Category Archives: Out Of Place Wildlife

Eagle Owl spotted in Wallsend

Eagle Owl spotted in Wallsend garden

A rare Eagle Owl was spotted perching on a roof in Wallsend, North East England.

Garry Smith saw the bird in his garden on Monday lunchtime.

The eagle owl is one of the largest species of the bird and can have a wingspan of up to 74 inches.

It is regarded as one of the most ferocious birds , known to be intolerant of sharing their territory with other birds of prey and owls.

They are known to hunt rabbits and pheasants, but little is known about what else they eat in Britain.

It is not considered a British species as it is a danger to some of the country’s own birds of prey, such as Hen Harriers. Despite that, it remains a protected wild bird.

Garry warned his neighbour not to let his cats out while the bird was in the garden, but said it flew away after someone nearby began made a loud noise.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  23 Sept 2014

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Raccoon spotted in North East England garden

On the fence: The raccoon photographed by Ralph Lowes.

On the fence: The raccoon photographed by Ralph Lowes.

 They are more usually spotted in North America, so you can imagine the surprise of one North-East householder when he came across this unusual sight in his back garden.

Involved in a dispute with a neighbourhood cat, this Raccoon was discovered on a fence in Chopwell, Gateshead.

Witness Ralph Lowes said:

“I was alerted this evening by a neighbour and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, so went to have a look, and sure enough it looks like a raccoon,” .

“Although how on earth it came to be in our area I have no idea.

“It was in a stand-off with the neighbour’s cat, but eventually moved along fence, so I took some photos in case nobody believed me!”

It eventually dropped down into Mr Lowes’ garden, so he decided to contact the police for advice.

But they don’t deal with missing pets anymore, so I contacted the RSPCA, who advised Petsearch, but Petsearch don’t have a category for missing raccoons – unsurprisingly!” he said.

Mr Lowes is hoping a little publicity might lead to the raccoon being reunited with its rightful owners.

Because the raccoon appeared frightened, we’ve left out a pet carrier for shelter, and some cat food and water. Hopefully we can find its owner, or we’ll have to find some other solution,” he said.

“Still slightly bemused by the whole thing-not something you expect to find in your garden!”

Source –  Northern Echo, 10 Sept 2014

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Rare harvest mouse found in County Durham

An endearing but rare animal for the North East has been found in one of its most northerly locations ever.

A dead Harvest Mouse was found near Bowburn in County Durham and reported to Durham Wildlife Trust.

Trust director Jim Cokill said: “We were alerted to this animal by a member of the public. It is a significant new record.”

The trust checked with the Environmental Records Information Centre (ERIC), based at the Great North Museum in Newcastle which collects information and sightings of wildlife in the region.

They have only 45 confirmed sightings for the region stretching back to 1974, so it’s a pretty rare creature,” said Mr Cokill.

Most of the records are in the south, around the Tees Valley, where there was a reintroduction project.

“There are no sightings from the area where this animal was found.

“Although this particular animal was dead, the report does raise hopes that there is a population living in that location and Durham Wildlife Trust will be trying to confirm that.”

The harvest mouse is the UK‘s smallest mouse and only weighs 6g.

It is mainly found from central Yorkshire southwards. Isolated records from Scotland and Wales probably result from the release of captive animals.

Katherine Pinnock, ERIC co-ordinator for the North East, said: “ This is a very exciting record because of the location. It improves our knowledge about this species.”

The find will be discussed at ERIC’s wildlife recording conference on October 11 at the Great North Museum, which is free and open to the public.

People can log any wildlife sightings on www.ericnortheast.org.uk

Harvest mice are extremely active climbers and feed in the stalk zone of long grasses and reeds, particularly around dusk and dawn.

Breeding nests are the most obvious sign indicating the presence of harvest mice.

The harvest mouse is the only British mammal to build nests of woven grass well above ground. Harvest mice have many predators, including weasels, stoats, foxes, cats, owls, hawks, crows, even pheasants and their average lifespan is 18 months.

Harvest mice usually have two or three litters a year in the wild. The young are abandoned after about 16 days.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  26 Aug 2014

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Caribbean bird turns up on Farne Islands

 
The Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands

A Caribbean visitor has seen birders flock to islands off the Northumberland coast.

The Bridled Tern, which has arrived on the Farne Islands, is thought to be the same bird which paid a visit last July, when it stayed for two weeks and attracted around 800 bird watchers.

Farne Islands head warden David Steel said: “It caused birders from as far away as Kent and the South West to jump into cars, drive overnight and admire this beauty from the Caribbean. It was the first bridled tern which was accessible to bird watchers in the UK since 1991, and only the 24th recorded for Britain.”

But last week, the bird was spotted on Fair Isle off the Shetlands by ex-Farne Island wardens before it headed south to Northumberland.

I suspect it may now be with us for some time yet,” said Mr Steel, who believes that the bird may have followed other migrating terns to the UK.

“It is a long way from home, but it seems to be very happy on the Farne Islands, where it has lots of food, and feels safe with all the other terns.

“It is also displaying to the sandwich terns and we may have some hybrid chicks. I think we will have a lot of people coming to see this bird.”

Inner Farne is open daily from 1.30pm to 5pm.

The Bridled Tern on the Farne Islands

 

 Meanwhile, another rare visitor has turned up at Hauxley nature reserve near Amble, in Northumberland.The Black-Winged Pratincole was spotted by birdwatchers at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust site behind Druridge Bay.

The bird, the size of thrush, comes from Turkey and parts of Asia.

There have been only 39 previous records of the bird in Britain, and it is the first sighting of the species in the North East.

Alan Tilmouth, of the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club, said: “It may just have decided to go in a different direction and been caught in a weather system.

“It is a very unusual sighting for Northumberland.”

Source –  Newcastle Journal, 25 June 2014

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Foreign Snakes Invade London

A species of foreign snakes that are said to be capable of crushing small children to death are on the loose in North London.

Over the last few weeks, 30 Aesculupian snakes, which can grow up to two metres in length, have been spotted up trees, rooftops and climbing up the drains of houses around the Regent’s Canal area.

The snakes that are thought to originate from the former Yugoslavia have been known to attack small dogs and their numbers now seem to be growing in the capital.

Tales of snakes being spotted around the Regent’s Canal area began in the 90s, but it was not until the head keeper of reptiles at London Zoo spotted one that they were confirmed as the Aesculupian.

Since then there have been a number of sightings across and these have increased in frequency over the last couple of months.

This has led to some residents fear that they could start entering houses and causing distress.

Mum-of-three Sylvia Taylor, 33, told the Daily Star: “If they are capable of killing small animals then surely they could constrict small children?”

Aesculupians are known for loving milder temperatures than most other reptiles and usually find their homes along river beds or streams, making Regent’s Canal the perfect place for them to live.

There are many theories as to how the snakes first got to living on the banks of Regent’s. One popular tale is that they were released on the quiet by the Inner London Education Authority as part of a secret scientific experiment.

Secret scientific experiment or not, since being introduced to London they have succeeded in making the capital their home and their numbers continue to grow.

While the large snakes have been known to attack small dogs and occasionally babies, they are more adept at feasting on small rodents and birds – so London’s pigeons and rats watch out.

Source – New Zealand Herald   12 May 2014

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