Monday, 28 February 2011


Very quiet in Mowbray Park today. The drake Mandarin Duck is still strutting his stuff on the pond, along with the resident Tufties, Mallards and freaky hybrid birds. Plenty of Herring Gulls and Black Headed Gulls also on the pond. No sign of the Kingfisher reported last week though. The rest of the park was even quieter with only a couple of Blue Tits, Great Tits and Goldfinches. And the Pigeons of course!

Sunday, 27 February 2011


I was so naive. So totally, utterly, ridiculously naive. You see, when Maria said the words ''we're going to do the bathroom'', I genuinely thought we were going to do the bathroom. I quite obviously didnt realise that the words ''we're going to do the bathroom'' ACTUALLY means ''we're going to do the ENTIRE house from top to bottom''!!!! With the bathroom all but complete I thought I'd have a lovely, relaxing weekend seeing what wildlife I could find around the local area. But no. No no no no no no no. No! This weekend I have been sanding down the upstairs doors and banister and then putting undercoat on them because, if I understand things right, the new bathroom is so nice it makes the rest of the house look so vile and hideous that even a rat wouldnt live in it. Or something like that. So, apparently, after we've finished painting upstairs, we're then getting a new kitchen (which to be honest I did know about) and then after that we're changing the living room. And after that, god knows!!! Will it ever actually end? I bloody hope so!
At the moment, the only wildlife watching I'm doing is on my lunch breaks. The next two weeks I'm working at Hendon so I'll be visiting Mowbray Park quite a lot. I havent been there for months so it'll be nice to see whats around.
Oh, and of course I'll be keeping a good eye on my pond. There were two frogs in there today. Lets hope they 'enjoy each others company'!

Thursday, 24 February 2011


Just had a little check of my garden pond and saw the first FROG of the year! Hibernation must be over, here's hoping I have a pond full of baby Froglets sometime soon.

Monday, 21 February 2011


On thursday we had probably the best meeting the Group have had since our humble beginnings less than a year ago. We've come such a long way in such short time. A prime example of this is the fact that on thursday we were joined by Clare Rawcliffe from South Tyneside Council. She's heard a lot about us and wanted to come along and find out for herself what we were about and what our goals were etc. I think she was very impressed with what she heard, and asked if we would like to co-operate and work together on future projects in the months ahead. Its a huge compliment knowing that we are trusted and respected enough to be asked to take part in important surveys and projects, and something we are all looking forward to. She also asked if we could pass on any sightings we had of any Mammals and Amphibians we see in South Tyneside when we are out and about. And so it was decided that I would be given the posh title of Animal and Amphibian Recording Officer for the Group. I'm more than happy to do the job.
After Clare left, we then discussed in depth the projects that we have ongoing ourselves. The great news was that our planning permission had been approved for the Feeding Station we are building in Whitburn Coastal Park. Also, we'd had no objections from the local community about our plans so we are ready to go. Our application for Lottery Funding has also gone through to the second stage so we are all incredibly hopeful we will get the approval and be given the funds to make our plans come to fruition. We have also got plans to start monthly guided walks for the general public in the summer months starting in April. These are currently in the development process. More immediately, we have plans to move some trees that have grown too big in the Coastal Park and hope to transport them to Trow Quarry. This has to be done sooner rather than later, so thats what we'll be upto in the next few weeks. Busy and exciting times ahead!

Saturday, 12 February 2011


At the start of the year I decided I would try to explore my hometown a lot more than I have in the past. So today I headed for Herrington Country Park. Now, this is place I've been to many, many times and somewhere I know inside out BUT, today I did things slightly different. I made the decision to leave the car at home and WALK there and back! I was interested in exploring the places in between my house and the Country Park. The route I took started at Springwell Park, through Thorney Close Extension, over the Sandhills, past Hastings Hill Farm, into Foxcover Wood and finally onto the Country Park itself. The journey back covered more farmland but was pretty much the same route. The weather was really grey and miserable the whole time but I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. 36 species of birds were seen in total, which may not seem many but for a cacky wet winters day wasnt too bad really. In the spring/summer that total will be a lot higher. The highlights were a flock of Redwings and a totally unexpected party of Grey Partridges in Thorney Close Extension, a HUGE mixed flock of Tits and Finches in Foxcover Wood, and bumping into JBee at the Country Park. But best of all were wonderful views of a HARE on the hill at the Country Park. It was an extremely enjoyable four hours of birding on foot. I could get used to this!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


As I seem to be spending a fair amount of time at Southwick at the moment, I decided to have a little wander on my lunchbreak today. I had a fabulous hour exploring the scrubby area along the riverside, although an hour was nowhere near long enough! There were some great habitat to search, with plenty of common birds on todays visit, but with the exciting prospect of some possible rarities on future visits. The place looks perfect for something good to turn up! I can just picture a good Warbler giving incredibly frustrating views in the coming months!!! On the river itself there were loads of Gulls, which cried out to be examined. The best I could come up with today were a couple of Great Black Backs, but again the potential is there. There were even a few Waders on the exposed mudflats. But the undoubted highlight was a stunning Peregrine soaring over. It caused chaos amongst the loafing Gulls and seemed to put the whole lot up. The poor Falcon was getting it from all sides and eventually flew off towards the coast. A great start to a place I hope to visit as often as I can in the coming months.