Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First Cuckoo

Heard a cuckoo calling for the first time this year. This is over a week later than last year.

Image courtesy of John Bridges at North East Wildlife

Monday, April 28, 2008

More signs of spring

Today I walked the old railway path past the ponds towards Shotton.
The bushes were alive with willow warblers singing every 30m or so. I also saw two blackcaps and heard a tawny owl call (at 11.00 a.m.!)
The blackthorn is in blossom and I saw my first cowslip. Several snail shells were scattered around a stone where a thrush had been using the hard surface as an anvil to break open the snails for food. Still no cuckoo.

At the beginning of the weekend I walked along the path towards South Hetton and spent some time trying to photograph linnets and newly arrived willow warblers. Two hours of effort resulted in two reasonable images.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Warm weather at last!

Walked along the line to South Hetton this evening. Warm, sunny and windless!

The gorse is beautiful with a scent of almonds. There were linnets in flocks on the hedges and a striking yellow hammer perched in the budding hawthorns.

Losing the cold east wind has made a huge difference. All we need now is the cuckoo! Last year we heard it on the 21st April so it's overdue.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Roe Deer and spring flowers

We walked a circular route through the southern section of Hawthorn Dene this afternoon. It was very warm in the sunshine out of the wind.

We saw banks of primroses, wild violets, wood anemones and a few early bluebells. The ash trees had their strange gnarled flowers which gave off pollen when knocked.

In the centre of the wood we came on a fine roe buck and two does which sprang up and bounded off through the trees.

The wild garlic is everywhere and will be a riot of white flowers in a few weeks.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hawthorn Dene

I took a circular walk through Hawthorn Dene this morning. The wind was very cold but out of the wind the spring sunshine was very pleasant.
Birds were very active especially in the more sheltered areas. I saw blue tit, great tit, nuthatch, marsh tit, chaffinch, robin, coal tit and a magnificent pair of jays. Unfortunately the only decent photographs were of robin and blue tit with a passable but not quite so sharp image of a marsh tit. Everything else managed to move just as the shutter was pressed. I would dearly love to get a flight shot of the pair of Jays. Watch this space.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring walk?

Walked this morning round by Haswell Moor and High Haswell. Buds were breaking, all the sheep have lambs, lapwings are displaying in the fields, a skylark was singing and a yellowhammer calling in the hedge. A warm sun was shining.
One hour after returning home it was hailstoning!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Snow in April!

Woke up this morning to snow flurries and a dusting on the garden. The cold weather is supposed to last a week. The newly arrived Chiffchaffs must be very perplexed.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Signs of Spring

Saw (and heard) my first Chiffchaff of the year at Low Barns Reserve today. Then the wind got up and everything went to ground. Snow forecast for tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Early morning song thrush

This lovely song thrush was singing its heart out on our TV aerial when I left home this morning.

Click here for a soundfile of the song