Thursday, 27 August 2009

White-winged Black Turns Sour.

A fine morning, the lure of migrants once again saw me drawn to Newbiggin despite the weather being all wrong. The sunshine meant that there were dragonflies and butterflies on the wing everywhere. One of two small Common Darter pictured below that circled around the main ride through the Mound (small wooded hill adjacent to golf course).

Common Darter
Over the morning I had many common butterflies, Wall and Large White the most common, Painted Lady, four Peacock on a wild seeded Buddliea, a Red Admiral and a single Common Blue.
A larger 'Hawker' was at the end of the woodland and moving around at head height. I think this is a Migrant Hawker as from the ID criteria I can find online it would appear Common Hawker always has yellow abdomen stripes and these have a blue-ish cast to my eyes?

Plant ID should be easy at this time of year with less in flower, a single small delicate plant in flower in short, horse eaten, grass is I think a Centaury but which one? I'm plumping for Lesser Centaury because of the height but I'll stand corrected if anyone wants to offer an alternative.

Finding migrants at this time of year requires patience. I sat for an hour watching the central patch of scrub on the Ash Lagoon bank, a small 30m stretch that has had Greenish Warbler, Sub-Alpine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler to name but a few. It was pleasant enough in the late morning sun but quiet. Two-three Willow Warbler and a grazing party of Goldfinch were all I had by lunch. At first the warblers were hard, staying near the back, flitting about but not showing well. Some lip smacking and kissing sound brought them out of their hiding places to check me out.

Willow Warbler

Back on the golf course three Whinchat allowed me to finally get a reasonable shot although they were flighty. This species has been on the move today with several other groups reported along the East coast.
My last image captures the essence of Newbiggin golf course in my opinion. Moments of sublime natural beauty interspersed with humanity's leftovers. Urban meets natural, if only more of it's residents appreciated what they had around them and took a little more care to avoid the all too common littering and fly-tipping.

'Fosters' Peacock, a rare subspecies.
Tonight a short one hour seawatch produced very little, two Roseate Tern south, a female Goosander caught eels on the ebbing tide and two Wheatear darted from rock to rock perhaps excited to be off on their winter break. By 7.15pm I was heading home, a brief stop to look at Woodhorn Flash turned into a nightmare when Stevie Taylor appeared with the news that a juvenile White-winged Black Tern had been present 20 minutes earlier. The Birds Missed in Northumberland List gets even more impressive.


Anonymous said...

Judging by the jizz - 'larger dragonfly' and hawking at head height I suspect it's Migrant Hawker. If seen well Mig always shows a 'golf tee' mark on the 2nd segment of the abdomen. In my experince feeding Common Hawkers are usually in and around the tree tops but this isn't always so. Males are also very slim waisted... a bit like me!

Glad to hear that Wall Butterfly is still thought of as common up your way. There are hardly any colonies around here these days. No one seems to mention the decline of the Wall on TV. Small Torts, plenty of coverage but Wall nothing.

Stewart said...

Alan, Lesser Centaury is only found on the sides of the Howick Burn Mouth in Northumberland.I have looked this year and not found it. It may be extinct in the county. Common Centaury varies in size depending on how often it is walked on!

Alan Tilmouth said...

Cheers Stewart, where do you get your local plant distribution info?
Is this Common Centaury then?