Thursday, 15 August 2013


This is the second part of my holiday up at Crimdon.
Went for a six mile walk with the wife's cousin Mr. George Birks he knows absolutely everything about the history of the area and is also a good fisherman and loves his wildlife. He showed me a small Fulmar colony and we saw some good birds whilst out walking, a lot was to far off for decent pictures which was a shame but still I had a great time seeing Gannet, Guillemot, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Common Scoter, Cormorant, Rock Dove, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel we also spotted a Great Crested Grebe on the sea.

the coastline

sandwich tern

herring gull




a distant gannet taking a dive


this little black blob is a common scoter

black headed gull
George also showed me this colony of sand martins they were still going in and out of the nest holes.

sand martin colony
The six mile trek nearly killed me but it was a cracking experience so cheers George.

Couple of days later after my legs had recovered I went along the beach for a stroll and came across these little beauties

ringed plover

ringed plover

charadrius hiaticula
There were also Dunlin and Sanderling along the tide line.

ringed plover, sanderling and dunlin


here's the 3 different species again in flight

Also while walking along the beach this seal was swimming just a couple of yards from the waters edge, I think by the size of the snout it's a grey seal but I could be wrong.

grey seal???
These Oystercatchers drifted by.

This is the many ships you see on the horizon a lot of them are bringing coal in from Russia for the local steel industry. Ironic really that the Tories shut all the pits and now they have to bring coal in from Russia. There were also lots of fishing boats the north sea is one of the UK's richest fishing waters. (information courtesy of George Birks "cheers man").

one of the big ships from Russia carrying coal
At the end of the week I walked up through Crimdon Dene itself a lovely little nature reserve that was buzzing with life. Lots of wild flowers, butterflies and birds. There were Whitethroats everywhere as well as linnets, goldfinches, thrushes, wrens, tit's, woodpigeons, swallows and wagtails. The leaves were so thick on the trees and the scrubby plants I bet I missed quite a few.

inside the dene


I leave you with what I think was the star bird of the week the little tern.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Went on holiday to Crimdon Dene Holiday Park last week it's up in the north east of England between Hartlepool and the old colliery villages of Blackhall, Hordon, Peterlee and Easington.

our caravan site where Tina, Mike, Maria, Luke, Aneurin and myself spent a week in geordie land.

The pits have gone now and the whole area has been landscaped, the beaches although not perfect are starting to clean themselves up. You can still find sea coal on the beaches and the rocks and pebbles on them are the old colliery waste that was dumped out to sea and has washed back in on the tide.

the beaches of the colliery villages are now starting to clean themselves up

this mine shaft is a monument to easington colliery
This is the site where Easington colliery once stood you can see how it's been landscaped and is now a beautiful area full of wonderful walks and wildlife.

easington colliery site
Tina's Mam was born and bred up at Hordon and moved to South Wales as a young woman of 24, so this trip was a chance for her to catch up with her family and have a look around her old stomping ground "wye aye man". 

The Pit villages have had big movies such as "Get Carter" and "Billy Elliot" filmed in them and off  Hartlepool headland the first civilian was killed in the second world war from German ships bombing the coast. Another interesting fact is that Matt Baker once of Blue Peter and now presenter of the One Show and Countryfile was born in Easington. He did a film for Countryfile about a local beauty spot called Castle Eden Dene which goes from Blackhall to Castle Eden.

Hartlepool headland, there was a fairground on it the week we were there.
Now I was expecting a nice week by the seaside doing the family thing but I took my camera and binoculars just in case the odd nice bird showed up to watch or photograph, so I couldn't believe my luck when I found out there was a Little Tern colony on the beach, the bad news was that a couple of months before some criminals had been there and stole most of the eggs but there were still about six individual birds still around. Little Terns will nest on quite popular beaches and although the nesting area was fenced off the thieves still got at them. There's a warden on site but he's only part time and they rely on volunteers to keep them safe so you can see how they got in and the Tern's plight lets hope they return next year after wintering in Africa and have a successful breeding season.

this is the area where the Little Terns breed you can see the area that has been fenced off for them

one of the many signs trying to explain to people about the Terns

and another

These are some of the images I managed of the birds themselves.

Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern
Although there were no nests there they would still swoop down to attack you, I felt the wind around my head as they got pretty close.

Sterna albifrons
I think this is enough for now I'll blog about the rest of the holiday shortly

Sunday, 4 August 2013


Some more pictures of the juvenile kind the biggest surprise was this wheatear hardly got a decent photo of them all summer then this youngster shows up.

juvenile wheatear

Here's some more young uns for you

pied wagtail

blue tit

great tit



great spotted woodpecker

Here's some adult birds that have come close enough for a decent shot.

pied wagtail

meadow pipit




great tit

blue tit

house martin
after many hours of trying this is the only decent image of  a flying  martin or a swallow I could manage.

female chaffinch

male chaffinch



A couple of squirrels:-

When looking up you might see one of these:-

a buzzard drifting in the wind

Or one of these:-

is it superman? is it a bird? no it's one of the many planes that fly overhead
Or even one of these:-

think this is a police helicopter (hope I've taxed the car)

this helicopter flew over quite low one summer's day
We do have some flying machines overhead besides the birds, I hope to bring you a few more in the future.