Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Autumn Moves On

Thought it was high time I wrote a few more words here. I am getting out now and then just not finding the time to blog about it.

I suppose the biggest news is we are well and truly in September....and don't we know it!  Meadow Pipits streaming over with fewer and fewer Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtail vis mig replaced by Grey Wagtails and alba Wagtails, Chiffchaffs taking over from Willow Warblers as the most common phyllosc in the bushes. Autumn has well and truly moved on to the next phase, which I think of as the 'middle phase'...

Wheatear Axe Cliff - 14/8/18


The Estuary has seen a run of good birds this month, with four Spotted Redshanks together on the 1st being an amazing local sight. Osprey, Ruff, Turnstone, Wood Sandpiper have all been seen by others, with Cattle Egrets being frequently seen over the last couple of days, in fact Mark Dobinson had ten on Seaton Marshes this morning!

I was hoping to get a look at the sea this morning considering the rough weather, but only had time to muster a couple of quick scans of the gulls on the Estuary.  Proved worthwhile though as there were a couple of first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls in with them, one in the morning and one early afternoon. I didn't have a camera to hand for bird two but the first allowed some pics...

The bird on the left, nice pale headed individual

A flash of its tail


Hope to see some of the Cattle Egrets soon!  They may be getting commoner but I always enjoy seeing them.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Whale in the Bay

Last Thursday Phil texted with news of a large cetacean off the Spot On Kiosk, which encouraged me to take an early lunch break in his company. Compared with the views others had mine were dreadful (a brief head-only view) but we weren't really sure what it was.  Although I think we all knew it wasn't any of the usual Whale species on the radar.

Chris Townend kindly confirmed the identification when he saw Roger's and Phil's photos a couple of hours later, a Northern Bottlenose Whale. He then jumped in his car and headed over, although the Whale vanished at about 12:30 and wasn't seen again, so sadly he missed it. Maybe good news for the Whale though - hopefully this means it went back out to deeper water.  Take a look at Roger's photos HERE and Phil's on his Twitter timeline HERE.  I wasn't really sure about the status of Northern Bottlenose Whale in UK waters or beyond before seeing this beast, but here's a good overview...

https://www.orcaweb.org.uk/species-sightings/whales/northern-bottlenose-whale

You may remember the 2006 London Whale, which was a Bottlenose Whale, observed swimming up the Thames.  She sadly stranded and died on day two.  I looked to find some more information about her online, and was surprised to see she has her own website; http://www.thameswhale.info/

Seeing as I didn't manage any pics of our Whale, and the fact I don't like posting photo-less posts, I'm going to rewind back to the hotter parts of the summer, when I spent some time looking for a patch Southern Migrant Hawker.  I never did find one, but it was the best summer here for Small Red-eyed Damselflies and a pretty good one for Ruddy Darters too.  The latter have really dipped in numbers over the past few years, but this year a wander around Lower Bruckland Ponds would often reveal several individuals, with six on 3rd August being my highest count...



More birdie posts to follow...