Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pastures New and Pastures Far . . .

Out with the Birdman this morning and the day started well when I spotted a rabbit in the field opposite the bottom of our road, first ( live ) one this side of the valley this year, and about 11 weeks too late to make the Centurion list!
Anyway a new Gateshead site for me as we visited Milkwellburn Woods where Steve had a singing tree pipit earlier in the week. No luck for us today though, but a good trek around the woods gave us pleasantly surprising views of an early Hawker dragonfly along one of the rides.
It takes a while to get your eye in after not seeing any for a long while and was difficult to make a positive ID as it was very flighty and windy too. A couple of brief fixes on it made us conclude it was a common hawker, certainly a pale blue/black mosaic though it looked rather small, but like I say it takes a while to get your eye in again on jizz.
It disappeared after a strong gust of wind (not from me) but this is the spot it was at :

Common Hawker at Milkwellburn Woods?
(looks similar to tree Pipit ;) 

At the recently formed (by DWT) pond our luck got even better as a female Broad-bodied Chaser suddenly swept into view, settling for a photo opportunity close but semi-hidden in the tall grass around the pond. Got some fairly decent pics tho, and first B-b C (f) seen this year so a great find.

Broad-bodied Chaser (female)
Thought it was a giant wood wasp when it first came into view

But it settled nicely for a few pictures

Just a shame it was partly obscured

Also on the pond were a few large red and azure damsels, pick of which was this tandem pair of azures, the female being the uncommon (around 10%) blue form.


We decided to give Far Pastures a try (again for four-spot chaser) as the sun was shining but stars on the pond today were a family of three kingfishers (though we only saw two) and this time I managed to get some pictures of the actual bird rather than just its reflection.

Kingfisher (male)
same perch as the other day 

Now in front of hide for better views

Caught him just as he came out of the water and
back on tothe perch.

Best pose of the day, superb colouring in the sunlight

Before we left I had a cheeky look at the Forbidden Pond and to my great surprise found a male Broad-bodied Chaser patrolling. Excellento! And I couldn't believe my luck when he eventually settled for some cracking pics just in front of me. Result !

What a result, male and female at two different sites

Best shot of the year so far of this particular species

So a day of surprises, and other things I learned today were ; It takes five years to grow a saleable xmas tree (don't ask) and some people will actually steal a bag of sh**e (ask Steve)

So turned out to be a cracking session. Cheers Birdman !


  1. Some cracking shots :) and it was tillys shite in the bag that went missing not mine, just to make that clear ;) lol

  2. Brilliant sightings there !!!
    Tough question for you to start with.......Best viewing .....male BBC, female BBC or Kingfishers ????
    and where is this Forbidden Pond ? or are you forbidden to say ?

    1. Tough question indeed. It's always a treat to see the kingfishers especially at close quarters, but a first female bbc of the year (and first photographable for two years) then a male bbc on my own patch (only second ever and first photographable too), well that has to be the highlight of an all-round top notch session.
      And the forbidden pond is . . . dammit my system has crashed ;)