Thursday, 10 September 2009

Getting A Buzz From Vis Mig.

With the high pressure system installed I had high hopes for today but it didn't quite turn out as I had hoped. A quick stop at Woodhorn Flash on the way to Newbiggin produced little, lots of Mallard, a few Teal, single Grey Heron and a decent little flock of Reed Bunting (10+) building up in the hedge.

Reed Bunting, Woodhorn Flash.
Walking down to The Mound the heat was already beginning to build and the late summer butterfly bonanza shows no signs of abating. Nothing new but in the morning sun they provided some easy photo opportunities. First Red Admiral, the one below on a post in the recently planted south field, lots of other Red Admiral continue to feed on Blackberry on The Mound.

Red Admiral, Newbiggin
I had three Speckled Wood this morning including this one that posed perfectly in the sunshine, I'm quite pleased with this shot, I think Speckled Wood is just such a gorgeous butterfly.

Speckled Wood, Newbiggin

Later on the Golf Course I noticed that just north of the main ditch there is currently a profusion of Devil's Bit Scabious that's attracting loads of butterflies


Painted Lady on Devil's Bit Scabious
Not much on the Golf Course apart from the usual Mipits and Pied Wagtail. The odd Curlew and Oystercatcher.
Pied Wagtail

In fact common birds were about all I had this morning, a few Willow Warbler, Dunnock, Goldfinch and a Kestrel that kept wandering about getting hassle from the local Crows.

Common Kestrel

Blue Tit

One or two silent Common Whitethroat raised hopes of something more exciting briefly until they showed themselves for what they are

Common Whitethroat
It was left to a blackbird to confirm that despite the lack of quality Autumn is here.

So I did something different. Vis mig. Now Northumberland is not exactly the Bosphorus but with lots of Internet chatter about Honey Buzzards and high pressure I though I'd give it a go. I wandered down to Cambois to one of the old bridges over what used to be the coal line down to the harbour as there is a reasonable view north to Newbiggin out over the sea and across to Simonside.

I spent two warm hours perched up on my grassy bank overlooking the debris of the old rail depot. A few Chiffchaff and Goldfinch dropped in to keep me company.

Common Chiffchaff

One of the adult Goldfinch ringed as you can see above. I was pretty sceptical as to whether I'd see anything more exciting than the Kestrel & Sparrowhawk that showed in the first few minutes. I was quite surprised by the number of Hawkers I kept picking up high in the sky, a scan across 180degrees would produce 5-6 every time. Then a large raptor, high in with insect catching gulls probably over Woodhorn, that turned out to be a Common Buzzard the first of four over the next two hours that seemed to appear out of wormholes. All moved south or south west and passed behind me, the one below gliding over me very high so I had to lie horizontal to stay with it. No Honey but it was pleasant enough and gave me food for thought for the future.

Common Buzzard over Cambois.


Skev said...

Great shots Alan, in this and other recetn posts - didn't take you long to get to grips with that new camera.

Anonymous said...

Aye good photos.

I love a bit if vismigging. Down here we do from Dawn to about 10am when the passage dries up. I use one of three vantage points. Deans Lane, Burrough Hill or Croft Hill (though this is a before work watch). Had a Lap Bunt last year... hoping for a Woodlark or Honey Buzzard this year. There's a good vismig link on my blog. Beware though it's addictive.

Anonymous said...

Great post & photos, Alan.
Aren`t Speckled Woods brilliant. Not just a brown base, but when the sun catches them, there`s shades of lilac/purple.

Little Brown Job said...

Some nice images there Alan, love the Kestrel, great shot.

The Leicester Llama said...

I thought there ought to be Honeys around yesterday as well, so I went to Burrough Hill (where we had the Monty's the other week) and saw nothing. I see on Birdguides that there were only 6 in the whole country yesterday (Norfolk, Kent and Dorset). What do we know about bird migration?!

Anonymous said...

Andy, I'm disgusted - surely YOU of all people mean Montagu's Harrier?

Stewart said...

Alan that Goldfinch has a red ring on it. Its a closed ring that is put on aviary bred birds??? I know, I used to put them on my neighbours Mealy Redpolls! I wonder where that Goldy is from?