Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Back Home

Back home again after another spell in hospital, not very mobile and still in pain, looks like Autumn may well pass me by.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Bit of Culture.

Had a visit to the Laing Art gallery last week. As ever first port of call is The Northern Spirit exhibition featuring works of local artists and scenes especially the work of Ralph Hedly who captured the ordinary working folk of the North East so well.

Upstairs to the main gallery and just standing and drinking in these wonderful works is a pleasure. Looking at the way the landscape is captured appeals to my natural instincts, and in the case of John Martin`s  four displayed paintings his use of people in the environment  just sets off the magnificence of his work..

Through to the next gallery and my main reason for visiting today to see the For Ever Amber display of wonderful photographs mainly from the 70`s and 80`s around the North East. Most are B&W photos capturing the ordinary folk of the region going about their daily business very sobering as so much has now gone due to political machinations.

Possibly because of my visit to the Laing, and because my foot is still limiting my mobility i went back to Killy Art club yesterday. I always feel intimidated and a bit of a fraud here because my doodles are a far cry from these artistic and creative folk. But they are friendly and its nice to see them at their work, had a great chat with a very senior chap who uses pastels and chalk to do remarkable portraiture with a vitality i can never seem to get in anything i produce.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


Well ive been back in hospital again, seems i was rushed out to soon, and infection set in again. This time i was told they would remove the rest of my toes, not the best of news.

On the day of the op, i was given insulin, too much it turned out and i felt very unwell by the time i arrived at theater, still anesthetic duly given and i was in dreamland, on awakening in recovery i was surprised to see my toes still there. They had cleaned up the wound and felt it would be enough, time will tell.

Over the ensuing days i experienced both the best of the NHS and the worst, back home now and being cared for by the district nurses, still not mobile, last time i was out birding  was 20th May when i became ill. It seemed all the Grebes at the lake had failed and im not sure if this is still the case.

Cant see me getting far for a while, getting stir crazy.

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Have not posted anything for a while, sadly after taking ill, i spent several weeks in hospital due to an infection and gangrene setting in to my big toe.

Result was amputation of said digit and part of my foot, bit sad really, with Michael Flatley retiring my chance of taking over Riverdance has been nipped in the bud.

Presently in waddle mode, doubt i will be getting out much for a while. Mind with the current weather im not missing much, but the Pratincole has hurt a bit.

Ive been lucky as at one stage it was a possibility that i might lose my whole foot, these things are sent to try us.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Quick update

Went to the lake the other day, sadly the grebes have deserted the nest and no eggs, cause unknown.

Mutes have 4 cygnets, the first young ive seen this year, perpetual cold must be having an effect.

Started to feel ill, so off home, barely made it to my front door, and i have spent the last few days in bed.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Decline and Fall

Of late ive become disillusioned with the standards of birding that now apply. No longer the simple days of going out and enjoying your hobby for the sheer enjoyment of reveling in contact with the natural world.

Sharing information was a privilege that others more experienced would only do once they were sure that you could be trusted to act accordingly. These days with the web, pagers and phones it rapidly gets into the public domain.

Recent talks with others have not surprised, that info is now being withheld to prevent the hordes turning up and disturbing the wildlife concerned. Recent behavior at a site has caused disturbance that is completely unnecessary, and because of a pet lip on another info is being broadcast from someone just out of a fit of pique.

I wished i could believe it will improve, sadly i think it will decline further. Our wildlife faces enough pressures with persecution, farming practices, and habitat destruction, the last thing it needs is bad human behavior adding to the woes.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

17th April 2006

A visit to St Marys and a nice find of a Blue-winged teal on the wetland, no phone so i was unable to put the news out and worried it would go before others saw it. It did fly once but came back. Then MH turned up and after passing on the news to him it had disappeared, but thankfully it showed itself again and others turned up to see this smart bird,

Monday, 6 April 2015

Grrrrrrrrrreat crested grebes.

The old codger pair of GC grebes performed  well today on Killy Lake, mostly quite they occasionally put on a performance but the long awaited shot of the pair running side by side still eludes me. 10 years of living in hope. Was in great company today one of Northumberlands finest photographers was hoping for the same.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

St Marys meander.

A wander round the core of St Marys on Thursday in something approaching more Springlike weather turned up 37 species. No returning migrants yet, but departures noticed.

Not much in song except the Skylarks and Reed Bunting but breeding behaviour noted in a few species, no Fulmars at Hartley and a single Scandinavian Rock pipit on the north beach.

Few Golden plover now, but Sanderling numbers up from last visit 60 +. It was a day for chinwagging with fellow birders and passing walkers. 5 Grey seals on the Island ran the gauntlet of the public many of whom did not realise they were there.

Scandinavian rock pipit. (littoralis)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Wheatears ive known and loved.

A trip to St Marys in the hope of some migrants found no new arrivals and a few geese departing. The Skylarks were quite active, but apart fro a pair of amorous Blackbirds little sign of Spring around. Canny chat with fellow birders and toggers not that many people around. Massive Aurora forecast, was nipped in the bud by cloud cover.

Wheatear, bathing.

Pied wheatear, Newbiggin.

Desert wheatear. Holy Island 2005.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Brief wander round Killy Lake today produced, 5 Great-crested grebes, 4 Goosander,
12 Pochard,  9 Goldeneye, 100+ Tufted Duck, Snowdrops, Coltsfoot Daffs were bud only, chilly NE wind.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Thursday, 19 February 2015

OOP North.

Down South.

First and Worst

My first ever bird photograph taken using a 35mm compact film camera though an Optolyth scope in July1999 A Great- white egret i found at Bothal pond later relocated to Longhirst flash.

And the worst, i found this Barn Owl at St Marys in the top willows, an escaped bird. It was starving to death in the midst of plenty as it did not know how to feed itself.

It was rescued and found to be very underweight, such a shame such lovely creatures are kept captive for personal pleasure or financial gain.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Otters on Ice

Trip to Big Waters today, the lake was frozen and the wildfowl clustered together on the ice.  Alarm calls spoke of a predator about,and sure enough a pair of Otters skipped across the ice, none of the birds took to the skies

Good mix of birds today with a few Yellowhammers showing well, and a single Pinkfoot in among the Greylag,large  numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, and Coot, and a few Fieldfare.

Quick check on Killy Lake on the way home, everything squashed into the only bit of unfrozen water.