for tracking purposes only.
The birds of
Cheltenham Diver 10th
RSPB Criuse, Exe 9th
Slimbridge 26th & 27th
Garden Sparrowhawk 8th
Portishead & Chew 7th
Cheltenham & Highnam 1st
21st June 2014
We popped into Fairburn Ings on the way up to Northumberland to have a look around. There was quite a few Tree Sparrows feeding on the feeders and on the ground and we also saw 2 Bullfinches feeding with the Sparrows. We had a bit of a walk around but we didn't have the time to walk all the way round. Quite a number of Blue Damselflies on the wing as well as a Ringlet basking with it's wings open. In the field was a Pyramidal Orchid. At another feeding station was a pair of Pheasants, Goldfinch and a Tree Sparrow. A view from another hide of some more Tree Sparrows and Sand Martins were flying to and from the sandbank. We finished with the last views of Bullfinch and Tree Sparrows at the visitor centre feeders. It’s a lovely RSPB reserve and we would like to have longer there another time. We continued our northbound journey to our B&B in Seahouses for the next four nights.
Tree Sparrow (juvenile)
22nd June 2014
We went to Kielder Water to see how White YA was getting on, after getting caught under the net last year at Blagdon. At Leaplish Waterside Park we saw the chicks and the female on the nest cam. White YA was sitting in the conifer trees on the other side of the water. He was only just visible in the telescope, only a white dot in the tree. The juvenile House Martins were in nests under the roof and adult was bringing food to them. There was a juvenile Swallow perched on the fence near the Martin's Nest. This one still had downy fluff as well as it's new Adult feathers. The others had lost the downy fluff. We drove up to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and went for a walk to the Red Squirrel Hide and saw a flock of Siskins feeding on the feeders. We waited a while, but no Squirrels came. Perhaps they only come early mornings and evenings when it’s quieter. On the way back to the car park we saw a few Chimney Sweeper Moths. We decided to head home along the Forest Drive, which is a toll road with great views of the forest and moor. We saw a Spotted Flycatcher perched on a conifer and further on was a pair of Whinchats and a Tree Pipit on the moors. Back at Seahouses we sat watching a family of Common Eiders in the harbour.
23rd June 2014
We had booked with Billy Shiels for the All Day Birdwatch on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland. On leaving Seahouses we saw a Male Common Eider still in the middle of moulting. Unfortunately, due to the swell, we didn't manage to land on Staple Island. We did however sail around the island. There were Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwake and Shags and also had a special bonus of seeing a Guillemot chick in the water after leaping off the cliff. We sailed towards Brownman's Island where the Grey Seals have their pups in the Autumn. In the Summer they can be seen anywhere around the Farnes. Also a few Arctic Terns flying around the islands and a couple of Gannets flew past the island. As we couldn’t get onto the island, we headed back to the harbour and were told we would have longer on Inner Farne instead.We went back to Seahouses for lunch and a couple of Linnets were on the fence in the car park.
We went back to the harbour to board the boat again to go over to Inner Farne. After arriving we saw quite a number of Arctic Terns that breed there. Some of the Chicks were still very small, while the larger Chicks were struggling to hide in the grass. The Adults were not happy and started attacking us, pecking and pooing! I had a bit of Tern dropping on me and Dad was covered in it. These droppings can cause damage to other birds wing feathers which is why there are no birds of prey on the Farnes. There were also a few Common Terns and 2 colonys of Sandwich Terns. When my parents visited the Farnes Islands in 1990, there was a Lesser Crested Tern which nested with Sandwich Terns.
Arctic Tern chick
Kittiwake with chick
Razorbill with chick
We had close ups of some European Shags nesting on the cliffs. Again the chicks were of various sizes. Some had newly hatched Chicks while some had already got to the Juvenile stage of development. A huge number of Kittiwakes nest on Inner Farne and some had Chicks. A few Razorbills were in the crevices amongst the Guillemots. There were one or two Bridled Guillemots. The Bridled Guillemot are more commoner in the North. There was quite number of Puffins everwhere. When they returned with Sandeels, they had to get to their burrow as quickly as possible before the Black -
Kittiwake, Shag, Guillemot and Razorbill
Guillemot and Razorbills
We headed down to see if we could see the Bridled Tern that had been near the jetty for the last few days. The Bridled Tern is rare vagrant to Britain and this bird had come down from Fair Isle in Shetland. We hadn’t seen it the first time round and having been given a tip-
Eider chicks at Seahouses
Amble and Coquet Island
24th June 2014
We went to a location where we saw Little Terns nesting in a fenced off area. We saw them distantly from the Warden’s hut and no pictures of the Terns as they are Schedule 1 birds. Arctic Terns were present in the area as well as Linnet, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings.
We followed the coast road down and found a Kittiwake colony at Howick. The weather today wasn’t as good as yesterday and we kept having rain showers so didn’t stay long and carried on to Amble to see if the boat to Coquet Island was running. Fortunately there was one at 14:00 and we were even luckier that we managed to get on. There is no landing allowed on this island, but you can view from the boat. We sailed around the island where there were Auks, Sandwich Terns, Arctic Terns, Common Terns and Kittiwakes and the rarest nesting Tern in the British Isles. The one that we wanted to see -
The skipper of the boat told us about some Spoonbills that were nearby, so we headed down to Druridge Pools. No surprise, when we got there they were asleep. They only wake up briefly to preen or stretch and then back to sleep again. A Swallow was waiting outside the hide to feed the Chicks. Druridge Bay is another lovely beach and we saw a huge flock of Common Scoter on the water.
Bishop Middleham Quarry/Bempton Cliffs RSPB
25th June 2014
It was a long journey from Northumberland down to Yorkshire. We stopped at a place called Bishop Middleham Quarry to look for Northern Brown Argus. It was very busy there as there was a field meeting on, but not as busy as it was a few years ago when Bee-
Northern Brown Argus (with white spot)
Northern Brown Argus
Tree Sparrow family
Bempton Cliffs RSPB/ Spurn 26th June 2014
We went to Bempton Cliffs in the morning but the light was a bit wrong. The bright sunshine was nice on the birds in flight, but it cast harsh shadows on the cliff face. Lots of Gannets were bill fencing which is a bonding greeting. It was not just Adult birds, there was a 2nd year, 1st year, 3rd year & Sub Adult. No Juveniles yet. However, there were lots with new fluffy chicks. Lots of Meadow Pipits singing along with Skylarks. In the car park were two Bee Orchids. We headed down to Spurn Head for the afternoon, but sadly due to the flood last Autumn, part of the road was broken so we were unable to drive down to the lighthouse. We were told by the wardens that Red -
Cliffs at Bempton
Gannets with chicks
Gannet 4th year
Gannet 2nd year
Gannet 3rd year
Blacktoft Sands/ Old Moor 27th June 2014
We left our B&B in Bridlington to head down to Fotheringhay for two nights. We went to Blacktoft Sands to have a look around. We went to one of the hides where five Spotted Redshanks were in stunning breeding plumage. They were all asleep of course and as soon as two of them woke up, they flew off. We caught up with them at Marsh Hide. Their breeding plumage is black with white spots, so they really are Spotted Redshank, not like I’ve usually seen them. There was a few Marsh Harriers flying around despite the overcast weather. I had a brief glimpse of a young Sedge Warbler and also saw a Hobby fly over. It was a very nice reserve and again we will have to come again when we have more time.
We also had a brief look around RSPB Old Moor where a Glossy Ibis had been present for a about a week. The weather had turned quite nasty now and the bird didn’t come very close, but we did see it fly. After a cup of tea in the cafe, we went to Broomhill Flash to look at the Black -
Juvenile Sedge Warbler
28th June 2014
We went to look round Rutland Water to see what was around. It was very quiet there, unlike when we normally see it when we go to the Bird Fair. We saw two Pheasants, male & female, from the Woodpecker Hide. We then went to the Tern Hide where a family of Egyptian Geese were feeding on one of the islands. A couple of yards to the left was a Lapwing with chicks. On the leaving the hide four Oystercatchers flew over and landed in the water. In the other hide we saw a flock of Soay Sheep that graze on the reserve. A Oystercatcher was perched on the wall outside the hide. En route to the hide, a Juvenile Pheasant ran across the track, it looked just like a roadrunner. It kept raining, so I expect he was a bit soggy. At the Heron Hide we saw some Common Terns flying around and a few Great Crested Grebe swimming. Also saw one on a nest. Near to the Kingfisher hide, there were lots of Blue Damselflies on the leaves. The 360’ Hide presented us with 2 Great Crested Gebes and Little Ringed Plover, also some more Soay Sheep feeding on the reserve. A few Emerald Damselflies around the reserve as well as a Large Skipper Butterfly. We went to Lyndon Reserve to see if the Ospreys were around. From the visitor centre we saw a Yellowhammer at the feeding station and a few Tree Sparrows. We saw an Osprey fly around twice and a Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding on the peanut feeder. We started to walk down to the Osprey hide. On the way there was a Large & Small Skipper perched in the long grass. At the Deep Water Hide a pair of Great Crested Grebes were feeding two chicks. We saw a Osprey at the end hide on the nest briefly before flying off. This pair didn't breed this year at Manton Bay. This is a new male here as the usual male didn’t return from Africa. We saw lots of Peacock Caterpillars feeding on the Nettle leaves. A Willow Warbler was calling up in the tree. On the way back to Fotheringhay we saw a Brown Hare and a Red Kite flying over the village.
Lapwing with 4 chicks
Great crested grebe
Great spotted woodpecker
Great crested grebe
Great crested grebe
Glapthorn & Fermyn Wood
29th June 2014
We went to Glapthorn Cow Pastures to look for Black Hairstreak but we saw only Large Skippers, Ringlets and Comma. It seemed we missed out on the Black Hairstreak for this year. The peak time was a couple of weekends ago. Perhaps the heavy rain on Friday put an end to their flight period early, because there was two freshly emerged Females seen on Thursday 26th June. We went to Fermyn Woods to look for Purple Emperor. We saw a White Admiral feeding on the brambles. But the Purple Emperor was going to be a tricky one. This time we are just a bit too early for them, they had been seen, but the weather was not too good. We'll try Savernake in Wiltshire again this year. We saw a couple of pairs of Hornet Moths perched in the grass by the track. As the weather was still quite showery, there was not much point looking for any butterflies so we started on the long journey homewards. A brilliant week!