Friday, 3 May 2013

It's not all Dragonhunting . . .

I thought I was being a bit previous going out looking for red damsels yesterday. I had a good scoot around the valley but nothing damsel-like to be found anywhere, though I would think the recent warmer weather will have led to the first emergence and just a matter of time til the mature adults appear at the ponds.
Was a lovely sunny day and I suppose the biggest surprise was the lack of butterflies on the wing, only five seen all day, 2 small tortoiseshells, 2 green-veined white and a silhouette I couldn't make out.

I did spot a palmate newt in thornley woods pond but not much else, though a very vocal pair of kestrels kept me entertained there.
Walking through the valley best birds (apart from a plethora of singing migrants) were soaring buzzards and sparrowhawk pair, GS woodpeckers, treecreeper and several nuthatches, one of which had extensive rusty-red flanks and was so pale underneath the redness really stood out. I looked it up later at home and had myself believing it could have been a scandinavian type, however unlikely that is, but suffered a brain-fart as I couldn't remember whether it had white underparts or just very pale buff. Just wish I'd taken a photo 'cos it was right in front of me, certainly a very unusual-looking bird.

To cut a long story short I returned to the site today to see if I could relocate it, and instead found a female Pied Flycatcher! A Gateshead lifer for both me and the Birdman, whom I txted and luckily he was just on his lunch break so turned up minutes later and didn't have long to wait before the pied-fly came again giving us cracking views, though my photos were worse than usual as I still had it set to macro (D'oh!).

Believe it or not these were the best photos
I could get of the Blurred Flycatcher, despite
it showing very well.

Though I saw a few nuthatches the very pale one didn't make an appearance, might give it another go or just consign it to room 101 where all the unsolved mysteries are stored, though to be honest I'm now pleased I didn't get a photo of it yesterday, otherwise I would never have returned today and got the pied fly, a cracking bird for the valley.


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