Friday, 22 June 2018

Northumberland & Cumbria.....A Lovely Few Days,15th - 18th June 2018.

With the very kind offer to go up and stay with my sister and Kev at their cottage at Eals in rural Northumberland,Trace and myself jumped at the chance to visit this lovely area.
 Over the few days we stayed,it was apparent what a great little area it is for wildlife and particularly some of our scarcer breeding birds.
 A few walks along the South Tyne revealed some lovely local breeding birds which included 2 pairs of Oystercatchers,with broods of 1 and 2 respectively,1 pair of Common Sandpipers with a well grown chick and breeding Dippers as well as breeding Curlew and Snipe close by also.
 Along the South Tyne Trail,we saw a male Redstart visiting his nest box and in a local woodland on our last evening of the stay i also found a pair of Pied Flycatchers nesting,what a great area!.
 We also saw plenty of nice visitors to the garden feeders,which included a family party of 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker,several Siskin which included singing and displaying males,a single Jay and a continual stream of commoner species which included Coal,Blue and Great Tits,Blackbirds,Dunnock,House Sparrows,Goldfinches and even the local Pheasants with a brood of chicks.
 An all day visit to the fantastic Haweswater saw some amazing scenery along with more great wildlife sightings.
 As we got out of the car on arrival Kev spotted something in the adjacent pine plantation which turned out to be a lovely Red Squirrel a great start to the visit.
 Other sightings included a singing male Wheatear,some interesting plants in the form of Heath-spotted Orchid,Heath Bedstraw,Parsley Fern,Wild Thyme and Tormentil amongst others.The best find though went to a small beetle which Trace found,a species of Rove Beetle - Staphylinus erythropterus.This is potentially only the 5th record for Cumbria after looking records up on the NBN Atlas.
 It has to be said though,the scenery around Haweswater is absolutely breathtaking and our hike here over the 778m Harter Fell was knackering in places,but what a view from the summit.
 I would just like to say a big thankyou to both Kev and Kirst for our stay in this special part of the world and we both look forward to visiting again in November.

Rabbit,South Tyne Trail.

The Beautiful South Tyne River At Eals.


Singing Male Siskin Outside The Cottage.

Heath-spotted Orchid Taken With The S8.

Waterfall Along Mardale Beck,Haweswater.

Mardale Beck,A Tree Pipit Was Singing In The Ash Tree.

Up In The Clouds,Small Water In The Foreground And Haweswater In The Background.

Panorama Of Haweswater Taken From The Top Of Harter Fell,778m Above Sea Level.

Haweswater Taken From The Summit Of Harter Fell.

Rove Beetle sp. Staphylinus erythropterus,a rare find by Trace.

More Stunning Scenery.

Common Sandpiper Along The South Tyne.

Juvvie Oystercatcher,Eals.

Juvvie Blackbird,Eals.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Bempton Seabirds,Sunday 10th June 2018.

An organised meet up with Andy and Dave at this fantastic seabird city,saw us spending the best part of 6 hours on site enjoying the sights,sounds and definite smells of this fantastic place.
 It was a real treat to see our stunning seabirds at such close range and particularly my faves,the Gannets.
 We all had a great day and took hundreds of images between us and the following is a collection of my favourite images from the day.
I Can See You!.

What A Beautiful Bird!.

A Long Range Puffin,None Are Close Here Unfortunately.

A Stunning Razorbill.

Living On The Edge For This Bridled Guillemot.

Stunning mini Albertrosse's Are These Fulmars.

Incoming Puffin,Almost Sharp.

What A Stunning Bird!.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Crowle & Thorne Moors NNR.....What A Day!......Saturday 9th June 2018.

An organised meet up with Dave today,primarily for myself to count the Odonata on the Crowle side of the NNR and for Dave to see some Large Heath resulted in one of my best visits to this fantastic area.
 Because of the vast number of species observed and different families involved,i have decided to dedicate a paragraph for each notable species we observed and the other highlights involved.


The obvious highlight for us both,was a bit of a frustrating one to be fair,as we had crossed the bailey bridge onto Thorne Moors and after a look on Will Pitts scrape we were heading back towards the bailey bridge when i heard that beautiful,tropical sounding song of a male Golden Oriole.It obviously made me stop dead in my tracks and we listened as it gave four bursts of song before going quiet.Unfortunately,it was on the Crowle side,so we quickly made our way back across the bailey bridge and around to were we had heard the bird,but sadly after spending a good 20 minutes we never heard it again or observed it,what a buggar to put it plainly,but a nice find all the same.
 Other highlights went to at least 2 male Cuckoo,1 on Thorne Moors and 1 near to the car park on Crowle Moors.A single juvvie Willow Tit was also nice on Thorne Moors.


Some really nice examples of this huge family were recorded today on our visit and included a new species for us both in the form of a cracking Scarce Vapourer Moth larvae which Dave found feeding on a Bramble on the edge of Will Pitts Scrape,what a beauty and really nice example of this very rare moth species.Other moths observed included Silver-ground Carpet,several Brown-silver Lines,several Straw Dot,Lesser-cream Wave and two stunning Brown-china Mark.
 The obvious highlight amongst the butterflies included 26 Large Heath which showed nicely and others recorded included 2 cracking Red Admiral and 8 Speckled Wood.


Today was a really good day for Longhorn Beetles and we recorded 4 species,with a lifer for us both in the form of a Two-banded Longhorn,which flew in and conveniently landed on me,the other species observed were Four-banded Longhorn,Black-and-yellow Longhorn and Golden-bloomed-grey Longhorn.Other beetle niceities included Harlequin Ladybird,Green-tiger Beetle and Red-headed Cardinal Beetle.


One of my fave families of insects and today saw us finding one of my fave species,Bog-bush Cricket.Obviously all individuals encountered were still in the immature nymph stages,but great to see all the same,with us recording at least 12 individuals.The pleasing thing for Dave,was it was another new species,to his already big list of species seen during the day.
 Also observed from this family were several Field Grasshopper nymphs and Common-ground Hopper.


A good selection recorded today,as on most visits at this time of year,included a lovely Xylota sylvarum on Thorne Moors with the remainder of species including Sericomyia silentis,Leucozona leucorum,Eupeodes luniger,Eristalis intricarius,Anasymia sp.,Helophilus pendulus,Volucella bombylans and Syritta pipiens.

Odonata: Will be covered on my Dragonfly sightings blog.


Only one species observed today,but what a beautiful species....Adder.Today we gained some fantastic views,as on our last visit here,but today it was the turn of the girls to show off,with 5 stunning females seen.This included 2 basking together.They certainly rate as one of the most stunning animals i have ever had the privilege of seeing and i have seen hundreds over the years.


Only a couple of highlights today and another new species for Dave,a lovely Doe Red Deer observed browsing in a field near to Will Pitts Scrape.It was nice to see one in the open for a change and she gave some lovely views.The only other highlight, was a lovely Fox watched near to the car park area.

What a cracking day and i look forward to my next visit to this superb area.
Doe Red Deer,Crowle Moor.

Xylota sylvarum,Thorne Moors.

Scarce Vapourer Moth,Thorne Moors.

Female Adder,Crowle Moor.

Look At That Face!,These Beauties Mean Business.

Two-banded Longhorn Beetle Taken With The S8.

Some Fine Habitat On This Fantastic Site.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Monsal Dale & The Monsal Trail,Sunday 3rd June 2018.

A planned day out today with Mrs R,walking in the White Peak area of Derbyshire,saw us taking in the fantastic scenery around Monsal Head,Monsal Dale and the Monsal Trail.
 A really good mix of birds,insects and wild flowers were seen on our visit,the following is a summary of what we saw.
 We started our walk from Monsal Head to the sound of a Garden Warbler singing away near to the Monsal Head view point,this was quickly followed by a singing male Redstart,which i never did see and then some lovely views of adult and juvenile Dippers along the River Wye.
 As we walked along the Wye,exploring the very impressive Monsal Dale,bird highlights included more great Dipper views along the river and my first Spotted Flycatcher's of the year being heard and seen with 2 individuals recorded.
 The wildflowers along Monsal Dale were absolutely amazing to see,with a real good mix of species and included Bugle,Wood Forget-me Not,Comfrey,Water Avens,Common-spotted Orchids and a new species for myself,Toothwort.
 The latter was found growing under a Hazel canopy and is quite an unusual plant,being related to the Broomrapes.It is a parasitic species growing on it's host species root system as with the Broomrape family,a great sighting and a big thanks to John for the ID.
 Some really nice insects were also encountered today on the walk and included a cracking male Cockchafer,a Buff Tip Moth which i found roosting on a Hogweed stem,the first Brown Hawker of the year which Trace spotted along the river and several Orange Tip and another first for the year in the form of a Large Skipper.
 After re-tracing our footsteps we walked partially along the Monsal Trail seeing a couple of Raven along the way and then through the impressive Headstone Tunnel up to the old station at Hassop for a well earned lunch/tea.
 After a good fill of food it was again retracing our footsteps to the sound of another singing male Redstart near Hassop station and back to the car at Monsal Head.
 What a great day out in some brilliant scenery and with some cracking wildlife,wildflowers and birds to boot,we will certainly be making a return visit!.
The River Wye At Ashford In The Water.

The Wye Valley Taken From Monsal Head.

Monsal Dale And The River Wye Taken From Monsal Head.

The River Wye In Wye Dale.

The River Wye Taken In Monsal Dale.

The Unusual Toothwort,Just Beginning To Break through In Monsal Dale.

Male Cockchafer,Monsal Dale,Pic Taken With The S8.

One Of The Lovely Views Taken Along The Monsal Trail.