Newcastle Birder

Wildlife Journal

 

As a keen birdwatcher for over thirty-six years, I have a great love; for our feathered friends, that share our daily lives”

I very much began my own birdwatching in ‘urban settings’ such as Leazes Park in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne and Walker Riverside Park along the River Tyne.  As my interest evolved my ‘birding days out’ took me to a wider variety of habitats, including scenic coastal shores,  vast forests and woodlands and an extensive portfolio of natures reserves.  I recently wrote an interactive guide to Birdwatching Sites –  North of the Tyne and the Wall. This includes Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

The conservation of our natural world, has always been close to my heart and I have always been a great supporter of initiatives that help protect this.  One such project is  ‘Kittiwakes upon the Tyne. With others I’m helping to safeguard the local breeding colonies of Kittiwakes that share our ‘big river’ during the spring/summer months.

This website is a journal for my ‘birding days out’ and my journeys outdoors with my camera. I’m very much an amateur photographer and every day I’m still learning. This website also shares my wildlife photography via a variety of online albums. There are also some useful links for local organisations I support and some of my favourite books and resources.

My journal entries are short and at times, not very frequent as my daily life is often very busy and I instead focus on key themes. I have an ambition to expand my experiences beyond birdwatching, returning to my childhood days, where I was very much a young naturalist.

Finally I have designed this website myself. I have a passion for web design and this site incorporates a combination of WordPress, handwritten code and a flexible theme. This helps me personalise this even more and just as the words and photographs that feature on this site, I can express myself more. I sometimes think a professional, flashy site may look better, but my heart loves to use the web design ‘wand of flexibility’; which simply is not available with these other sites that use page builders.


 

On the 16th January 2022

Put my ‘Mr Bilbo, Worzel’ head on today & went on an adventure to Chester le Street. At least eight Goosanders present, this pm. One female was showing off a ‘bad hair day’. Light was poor, but managed a few images still.

I used to visit Chester le Street as a child. we used to have picnics against river and I remember the Martins and Swallows in the spring and summer.
Local Costa added to the experience and I found some free parking (for sundays) in town centre. A canny day out! My first with Camera so far this year.

Female Goosander

A Male Goosander

A Grey Heron was relaxing along the River Wear, whilst the local colony of Mute Swan and Mallards were sharing the river with some Tufted Ducks. High in a nearby tree THREE Cormorants, watched from some high branches.

A Grey Heron

The River Wear in Chester le Street, County Durham.


 

On the 20th August 2021

Whilst at Newbiggin today, I recorded three species of Shearwaters; Manx, Sooty and Balearic.  Two Great Skuas also came into view; whilst the usual Mediterranean Gulls relaxed on the beach.  My trustworthy travel chair, as always was very relaxing. The local cafe provided great sea views and I treated myself to a couple of Med Gull coasters.  

Next stop was Amble to see if the Caspian Gull was around like previous summers, but no luck, just these giant Great black backed Gulls. There is much choice at Amble to relax, drink and snack with a great view.  It is also easy to park. Defo a canny venue and always a relaxing drive. Coffee places open till 7pm evening during summer. Heaven.

Great Black backed Gull

One of the giant Great Black-backed Gulls at Amble

A Cormorant fishing at Amble

Newbiggin in South Northumberland.

One of the Mediterranean Gulls from Newbiggin


 

On the 8th August 2021

Despite showers, out & about along the tyne again today. Swans racing into photo at Saltwell Park; & our BIG river at Gateshead Staiths & from Newcastle side. Starring some Kittiwake Twins on Newcastle Quayside.

The Gateshead Staiths along the River Tyne in Gateshead

Saltwell Park in Gateshead


On the 4th August 2021

Summer hols again; so out and about. Todays adventure brought me ashore at Newburn Riverside Park; along the River Tyne. Lots of fireweed on show and some gaint Teasel. Nearby farmers field also had a giant crop growing, talling than 5ft 9 me.

Almost stood on a Brown Slug. Riverbank canny eroded on edges; I almost fell in the river a few times.  Nice relaxing walk in the sun. Ice cream van and canny cafe. Perfect.

A Brown Slug

Fireweed

Teasel


On the 18th July 2021

Cormorants; a bird that is common along the river tyne and the north east coast of england. At Marsden Rock they raise their young every year on the very top, high above. These prehistoric looking birds are always great to watch.

“Dinosaurs of the Present”

Cormorants
Cormorants at Marsden Rock in South Shields.

On the 18th July 2021

I spread my wings today and ventured to the south of the River Tyne. My adventure featured an outing to the seaside down at Marsden and South Shields. The steps to the beach are pretty steep there, but my ankle was ok. Great place for a beer, down below with the sealife

“Cormorants up HIGH, Kittiwakes in the MIDDLE, Humans down” BELOW”

LAYERS
Marsden Rock

On the 17th April 2021

A Geordie Magpie from todays riverside walk along the Tyne. So many colours on display if you look closely. Usually Magpies don’t let you come very close, but this one was very brave and friendly.

“Blues, Greens,
Black & White”

Not a Rainbow

Todays Magpie danced for me, showing off its lush tail. It distracted my view from the river for a while. I was also very pleased to hear Greenfinches calling today, near the Newcastle Business Park which is where this Magpie was. A Woodpigeon was also exploring nearby.

Final photo from todays encounter with a Magpie. I’m not finding them close to my garden much at the moment, but there is plenty around elsewhere.


On the 10th April 2021

So, this gull was jealous yesterday because I seemed more interested in the Kittiwakes. It really wanted its photo taken. It looks so slim and royal this one.

“The Tallest
Lesser Black-backed Gull”

Newcastle & Gateshead Quayside Gulls

On the 10th April 2021

Whilst enjoying the delights of a pair of visiting Pied Wagtails, I was lucky to discover a pair of Grey Wagtails also. Both behaved in a very similar manor. One is very much black and white, whilst the other not only has a slightly different shape, but also boasts brighter shades of yellow and grey. They were easy to tell apart.

Wagtails Guard the lake for the afternoon; committed & determined to stay
at their post”.

Wagtails on Exhibition

Both pairs preferred to stand close to the waters edge, and as people walked past,
they moved along, but always returned to the waters edge.

A Pied Wagtail
A Grey Wagtail

Just a couple of Herring Gulls enjoying Exhibition Park this afternoon. Peacefully walking on the grass looking for worms. Every so often stopping to listen, to dance, to look over their shoulder at the public using the park. As well as cleaning up leftovers from those of us that use the park, they also have a ready made larder of worms etc.

It is common to see Herring Gulls in pairs looking for worms.

Dancing for Dinner – Herring Gull Tales
Herring Gulls