Friday, 31 May 2013

Newcastle City Wildlife

Preferring to spend most of my photography time out in the rural or countryside, it’s easy to forget that there’s wildlife all around us.  Apart from the obvious birds that live around the houses here, within a short walking distance there are some very accessible wildlife which can be seen and photographed up close having become accustomed to the presence, noise and the hustle and bustle of human city life.

There are two notable locations in Newcastle – the nesting colony of Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge and Leazes Park.

The Tyne Bridge

At this time of the year a large colony of Kittiwakes nest on Tyne Bridge and walking across you can be within a few feet of their nests without realising it, with the noise of the traffic it’s easy not to hear the loud shrills of the birds nesting by or flying over head.  Apart from the two main bridge pillar supports they were also nesting on the various ledges and nearby buildings, particularly on the Newcastle side.  Currently, they seemed to be on their eggs while the partner brought in food for them or more nesting material.

A 400mm lens was enough to get some close up shots of them both on the bridge and flying back and forth.  I’d hoped to get an image of a flying bird with a background of the bridges but the difficulty of tracking and keeping them in focus them with a constantly changing, cluttered background and with few opportunities of their obliging me by being in just the right spot at just the right distance, made this attempt unsuccessful though I was able to get some other decent images.

Kittiwake Tyne Bridge

Snoozing in the shade

Kittiwake Tyne Bridge
Kittiwake
Kittiwake
Kittiwake

Bringing in nesting material

Kittiwake Tyne Bridge

Regurgitating a ready meal for his mate – very appetizing!

Kittiwake Tyne Bridge

Watching the passer-by's

Kittiwake Tyne Bridge
DSCN0545

View from the Tyne Bridge

 

Leazes Park

A short walk from the Tyne Bridge is Leazes Park, a city park though not particularly large has plenty of birds (surprisingly no Grey Squirrels yet) that can be approached up close.  The council has done a bit of work on the place since my last visit, most noticeably the creation of some small islands with wire mesh around which have attracted some nests, one of which had a Moorhen with some fledglings.  A Heron was also on one of these man made islands – the first time I’ve seen a Heron, normally a shy bird, in the park.

As you would expect in a park, people were feeding the birds, mostly bread which isn’t particularly healthy for them.  Worse, the Moorhen was taking chunks of this white bread back to feed its young.  What with last week a Robin feeding its young with my pasty left overs!

Of course all this freely available supply of food meant no shortage of photographic opportunities.  First to take advantage were the Canada Geese and of course Pidgins and Mallards but also swooping in and out as was the Moorhen and more timid Tufted Ducks.  A very territorial Crow also came down for the unhealthy snack on offer.  Magpies were also present, though, like their country counterparts, were still a bit wary of people.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Moorhen

Moorhen with ‘food’ for young

Canada Goose
Tufted Duck

Female Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

A scary looking male Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

Not so scary looking male Tufted Duck

Common Crow
Common Crow
Moorhen

A Moorhen on one of the man made islands

Herring Gull
Magpie

A rather cautious Magpie

2 comments:

  1. absolutely perfect flight photos ... very nice to look at
    regards Frank

    ReplyDelete