Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Not "Purple and Red and Yellow......" after all

If you are of a certain age then you might appreciate this........ No more rose coloured psychedelic specs for me !

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Another Colour Ringed Black-headed Gull

This was down at Seahouses Harbour yesterday afternoon.

I think it is a UK bird, I'll post up details when I have them.

Midnight Moonbow

Whilst standing in a howling gale waiting for the Aurora to appear last night a rain shower moved through creating a  stunning moonbow !
Moonbow & Seahouses

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora showed again very briefly last night. 

This show occurred at around midnight and lasted for approximately 2 minutes, then it died down again. I stayed up into the early hours staring at the sky but all I saw was cloud and a dull green glow low on the northern horizon.  

Last night was the first time I've seen purple tones, it's more often pink or red.
Aurora Borealis over the Farne Islands.

Friday, 27 February 2015

My Books For Sale.....

I have decided to sell off some of my book collection including a number of bird books.

Below is a list of books I am considering selling. The prices are a guide based on what they currently sell for 2nd hand on Amazon. I'm happy to consider (sensible) offers on most of these !

A couple of rare and sought after gems lurking in here.....

Rare Birds in Britain 1800 – 1990. LGRE  - £80
Rare & Scarce Migrant Birds of the Isles of Scilly 1600-1995. LGRE  - £10
The Ultimate Site Guide to Scarcer British Birds (uncensored 1st edition). LGRE - £15
Rare Birds in Britain 1991. LGRE  - £6
Rare Birds in Britain 1992. LGRE - £6
Rare Birds in Britain 1993. LGRE - £12
Rare Vagrant, Scarce Migrant and rare Breeding Birds in Britain 1994. LGRE - £6
The Bee-eaters. Poyser - £10
In Search of Arctic Birds. Poyser - £20
Birds of the Isles of Scilly. Helm - £25
Tundra Plovers. Poyser - £18
The Status of Seabirds in Britain & Ireland. Poyser - £7
Birds & Forestry. Poyser - £19
The Dippers. Poyser - £25
British Larks, Pipits & Wagtails. Collins softback (New Naturalist) - £8
Birds in Wales. Poyser - £35
Red Data Birds in Britian. Poyser - £1
Flight Identification of European Raptors. Poyser – £9
Important Bird Areas in Kenya. Birdlife International - £20
Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands, Birdlife International - £14
Bird Migration. New Naturalist 113 Hardcover - £90
Atlas of Breeding Birds in Northumbria - £40
Atlas of Wintering Birds in Northumbria - £15
Moult & Ageing of European Passerines. Jenni & Winkler - £200 !!

If you are interested in any of these books just click the 'contact me' tab above to send me a message. Happy to tell you more about the condition, or send photos.

There may well be more to follow soon.......

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Little Auk

Last night I was on my way through the dunes with my headtorch on when I noticed a bird like shape in the marram just off the path. 

As I turned to check it out the torch lit up an unexpected little auk running around in the grass ! Clearly wrecked with the howling gales we've been having, it seemed reluctant to fly. My aurora hunt was put on hold while the auk was captured and placed in a carrier bag, it was the only thing I had to hand !

I drove it along to Andrew's house just down the road where it spent the night quietly resting up in a cardboard box in a dark cupboard.

This morning it was good to see that the little fella was full of life, so it was straight down to the harbour for a release.     

Andrew and little auk at the point of release

Freedom !!
Mingling with the locals.
A quick flap and a preen and the auk was off flying around the harbour. We were delighted to see that it seemed healthy and could fly. 

When it took flight we both gave a little cheer and watched it as it zoomed across the harbour only to be spotted by one of the local greater black-backed gulls ! We both declared 'OH SHIT !' as a brief chase ensued, the little auk plunged to the surface and quickly dived to escape it's attacker.

Although it was a nail biting moment it was good to see the little auk had good energy levels and was able to avoid predators.

Bloody Cloud !!!

......It could have been so good !!

An amazing aurora over the Farne Islands at around 11pm last night. Shame about the cloud tho....

After another weak aurora on Sunday night, I popped out again last night to take a look north. The cloud was thick but amongst one of the gaps I could see a tell tale glow, quite a bright glow in fact !

I got rather excited and decided to park myself on the beach down the road to wait for the cloud to clear. I waited for 3 cold hours but it never cleared, in fact it just got thicker and remained thick except for about 2 minutes when I managed to grab some photographs of bits of aurora through the cloud cover.

A panorama of the aurora - well clouds really !
I gave up and returned home at about 2am but continued to monitor the cloud situation every 20 minutes. At about 3am the cloud started clearing, the aurora was still visible but sadly not as strong as earlier and it seemed to be dying off.

Taken at around 3am this morning.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Nocturnal Activity....

I've not had much to blog about recently, despite regular checks of the patch and various local gull spots I've seen very little of note......... I did see my first lesser black-backed gull of year this week, but that's about as good as it gets........winter birding eh !

With not a lot happening on the bird front I've taken to lurking about in the dark in an attempt to learn a bit more about my camera and how to take night time photographs. In particular I am keen to try and catch the milky way in a photo, a bit of a tall order because the the milky way is at it's best in the mid summer in the UK, now is probably the worst time of year to see it !

In the week I headed up to stag rocks for a couple of hours with Andrew of Serenity Boats fame. We had a good laugh stumbling about in the dark and falling into rock pools !

A wisp of the milky way was visible so I had a go...... A couple of pics below.......

A bit of the the milky way, honest guv.....
The stag, who keeps painting that ?
Andrew mucking about with my torch
On reviewing the pictures I noticed that one of the stars was a tiny blurry swirl, I think I have inadvertently photographed another galaxy, Andromeda ? It's directly above Andrew's head !

Saturday, 21 February 2015

More Aurora Borealis !!

There was a dull aurora showing again last night, just a green/pink glow on the northern horizon..... 

Aurora over the Farne Islands
Aurora with a bit of milky way too.....

Bloody Hen Harriers !!!

For once I am not referring to the ongoing disgraceful slaughter of these birds just so a few toffs might have more grouse to kill for their own entertainment....... 


......This time I am referring to that bloody hen harrier that keeps avoiding me on the patch ! It's been around locally for over 2 months now, with at least 6 sightings, maybe more.
Hen harrier is probably my 'most wanted' patch tick. Crazy to think I've still never seen one here, I've missed quite a few over the years too. With the knowledge that this bird is around I have dedicated quite a lot of time to scouring the farmland from Beadnell to Low Newton in the last couple of weeks, but no harriers for me. They cover such a large area.

To add insult to injury some lucky person reported this bird just the other side of Beadnell yesterday. Ouch !!

Did I mention........ it's a male too........ Double ouch !!