In Dusk We Trust - Some Owling in Co.Durham, North East England, Great Britain
Leucistic Little Owl image copyright Hilary Chambers, Durham.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Some prepping up for next phase of Barnie boxes . . .
This entailed 3 of us hand-balling 4 big numb telegraph poles onto the truck.

2 delivered to our fellow owl enthusiasts at the University of Durham & the other 2 to Durham Wildlife Trust HQ to be used for pole mounted Barn Owl boxes. - hopefully they should be out of harms way up on these - although the way things have been going perhaps we should daub some tar & apply some wire half way up . . .

recent image from a local prowler.

We endured, sorry, thats enjoyed ;-) a further indoor meeting with DWT officials to finalise arrangements.

Good job we had some big strong young men from the bird club to give it a bit heave-ho (i mean with the poles, not the trusts staff !)

Another project we aim to implement with DWT is an organised viewing opportunity for roosting Long-eareds - this will hopefully go some way to counter some of the problems these birds experience over the winter months.

In the afternoon we erected new boxes in local study areas, with evidence of Barn & Little owl having been present.

Another very positive owl day & good team effort.
its a good job we got those poles yestday . . .as overnight someone has chored the truck tailgate whilst parked outside my front door !
misc & random addition :-
in a forgotten corner of the yard the farmer has been establishing a new Typha bed

Thursday, 26 August 2010

down the woods & up the trees

Looking south over Durham
(Click: Cathederal centre, Segiston left & Bearpark right, Cleveland Hills on the horizon)

Honest, i didnt touch it, i just fell over as i walked past . . .

200 Swallows & a dozen or so Tree Spugs round the farm,
The woods held 2Crossbill, small nos of Siskin, Goldcrest & GSW

2 for John


Another time, another place :-

An invitation to a local golf club -
sadly we forgot our golf bats,
but did remember to bring @20 Tree Spug boxes ;-)

A dozen passage Wheateaters, Dabchick pr with 3 young etc

Hopefully a superb Spug suburb to come, sev birds in area....

Later, we went to shut a stable door after a horse had already bolted . . . .

sickened time lucky

LO box repositioned, tree crown lifted, inspection hatch firmly "battoned down"

Next projects -
Green Light for x2 pole mounted BO boxes there,

after 10 year its had its day - Kestrel following on from Tawny owl this season, both pairs getting young off.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Walk like an . . . .

Thought for the day
 - i wonder how many bird-chasing Papparazzi members we got stuff in a wheelie bin before we get caught on camera . . .?


The Jammy Heron strikes again !

today its another good local bird:- Egyptian Goose


in flight - 2nd site record

with GCG, a good 'back up' bird here - only 4th or 5th bird this year

also the first returning Goldeneye of the season

& stunned by news of a real Un-Blocking ! - Nuthatch !!! - one weve been looking for for years ! - despite breeding only a mile away . . . yes you guessed it - That Jammy Heron Struck Again !!!

Thanks to John Bridges for the Gypo shots

Monday, 23 August 2010

a brief stint

missed this during a brief stint this morning . . .

thought it was a sleeping dunlin . . .

Little Stint RMs found by GCrowder

Friday, 20 August 2010

Castle Lake

Castle Lake:
aftnoon sesh aft getn drauked at graft this morn'n

WashingtonWaderMans 2Spotshanks transforming overnight to 4

juv Spotted Redshank in a downpour

### Wader Clip ###

### Wader Clip 2 ###

2Redshank,  5Ruff,  4Greenshank,  6+GreenSand,  3+CommSand,  60+Snipe,  1Dunlin,  4Wigeon, 3wagtail sp's,  juvWhinchat etc   ( JO / AJ / SE )

Swifts close to home, 2 seen at close range with bulging throat sacs

juv Sprawk, baffled by the selection on offer . . .




Exciting new excavations coming soon - bound to get a "biggie" just before the works due to start . . .

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Round the Doors

 A steady walk round today 9-4

Within a few 100 yards from home Kingfisher fished from its perch, 2 Swift still close to nest sites, Buzzard over heading SE.


Water Rail calling from the Typha bed- waited a while for spotty crake- No such luck although yet another  one The Heron has seen here.
Also Kingfisher , Little Owl , Sparrowhawk with 3 noisy Kamakarze(?) juvs,

Log jam

150 Linnet/Goldfich, 44 House Martin, Moorhen with chicks just hatched, 2 Heron.

Morton Wood/Grange:

Sparrowhawks with young, 1 Little Owl, pr+2 Stock Dove, young Treecreepers & Nuthatch, 6 Tree Sparrow, 2pr  Grey Partridge, 3 Kestrel.

Lots of b'flys along the disused rail line

wasnt sure about this 1 till it opened its wings:-

Speckled Wood - they ve come on leaps & bounds last 2-3 year

Rainton M's:

Formerly a vast pit heap, re-worked as opencast before being put back
Some of it is now The Great North Forrest - more like a great north waste of money....
hundreds of 1,000's more trees than were ever needed & no after care policy !

It'll be interesting how many of these trees die off now that the canopy is closing
Areas of natural regen around the edges are rich in birds & wildlife, theres also the benefit that its formative years have given us some good small mammal populations :-)
On the whole a tragic waste of money & land

Snippets include:-
Little Owl, 10Snipe, 23Curlew, 1 Green Sand, 50 Lapwing, 3 Oystercatcher, 10 Teal , mGadwall, 2Shoveller, 2j each of Reed & Sedge Warbler, 12+Swift & 450+ mixed Hirundines scattered in area,

passage Redstart (diff bird to Sunday) - its on the top strand of barb in case you cant see it . . .
another classic iPhone binned image.

4Sparrowhawks up over Highfield Hotel, 3Sparrowhawks up over Leamside,
prGrey Partridge with 8 young, 8+Willow Tit etc,
year-tick in the shape of a cc Marsh Harrier which drifted SW over Leamside at 14:00, an area where ive seen 1 previously at this time of year - poss same seen earlier from Sedgeletch

North Hetton Fm / Dairy Lane:

13Mistle Thrush, pr Grey Partridge with 10+ young, pr Stock Dove, pr Little Owl etc.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Twitch & Joke - Little Brown Job

Nah, nowt to do with any wobblers

This evening a trip to Shibdon after calling in to collect some pay on route.

The view out the shutters

this one definately beats Foghorn Leghorns as worst Spotted Crake image, but i get a bonus point for young rail in background

Little brown chicken-thing

as Rolph used to say . . ."Can you tell what it is yet ?"

Crake was active till 20:30,

Thankfully not all the birds were that distant

Others seen included:-  4j1adWRail, 1Garganey, 5Egret & 65Cormorant roosting in trees, singles of Oik, Snipe, Greenshank & Redshank.

A fine sky at the days end

Pulled in at Lamesley on way back
A Barn owl hunting 20:45- 21:30, between Church & Pub, often close to road, allowing good views.
Also 2Little owls

Little Owl keeping out of the rain on the way through

Heres a good gag :-

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Local Patching for a change - 4 yr ticks

After the rotten wet week it turned out to be a nice warm bright Sunday, bringing with it 4 patch year ticks.

Local Stalwart, The Heron SMS'ed with news of a  Pied Fly at the edge of town - as it happens just along the road - it was too close to turn down the opportunity - especially as theres only 1 other P.Fly on my patch tally.
40 long minutes it took to locate it as it sallied between Ash, Elm & Chestnut - a drab female type, but a real good passage bird to see, let alone find anywhere inland.
Thats another 1 i owe for . . . .

A pair of Little Owls entertained as i waited for the Fly to appear.

Its mate was next to its "box" . . . .

a Tree House no less ! - possibly the largest owl box in the County ! ?  

The bairn with his split head, was content to remain clocked in the house - so i treat myself to a full afternoon session.

Starting at TheBridge
i met EA, of Night Heron fame - he filled me in, metioing recet Hobby.

with Dipper, Kingfisher, 5Goosander etc etc

###  Short Dip Clip  ###

Headed up to TheGate (a 7 or 8 year old subsidence pool)
where i bumped into Foghorn Leghorn
who had just flushed all the waders off the pool
(there was no other reasonable explanation for no birds !)

We just began to chat when something flicked over the road above our heads -
landing on the Thistles it was a fine juvvy Whinchat -

a local yr tick, right place right time.

Andrew was quick to note an adult Buzzard here.
We headed off to another small subsidence pool, which held a Teal & a GreenSand.

Nice to see a keen young birder out & about - & he seems to have a unique talent in that he never has a bad word to say about anyone !

We went our seperate ways & i met up with the legend which is Man with Stick at TheMeadows
masses of birds here & a definate feel that we've had a good breeding season & that Summers on its way out.

200+ Willow-Chiffs, 10Blackcap, 4Lesser Whitethroat, 2Sedge Warbler, 12Whitethroat, 100+LTTit, 6Willow Tit, 80Goldfinch, 12Swift, 2Wheatear, Micks Redstart from yestday was at pool1, giving me the 3rd yrtick, a couple each of Teal, Shoveller & Gadwall, 11Cormorant record count ?, 200House Martin/Swallow etc

A further look back down produced a couple of Green Sands & an unexpected Spotted Redshank circling whilst calling for 5 mins, before heading off South - no doubt due to the noisy scum in the hides.

After the light went i watched 3 Long-eareds move together silently along the bankside - moments later i could hear one begin begging.

So a good ol' day, 3 sessions & 4 ticks.