Sunday, 23 July 2017


Family holidays are always a compromise and generally everyone gets a little time to themselves as well as having some joint activities and ours was no different. We took a holiday let of a converted barn a couple of miles outside Rothbury in the Northumberland National Park for a week which, whilst not long enough for me, provided plenty of good birds and a ready made excuse to return as I was unable to get across to the Farnes!
Birding was limited to an hour or two on most days so the nearest I got to any islands was this view of Coquet Island on the 19th just outside Amble. Whilst most were distant I did manage many Puffin both on the island and fishing in the channel between the mainland as well as Common, Sandwich, Arctic, and Roseate terns, Gannet, Razorbill, and Guillemot.

Our let held fishing rights for a mile on the river Coquet however it was near the town centre on the
18th that I saw the Dipper pictured above and right as well as the Grey Wagtail below. Dipper has to be one of my favourite birds with their ceaseless search for water invertebrates in fast flowing water.
A family wander around the coastline on the 20th included a brief stop at Seahouses. This enabled me to wander down to the harbour where the inevitable Eider creche clocked me before I had even wandered down the slipway. These sea duck really are quite enchanting and incredibly confiding!

The same evening I took a wander up to the top of the beacon above Simonside with Hazel and along with an unexpected Cuckoo managed to see a couple of coveys of Red Grouse, a 3 and a 7, including the bird pictured below.
Other sightings around Simonside over the week included Tawny Owl, Spotted Flycatcher, Crossbill, numerous Siskin and Redpoll, Bullfinches, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, and Raven. More worryingly given the recent highly publicised failures of the Crown Prosecution Service to do their civic duty in bringing cases to court, was the almost complete absence of raptors. My only sighting of a bird of prey across the entire week was of a single Buzzard on the evening of the 18th near Simonside. In case anyone is unaware the address below will demonstrate the exact level of corruption / incompetence / disinterest that the CPS clearly places on raptor persecution.
As I mentioned earlier family holidays are a compromise so I compromised on the amount of clothes I took to enable me to fit a portable Heath trap (supplied by ALS) in my rucksack! I managed to run the trap for 3 nights and as a result picked up 4 macro ticks and 3 micro ticks. Nothing startling with probably the most desired of the macros' being the Antler moth pictured above although the Plain (?) Golden Y below was also very attractive.
In all my trapping sessions produced a total of 125 macros of 23 species and 12 micros of 12 of 12 species, the most attractive of the new micros for me being Ypsophola dentella.
A variety of other insects seen included the hoverfly Volucella pelluscens (Great Pied Hoverfly) pictured above. Mammals were limited to Brown Hare, Roe Deer, and Stoat. Take care.

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