two more nut feeders.
From the wall
Juvenile Wheatear

And a Goldfinch

Margaret felt like a stroll up the lane to look at the verges for wild flowers particularly since I told her I had seen ragged robin the previous day.
We took a leisurely walk scrutinising the bank verges as we did so, as I got down on my hands and knees (not easy) to start taking some images Margaret called me to come over quickly (impossible).

Ragged Robin

What is it I asked, it's an Adder, she pointed with her walking stick, I arrived in time to see it slide away and vanish in the undergrowth.

Hidden Viper

We retired for lunch (dinner), after which I returned to the spot where we had last seen the Adder, I scoured the banking and found a hole and on further inspection I could just see the Adder's head in the darkness. As it was quite warm I settled down in the hope it would come out to sunbath. I didn't have to long a wait before it slid out some eighteen inches in front of me, it then vanished into a melee of grass.
A brief encounter

Proceedings where halted when a shepherd I know stopped to see what I was photographing, only some grasshoppers I told him, had I mentioned snake it would have been it's demise.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Breaking your Duck.

Daddy comes to call

A brief break from my jollies session, as photography has to continue also.
Over the last few weeks I have been trying to photograph a fox that's been visiting my garden. Last week after notching up over twelve hours in my portable hide I managed a crappy shot at some distance and in the gloom.
But at least I managed a shot of sorts and that's the point, once a shot is obtained you become more relaxed, you've "broken your duck", you've seen and photographed the's not me who's putting it off and you just know from now on your gonna get better shots.
So the food went out earlier and earlier and the fox came earlier and in good light, too good at times as it was a little harsh (I wouldn't be a photographer if I didn't complain about something).
On Friday I managed a couple of shot of a beautiful cub although growing up fast, I've named her Daisy and on Saturday her dad paid a call, hes not so handsome as his daughter, but still lovely see.
The lovely Daisy


Friday, 8 July 2011

Jollies Sunday

After a drive into "civilisation" to collect the Sunday papers, I settled down for breakfast keeping a close eye on the wall as I did so. I had heard that a pair of woodpeckers had been visiting the feeders and was keen to snap them, in the event they didn't turn up, but a yellowhammer did, so that was number one priority.

After that I was keen to get up onto the hills half a mile from the cottage to look for one of my favorite birds the whinchat. The habitat is perfect with ferns decorating the hillside and as I approached I could hear them calling. I walked up the bridle path and looked out over the ferns and sure enough the winchat were calling from the fronds. I settled down close to foxglove in the hope they would land on one.

A couple eventually did land and that despite two Apache helicopters constantly flying overhead firing off salvo after salvo. Although not the best of light and the flowers not fully opened I was quite happy with my days work


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Jollies Saturday

It was a damp rain sodden chilly SUMMERS evening when I arrived at the cottage. Before dinner (tea) I settled down with a malt whisky looking out into the gloom beyond, the hill being obscured by mist and rain I turned my attention to the birds around the feeders, chaffinch, greenfinch and siskin were jockeying for position. The whisky was making a warm glow inside my tummy when an luminous yellow blob appeared on the wall, striking it was against the dower backdrop, it was a dazzling yellowhammer, my god it was bright.
With camera gear to hand as it always is, I put the whisky down opened the patio door and set to work. A red-legged partridge got in on the act.
Not a bad start....and two weeks to go....not a bad at all I thought to myself.

Yellowhammer so vibrant in the gloom

A pair of red legs appeared daily early morning and late evening.


A Hard Day's Night

A 5.30 am start to be at Leighton Moss for the early morning light, as predicted by the Beebe turned out to be a false hope. It was grey and quite cold as I arrived at the EM hide, I had expected calm waters, I got that, I had expected lots of waders, that, I didn't get!
So move on to the Public Hide, where only 24 hours earlier an Osprey put in an appearance, as it turned out I was 24 hours too late.
Cafe for breakfast.
The day was hot and humid by this time, so an obvious time to trek through the reserve to check and recheck all the hides, an exhausting 4 hours later and a not too bad a shot of a red deer, not too good either.
Back to the cafe for a cuppa. As you might gather the day isn't going to plan.
Decide to go back to the Public Hide for one more look.....nothing of course, then back to where I started The EM mm the water was flat and milky with diffused lighting on the birds, yes birds, remember, that's what I went for.... a few redshank a heron or two, and wait is that an egret coming in, no there's two, three, half a dozen....that's more like it.
It's 8.30 pm I must go home
Little Egret hunting

Tranquil waters with a mixed bag of waders