Friday 10 July 2020

A bit of this and that

I've done a bit of this and a bit of that this week - seawatching, ringing and looking for wee beasties.

On Monday evening I had a look on the sea - lots of terns feeding now with  Roseate Terns being particularly noticeable - given that there are at least 129 pairs on Coquet Island that makes perfect sense. From my vantage point in the dunes I can also look the other way and from there I saw three different barn owls successfully hunting for food for their growing broods, one or more probably two cuckoos in the dunes and a short-eared owl. The latter has been reported between the Pools and Chevington and is now keeping the 'toggers' happy. If felt autumnal  - the gull roost on the beach is starting to pick up and I had my first Great Black-backs of the autumn.

List here

On Wednesday morning I got up at 04.30 and set some nets up to ring. I had to get back for work by mid-morning so only put up four nets. The catch was mostly warblers - a mixture of adults and juveniles. I did catch a juvenile Coal Tit, Coal Tits are normally birds of autumn and winter here but I know that they have bred in the plantation this year. A good breeding record.

I caught 37 birds including retraps, warbler numbers were:

Blackcap  - 2 Juvenile 4 adult
Whitethroat - 2 Juvenile
Willow Warbler - 3 adult
Chiffchaff - 2 juvenile
Reed Warbler - 4 adults (2 retraps)
Sedge Warbler - 4 adult, 1 juvenile
Grasshopper warbler - 1 juvenile

Cuckoos, short-eared owl and barn owls were still about.

Between net rounds I tried to photograph some digger wasps on the fence posts

Digger wasp Crabro cribrarius - A male, you can make out the enlarged plates on the forelegs
Last night I had half an hour looking for hovers and bugs before the light went and an hours seawatch. Two Cory's shearwater had been tracked up the Yorkshire coast yesterday but hadn't been seen north of Seaham, still worth a look I thought. Highlights were:

Manx Shearwater - 30,  all north in groups of up to 10
Arctic Skua - one roaming around harrying terns
Whimbrel - 1 north
Curlew - 2 'in-off'
Common Scoter - a raft of about 750 birds off Chibburn Links

Distant arctic skua
black-headed gull
The 'toggers' were out in force for the cuckoo and short-eared owl.

List here

Some macro shots from last night

Small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)
Marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

Hoverfly Eristalis pertinax on ragwort
Potato Mirid - Closterotomus norwegicus

Spiny Sheildbug - Picromerus bidens

Leucozona lucorum

Scorpionfly species - a female Panorpa sp.

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