Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Now it's past my bedtime I know
And I'd really like to go
Soon will be the breath of day
Sitting here in Blue Jay Way

Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Lyrics by George Harrison and from the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

29th July.  I spoke to soon in saying that I had more to look forward to in July, as soon after saying that I was hit by some kind of bug and had to cancel a couple of ventures out to sea which I had been looking forward to.  I'll get there next year.

Never mind I was out in the fresh air today and on patch.  It was generally quiet, but I had met up with Sam so enjoyed the chat.  I'd been talking to a neighbour a couple of weeks ago and he told me he'd found a Jay in his garden.  I was rather envious I have to say as strange though it may seem I've never found a single Jay on patch over the years.  That was put right today as Sam and I watched a juvenile Jay at length. Well, it might be just a Jay to some, but it's a new patch tick for us!

Now I just need to find a Walrus and I can get some really good lyrics up.  Ahhh, those were the days.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

PGB...Previous Generation Birders...What's in a Name?

No one who truly knows me could ever suggest that I am uninterested in involving and supporting young people in the field of birding or natural history as a whole.  In fact I despair sometimes at the lack of input and support for young people, which seems to be prevalent in some situations.  Never the less I am also keenly interested in the history of ornithology and conservation and the efforts put in by individuals from previous generations.  After all, as in the case of all fields of activity, we benefit from the steady flow of knowledge that is built by our predecessors, although I guess each generation, and I include my own, often think that it is they that have invented the wheel, so to speak.  Because of my interest it was with some pleasure that I recently read the book Birds in a Cage by author Derek Niemann.  This book tells the story of how four men in particular dealt with the horror of being confined in Prisoner of War Camps during World War Two by devoting much of their time to their passion for the natural world.  The books main focus of attention is on four men, John Buxton, George Waterston, Peter Conder and John Barrett.  The book is an excellent read and I won’t go into too much detail here as that may spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but who intends to do so.  I will say I found it poignant how these men’s lives were in both the short and longer term affected, in some cases physically and certainly in all cases psychologically.  I also asked myself the question ‘how many claiming to be bird watchers these days actually watch with the intensity that these men did?   In this case all done without the luxury of either modern equipment or communications.  Oh, how did we ever cope with out Twitter?  Well in fact it’s easy, as I myself prove.   These guys couldn’t even rely on an adequate mailing system.  Neither did they have any access to optics.

John Buxton (1912-1989) was the only one of the four men who did not go into a lasting career involving conservation in some form.  The classic book The Redstart, a monograph in the New Naturalist series, was however a product of the time John Buxton spent watching and monitoring Redstarts during his captivity.  During some of this time Buxton’s hands were manacled.  The Redstart has been out of print for many years, but is usually available as used copies, at a price.  John spent time as warden at Skokholm Bird Observatory in 1939 and married Marjorie the sister of Ronald Lockley.  Ronald was the catalyst for the setting up of Bird Observatories in the UK and began the very first UK observatory at Skokholm in 1933.  Ronald had many contacts with ornithologists and conservationists including Peter Scott, George Waterson and Julian Huxley and is the author of several books including the monograph Shearwaters which was the result of twelve years study of these birds.  During his captivity John Buxton was able to obtain bird rings and ornithological literature from the German ornithologist Erwin Stresemann, a leading ornithologist of the twentieth century.  Stresemann was no doubt taking some personal risk with regard this.

George Waterston (1911-1980) was a founder of the Midlothian Ornithologists Club and later the Scottish Ornithological Club.  Prior to the Second World War he was also a joint founder of the Bird Observatory on the Isle of May, only the second observatory to open in the UK.  George was influenced by the work of Ronald Lockley at Skokholm.  Perhaps George’s first love however was Fair Isle.  During his period as a POW George had dreams of owning Fair Isle.  Maybe not such a wild dream as one might think as he did belong to a well to do family.  George was repatriated prior to the end of the war because of serious health problems.  On his boat journey to Scotland he passed Fair Isle and one can only guess how poignant that must have been for him in the circumstances.  A few years later he realised his dream and he purchased Fair Isle and helped establish the Bird Observatory there.  Six years later (1954) he sold the island to the National Trust of Scotland for the same amount he had paid for it.  George later become Director of the RSPB in Scotland and is perhaps best known for his work in re-establishing the Osprey in Scotland.  The early days of barbed wire protection at Loch Garten are well know and one can only ponder upon George’s possible reflections concerning such security, remembering that not so long before, he himself had been held behind barbed wire.  It was George’s idea to open to the public a viewing point at Loch Garten, since when so many people have watched Ospreys at their nest, many of these people perhaps seeing their first Osprey here.  It had by necessity been a very secretive operation prior to George’s idea to involve the public.  George Waterston was an inspiration to many, including a young man by the name of Roy Dennis, who I have heard talk so highly of George and whose own work with Ospreys is so well known.  The names begin to link together like a chain, as another who has worked with Ospreys is a favourite nature artist of mine Keith Brockie, who also of course has strong links to the Isle of May and has produced two (of several) books of his art work completed whilst living on the island, these being Ones Mans Island and Return to One Mans Island.  Erwin Stresemann published a paper during the war concerning the birds of Crete and bird migration through the Aegean.  George Waterston had been captured at Crete and he provided work from his observations which Stresemann included in his paper.  George was the only man from the UK to ever have work included in a German ornithological paper during the course of the Second World War.

Peter Conder (1919-1993) was interested in ornithology from childhood.  I think as a rather reserved man Peter was perhaps overawed by his fellow POW bird watchers of whom he was the youngest.  During movement between camps he lost much of his written work.  In 1947 he too became warden of the Bird Observatory on Skokholm where he studied the Northern Wheatear in particular and is author of a monograph on this species.  By 1963 Peter had become director of the RSPB and he remained so until 1975, a period during which membership rose tenfold to 200,000.  Land ownership also increased from a minimal amount to 20,000 hectares.  Peter saw that the work of the RSPB must be founded upon science and that conservation must recognise the role of politics.  Peter was relatively young when he retired from the directorship of the RSPB and he could have gone on for much longer.  In stepping down he recognised the need for new blood and ideas in the role.  Perhaps there is a lesson for us all there.  Peter continued involvement with training and advisory groups.

John Barrett (1913-1999) gained a life long interest in birds by being in the company of John Buxton, George Waterston and Peter Conder.  He became warden of Dale Fort Field Centre which included Skokholm Bird Observatory.  Dale Fort was established as a centre for the study of marine biology with Skokholm flourishing as a bird observatory.  John seems to have regretted that he had been unable to fully engage other POWs in natural history and he was driven to make amends for this.  Under his management the field centre gained an international reputation and John supervised many students during his years here.  He is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of the Collins Guide to the Seashore which was published in 1958 and remained in print for forty years.  Whilst it was a joint authorship with Maurice Yonge, the latter admitted that it was John who had done most of the work on this.  Except for visits to see family who had moved abroad, John remained in Pembrokeshire for the rest of his life.  He established the Pembrokeshire Countryside Unit in Broad Haven in 1968 and ran a programme of walks and talks along the coastal footpaths.  During his guided walks he was accompanied by his dog which he named dog.

Derek Niemann was editor for the RSPB Magazine for young members.  Following on from Birds in a Cage he is now the author of A Nazi in the family: The Hidden Story of an SS Family in Wartime Germany.  This book follows Derek Niemann’s discovery that his grandfather was a Nazi and was a cog in the wheel of the workings of the concentration camps.  Derek is also author of wildlife books for children and has contributed articles to the Guardian and Wildlife Magazine.

Friday, 17 July 2015

More Birds, Butterflies and Botany at Bishop Middleham

16th July.  July is not noted for being the most exciting month, but I’ve been enjoying it up till now with more to come before the month ends.

Image of the day.  Ringlets.
Today it was a trip to Bishop Middleham, again with Marie and Sam.  Conditions were ideal with no breeze and plenty of sun.  On arrival we walked through the farm building and along to the back of the lake.  Sam suggested that the area was ideal for Little Owl and it certainly is.  It wasn’t long after that comment had been made that we were watching a Little Owl.  Our target bird was of course Corn Bunting and we picked up the jangling key call very quickly and were soon watching a singing Corn Bunting perched on the overhead wires.  Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and Ringlet Butterflies were flying over the grassland.

Poppy field
The Lake was as dry as I’ve ever seen it with some very inviting areas of mud for waders.  The only waders we picked up were the large flock of Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Redshank and Curlew.  We couldn’t be sure there wasn’t anything else in amongst the Lapwings as we struggled with binoculars to pick up anything across the other side of the lake under the hide.  Certainly nothing stood out and the area was fairly quiet although we had Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Gadwall, Grey and Pied Wagtail and hirundines sightings.  Our next stop and main focus of the trip was to be the old quarry and so we headed off in that direction rather than completing the longer round walk that we usually tackle in the area.


Small Heath

 I’m never disappointed when I visit this quarry, one of my favourite little spots in Durham, but some years are better than others and good timing is essential if you’re to make the most of the butterflies and botanical interest here.  July is usually a good month in which to visit.  We soon found Common Spotted Orchids and Common Twayblade, much of the latter past its best.  Ringlet and Meadow Brown Butterflies were numerous and the Ringlets provided us with our best photographic opportunity when Sam came across a mating pair.  There were fewer but a decent number of Small Heath Butterflies about too.  Sam made an interesting point that the habitat was like much of what we had found in Hungary last year, but sadly there is only pockets of it here.  Another visitor mentioned in passing to me that he had seen images of Marble White Butterflies taken here in the quarry.  Whilst I know that this species does frequent a quarry in Durham (I believe that they were introduced) I wasn’t aware that they frequented this particular area and I have never seen them here.  I’d be interested if anyone can confirm if there have been sightings here.

Common Twayblade 

I didn't notice this insect until I uploaded the images.

As we moved further into the quarry we were on this occasion disappointed to find virtually no Dark Red Helleborines in flower.  Were we too early? I didn’t think so.  Neither did we find the numbers of Fragrant Orchids that usually are so abundant.  On talking to another visitor it was suggested to me that the Rabbits had chewed and destroyed the helleborines.  I did see signs of chewed plants, but I also found plants with new growth which suggested that some of these orchids might simply be late this year, although this would make them very late.  After we took lunch in the sun we were off to look for Northern Brown Argus Butterflies.

Common Spotted Orchid

What appears to be a chewed Dark Red Helleborine

When asked by another visitor what I was looking for I was virtually told I was too late, but I pointed out that we had just seen one.  The guy was friendly and being helpful, but I know this time of year is good to find this species, although I accept they may have been on the wing now for some weeks.  If I hadn’t known, I may have been put off from looking.  I always like to follow my own instincts and not listen too much to others views no matter how well intentioned, and they were well intentioned in this case.  Anyhow by the time we had finished we had found Northern Brown Argus, numbers into double figures.  Most were a bit worn.  I’d also been able to help out one or two other visitors with identification. so it was rewarding time spent.  Common Blue Butterflies and Speckled Wood Butterflies were also flying, but not in great 

Northern Brown Argus 

Northern Brown Argus
Happily we did eventually come across some attractive Dark Red Helloborines in flower, although not to the extent as on previous visits.  This one is in my top ten list of favourite plants.  I spoke with a holidaying visitor who was seeing it for the first time and he was well impressed.  Wild Thyme, Rock Rose, Birds-foot Trefoil and Eyebright were all much in evidence as was St John’s Wort species near the entrance.  However the lack of other flowering species in any quantity suggested late flowering this year.  After some searching I did eventually find a single Carline Thistle which flower had yet to open.  Marie I understand is returning to France for a trip and will be finding these flowering thistles the size of dinner plates, as they grow much larger in areas of the continent.

Dark Red Helleborine

Dark Red Helleborine
I think we spent at least two and a half hours in the quarry, much of the time photographing the Northern Brown Argus and Dark Red Helleborine.  There were few birds about here, but the Sand Martin nesting site was active and Yellowhammer song accompanied us as we walked around the area.  Wren and Magpie made an appearance.

Eyebright Euphrasia.  One of numerous species or types (depending upon which authority you care to follow. 

The name Euphrasia is of Greek origin, derived from Euphrosyne (gladness), the name of one of the three graces who was distinguished for her joy and mirth, and it is thought to have been given the plant from the valuable properties attributed to it as an eye medicine preserving eyesight and so bringing gladness into the life of the sufferer.

Carline Thistle

Another good day and very hot in the quarry where we examined some attractive Snail shells as we where preparing to leave for home.  Now who says July is boring?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Nightjar Pilgrimage

To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.
Lyrics from La Marseillaise

14th July.  Bastille Day, and our annual pilgrimage to Slaley Forest in search of Nightjars.  Our only arms were netting, insect repellent and a bat detector.  An earlier planned visit had been well timed, but unfortunately cancelled because of thunderstorms and downpours.  This evening we were blessed with sunshine and dryness, although it did appear that dark cloud filled the sky further south and rain appeared to be falling in one particular area.  Our number this year consisted of Marie, Sam and me.

First stop was Corbridge as is our custom.  As we walked down to the river we watched Swifts entering nests at the side of the bridge.  A Kingfisher flew up river and other birds seen included Moorhen, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Swallow and Sand Martin.  We had tea sat on the stone remains of the old Roman Bridge and thought about how many feet had walked these stones in the past.  Yellowhammers showed well in this area that is always good for this species and we heard Sparrowhawk calls.  Butterflies seen were Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

We set off early for Slaley as we intended to do some walking on the moor.  Brown Hare was seen as we approached our destination.  When we arrived the air was already filling with insects which did not bode well for later.  Our first defence was used in the form of insect repellent.  In my case a mixture of Deet and Avon Skin Soft.  I might be bitten still, but at least I’d smell nice…well I would smell anyway!

View across the moor towards Derwent Reservoir
The moor was as quite as I’ve ever found it with not even any gulls flying over.  We found a few Meadow Pipits, the odd Swallow and Wren, but little else until a few Red Grouse began to lift.  We did eventually hear calling from two or three Golden Plover, but we were never able to locate them.  The air was beginning to cool as we retraced our steps towards the forest but it remained bright and clear and the view was excellent.  Two Greylag Geese were in the area.

Back at the vehicle it was on with another layer of clothing and more of the insect repellent before we took to the forest track.  It wasn’t long after 10.00pm and still quite light when we heard our first churring Nightjar.  By now Sam, Batman for the evening had the bat detector out.  I saw a number of bats fly out of a tree by the track and reckon they were just leaving the roost.  The timing suggested that they would be Pipistrelle Bats and this was confirmed by the flight pattern, the bat detector and Sam.  We didn’t find any other species of Bat this evening.  We did have numerous calling Woodcock fly over and later on a silent Tawny Owl fly over close by us.  I have to say that even the Tawny Owls were quiet tonight with just some distant calls picked up.

After a few short bursts of churring the Nightjars seemed to remain silent however we did have one of our best sightings of Nightjar as one flew from the plantation and across the clearing and back again, giving us a very good showing.  The insects were a real problem tonight and were in my mouth, ears, eyes and nose and the buzz of mossies were a constant threat.  It meant I resorted to a second line of defence and had netting over my head.  It was Sam’s covering so it is thanks to him that I was reasonably untroubled.

Summer Nights
It had been a very good evening and worth the delay, although I wonder if our later trip than usual had meant less churring Nightjars.  I collected the newspapers this morning and folk seemed to be avoiding me.  For the life of me I don’t know why!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Smardale...Botany, Butterflies, Birds, Bridges and a Beasty from the Beck

Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An Aa’ll tell ye aall an aaful story,
Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An’ Aa’ll tell ye ‘bout the Worm.

(Apologies to non N E England readers regarding the lyrics.  Google Lambton Worm for information).

11th July.  Smardale Gill Nature Reserve is a National Nature Reserve and SSSI managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and this limestone area has many attractions to naturalist and historian.  Today I had been enticed to participate in the RSPB Local Group trip to the area.  Numbers attending these trips are far cry from past years when waiting lists were kept for places, but never the less there were seventeen keen members ready to explore the area.  I find that the smaller numbers often leads to a friendlier feel with everyone interacting with one another, but perhaps the accounts suffer the consequences and in this respect it suggests to me a need to consider those old concepts of change, modernisation and recruitment.

First thing to catch the eye as we walked eastwards from Newbiggin-on-Lune was the display of flora in this limestone area.  Vetchlings, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Rock Rose suggested that we would not be short of butterfly sightings.  Other notable flora included Melancholy Thistle, orchids, Wild Thyme, Jacobs Ladder, Stonecrop, Betony, Great Burnet, Crosswort, Field Scabious and Yellow Rattle.

Common Blue Butterfly (male)
Butterflies and day flying moths were soon catching the eye and leading to some frustration amongst the photographers.  The most numerous butterflies that I was seeing were without doubt Common Blue, Ringlet and Meadow Brown.  These attractive ‘blues’ (both male and female) were at times showing brilliantly in the sunshine.  I also recorded Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath and a single Northern Brown Argus (the latter seen at the old Limestone Quarry where there were also Common Blues in great numbers.  Other members reported Small Copper, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Small Skipper.  I’d been surprised not to find Small Skipper myself, as they had been abundant on a previous visit to the area.  Unfortunately despite a thorough search I was unable to find Dark Green Fritillary on this occasion and I reckon we were too early for Scottish Argus.  There were also many day flying moths and my prowling in the undergrowth paid off when I was able to capture images of my first ever Chimney-Sweep Moths.

Common Blue Butterfly (female)

Chimney-Sweeper Moth  (The larva feeds on the Pignut plant)

I haven't identified this day flying moth as yet.

Such was the walk through a botanical paradise and my search (often on my knees) for insects, it had almost escaped my mind that I ought to be on the look out for birds too.  If I’m honest I had no expectations at all that this was a good time of year for bird watching in this area.  I was busy photographing butterflies when some group members found a Redstart.  Skylark song filled the air at times as did hirundines and occasional Swifts.  I heard Meadow Pipits and watched as a Kestrel hovered in the wind over the crags. My star bird of the day was a Spotted Flycatcher showing really well as I searched for Dark Green Fritillary.  At the same spot two Jays were seen briefly as they flew off.  Blackcaps and Willow Warblers sang.  Today was not a day to focus on birds and the group list of forty-six reflected that.  We didn’t spend long in the wooded areas which may have ensured that the list number may have lifted a little.


Beauty meets the beast.  Common Blue Butterfly (male) on disintegrating cigarette butt.  Perhaps just perching but I did wonder if it was finding some nutrient here.

 We were soon looking down upon the old eighteenth century pack-horse bridge which crosses Scandel Beck.  Thoughts of who and what this bridge has witnessed over the centuries always springs to mind when I look at it and begin to think of Hugh Walpole novels.  We stopped for lunch at the redundant Limestone Quarry and Lime Kilns.  Lime form the Kilns was taken by rail from the railway siding opposite.  Lunch was interrupted a few times as I grabbed images of Common Blue Butterflies and my one and only Northern Brown Argus Butterfly.

Northern Brown Argus
Lunch was finished and it wasn’t long before we were crossing Smardale Gill Viaduct.  This is of course a major attraction in the area.  Built for £11, 928 and completed in 1861.  Restoration work was completed in 1992 at a cost of £350, 000.  Doesn’t inflation hurt?  This viaduct has 14 arches, reaches 27m in height and is 170m long.  It’s worth a visit to the area just to admire it.

Smardale Gill Viaduct 

Scandel Beck leading to the viaduct

The pathway on our return was a bit more demanding but offers excellent vistas.  There was minimal birding interest as the clouds began to come in.  However, we did find the beasty from the beck along this route, or more precisely a Grey Heron did.  We got our eyes on a Grey Heron on the other side of the beck and soon realised it was feeding on what was a snake like beasty.  Was it a snake?  Was it a Lamprey?  Was it an Eel?  Views differed.  What ever it was, it was struggling and certainly a whopping great thing.  I quickly ruled out snake as there is none in the UK that look anything like this yellow rotund monster.  It appeared to have a thin black stripe along part of the body, at the tail end I think.  I’ve watched Grey Herons struggle to swallow Eels in the past but I’ve never seen anything like this.  The beasty had to be approaching four foot in length and it really did have the girth of a large snake.  The Grey Heron took two or three small flights with the beasty in its bill before landing at the side of the beck and dropping it in the water and appearing to spear it.  Lifting it up again, the beasty was swallowed in one large gulp.  I was fully expecting it to emerge again from the Grey Heron’s bill, but it never did.  The Grey Heron then fully sated flew off.  I’m guessing in order to rest and digest its ginormous meal.  This was my sighting of the day without a doubt and having done the research I find that the beasty was in fact a ‘yellow’ Eel.  It seems that they turn this colour as they age.  I must do some more reading about Eels. (It seems that the European Eel can reach a length of 1.5m or 4ft 11ins, but it is rare for them to reach more than 1m or 3ft 3ins, so we had found a rarity).  Unfortunately just too far away to capture an image of any quality and I didn’t even bother to try.

Some dodgy looking characters on the old Packhorse Bridge
I finished the day in the café with a pot of tea and a nice piece of cake and having watched the Grey Heron take its fill I was completely guilt free!

Soldier Beetle

It had been an excellent day in an area that has great appeal to me.  OK, few birds, but there was ample natural history to keep everyone happy in this very well managed reserve.    A really good walk that can be taken at a pace that suits.

The journey home provided Lapwing and as we crossed the River Tyne, a Kittwake, taking the bird list to forty-eight.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

North East Photography Awards

A very good evening on Thursday 9th July at the North East Photography Awards at the Great North Museum-Hancock.

Once again lots of entries and a large attendance, so large on this occasion that meant that we were moved upstairs to a large room and even then there was extra seats brought in.  George McGavin of TV fame gave an excellent presentation and the fact that I’d seen much of this at a previous talk given by George made it no less interesting.  George does not take himself too seriously, a good trait often found in people who really do know their subject.  Well done to all concerned with the arrangements and all those who entered the competition.

I was there on the night especially, as I knew Sam (Underthehood) had five images shortlisted on his first time of entering the adult sections.  I’m more than pleased to say that Sam won the Wildlife in Action section with a stunning image of a Great Crested Grebe on Killingworth Lake.  Sam has spent more time watching and photographing these grebes than anyone I know, and not just when the birds are displaying, so the award could not have gone to a more appropriate person.  The image which was actually taken in June is a stunner and I believe was certainly up there with the best entries.  This award comes after a earlier this year winning the junior section of the Scottish Nature Photography Competition, so this guy is on a roll at the moment. 

CONGRATULATION SAM!  A very well deserved win.

The man himself...Sam

Unfortunately Sam wasn’t able to be there on the night as he was on an island in the Firth of Forth.   At the Bird Observatory on the Isle of May participating on a week’s Young Birders Course with the SOC. Am I envious?  Well just a tad.  (I’m actually as green as a Goblins Gumboots).

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Killy Fresh from the Undergrowth

8th July.  I can’t claim that my garden this year has been alive with butterflies, but there is time yet.  The Speckled Wood Butterfly remains the most common visitor and oddly enough the Holly Blue has been the second most seen butterfly here, but these soon disappeared after a few days.  (A Speckled Wood Butterfly was seen today by the lake).  Otherwise it has been a single early Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and brief Peacock and Red Admiral fly through and a few whites.

After another frustrating hour or so in the sun earlier in the week I decided to return to the patch insect site before the rain began today.  I thought I might stand a better chance of finding some listless butterflies under cloudy conditions.  There were certainly plenty of Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns on the sunny day and I found a few again today.

Large Skipper
I’ve included a few images from both days.  It wasn’t until today that I had any luck with Ringlet and Small Skipper.  In fact I believe this is the first Small Skipper I can definitely claim to have seen so far this year.  Large Skippers have been numerous.  I have yet to check out the identity of some of the insect life.

Small Skipper
I thought I may have my session cut short by a heavy downpour.  It was in fact cut short, but not in the way I expected.  I left after my card began to play up and I lost what I think may have been the best of my images of an unknown, but very obliging and colourful insect.  I suspect I sound a little like the angler who claims the largest fish got away!  I thought initially I’d lost everything from the card but that wasn’t the case.  First time I have had that problem so can’t complain.

Five Spot Burnet

Straw Dot Moth
I’d passed by the lake which is very quite indeed although the four cygnets which are a good size now were resting near the pathway.  Less success for the Great Crested Grebes this year I’m afraid as this seems to have been the first time for some years that young have failed to be produced.  I’ll probably have more to say on that at a later date.

 The butterflies helped to brighten up what has generally been a dull week, as did the colourful insects.

 I’m looking forward to attending the North East Photography Competition Awards tomorrow at the Hancock.   It is always a good evening.  6.00pm at the Hancock 9th June.  I didn’t enter (must do so next year), but know some who have. :-)