Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Week That Was

Three days work, the kids on holiday and another day spent scouting the footpaths this time between Newton and Seahouses have been the key features of an extended blocking pattern hanging over my blogging this week. That hasn't of course prevented me from taking whatever opportunities that have arisen to indulge.

The pond is full of frogs but I did frog pics last year so have a moth instead; second moth of the year and second new species for the garden this year puts me on a hat trick. March Moth recorded only 25 times previously up to 2010 in Northumberland in February according to the boys here. Do you like the slate by the way? A small hand size piece recovered from under Dunstanburgh Castle last week for the purposes of moff display, rather fetching and local, though by declaring this I may have the boys at the AONB wanting a word about coastal erosion.

We spent another day lingering around the Fish Quay and feeding expensive chips to greedy gulls without seeing anything notable. A couple of hours on Thursday afternoon produced a bathing Peregrine though too distant for images and some more interesting Jackdaws at Lynemouth. I suspect that with the increase in daylight and temperatures there has been some passage of nominate monedula that have been wintering in Britain moving back east and over into the continent. Assuming they are all different individuals these are the 4th and 5th in the last two weeks showing some characteristics of that race.

Yesterday I walked from Newton to Seahouses and back, something in the order of 12km, then a full shift at work finishing at 11:00pm. Again nothing hugely exciting on offer, some decent counts of waders with a couple of flocks of 100+ Curlew and a good few Bar-tailed Godwits. A big gull roost, predominantly Common Gull with 7-800 birds involved at the Long Nanny at low tide was impressive.

About half the roost, guess who needs a wide angle lens.

Thirty-odd Pale-bellied Brent Geese around Annstead Point and the rocks to the south allowed me to get close enough for a few pictures, I noticed later they were being booted from one end of the beach to the other by the combined efforts of kids, dogs and somebody either picking periwinkles or hunting for fishing bait.
Other notes in my little moleskin include the first singing Skylarks at the Long Nanny on Friday; a couple of big moth caterpillars on the coast path that may have appeared in the balmy temperatures on Thursday only to pay the price overnight. A small flock of 10+ Pied Wagtail in fields south of Lynemouth may also have been on passage on Thursday. And I enjoyed the views on Friday.
Work again today and the need to re-stock the larder left little time for any birding, I did manage to squeeze in an hour between the two for the conveniently handy pair of Smew on QE2 Country Park lake late afternoon. A lifer for my eight year old and a year tick for me, bolstering the spirit before braving the hordes at Asda.



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Stewart said...

Alan those Jacks look to be paired up, as do every Jackdaw I see at the mo. Does that mean in your photo a) there are 4 Nordic Jacks, 2 males and 2 females but these look just like our own females or b) the well marked males are just well marked male birds breeding in the chimneys of Lynemouth?

alan tilmouth said...

There probably are four. Jackdaws form life long pair bonds and tend to stay together throughout the year (source BWP; Lorenz 1932; Zimerman 1951).

Take a look at

Have a look at the variability, the two adults photographed in January and the 'collarless' adult (17 Jan 2003.
As I said in the post these two at least appear to show some characteristics, of monedula proving it is another kettle of fish.