Hannah, Woody and me

Hi All

Got to thinking about a blogging about the walk I do everyday or almost everyday and which is nearly always accompanied by my dog Hannah a (Hungarian Vizsla gundog) and nearly always involves a 3 mile walk along the Leas to Marsden Bay and back. If the tide and the weather is OK we some times walk through Marsden Bay taking the Velvet Beds steps down into the Bay and walking back up to the Leas via Camel Island. If I am feeling up to it I sometimes do it in reverse and run (yes run) up the steps and have a minor heart attack when I reach the top.

Hannah who is now 12yrs old has gotten to the stage where she is slowing down and feeling the years which I think makes her in dog years as 84, so she's not too bad for an old 'un.

Knowing that one day Hannah is no longer going to be able to come along on this fantastic walk which for the people who have never done the Leas walk regularly can I just say you don't know what you are missing.

Everday is different, changeing with the seasons and the weather and the cloud and sea formations is spectacular. Then there are the other dog walkers to chat to, migratory birds popping up every now and again and the odd grey seal making a welcome appearance from time to time along the shoreline. What more can a man and his dog ask for.

It was at this point that realising the dogs age and not wanting to walk alone on my favourite walk that I hatched a cunning plan and bought the wife a new dog for Christmas which she loved. I didn't tell her that I was dumping her old dog (no not literally) justing retiring her from long walks but I needed a replacement as a walk is not a proper walk without a dog by your side for company. Hannah had served me well over 12 yrs and been on 12 - 15 mile walks over the Cheviots, Lakes, Teeside and Weardale but sadly I think I have walked the poor dogs legs down to stumps.

Last weekend the wife and I went down to Norfolk to pick up (her) Xmas present from a lady who breeds Hungarian Vizslas and for anyone who doesn't know what a Vizsla looks like think of a Pointer but with just one colour russet brown or burnt toast medium build. The breed were introduced into Britain during the seconf world war when the Nazi's were invading Hungary, bombing and destroying everything and when this happens animals take a back seat and are usually decimated with little food to go around the people can't afford to feed themselves let alone dogs. It was at this time breeders over here decided to take in so many of the Vizslas in order to preserve the breed and the wealthy landowners after the war picked up on the breed know as HPR's or hunter pointer retriever as they are capable of doing all three and landowners thought they would do away with half of their dogs, like labradors, retreivers, spaniels etc that they used for hunting and use a single breed the vizsla instead.

Anyway we brought Woody home last Saturday and he is now 8 weeks old. We (I) called him Woody mainly because the three women in the house the wife and two daughters wanted to call him Jefferey, or some other silly name to which point I put my foot down (quick look over the shoulder) the wifes not watching me type this ...phew. Can you imagine me calling for Jeffrey on the Leas.. no neither could I.

At the moment Woody is housebound until he has all of his jabs to prevent picking up germs and disease and I will have to be patient for him to grow and be physically strong to be able to walk / run three or four mile at a time otherwise they can damage their bones and joints.

I hope to be able to continue giving you updates of our walking adventure together.

picture of Woody


2 comments Author: johnsulli Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:00 pm


Hello boys and girls. I am now officially the Animal and Amphibian Recording Officer for the Group. It sounds a bit flash doesnt it!!! So, what I'm after are ALL of your sightings of ANY animals or amphibians when you're out and about. Whether they are Bats, Mice, Foxes, Otters, even Rabbits, I want to know everything. Tell me as much info as you can. What species you saw, how many, where it was etc etc etc. Even if you dont think its important or relevant tell me about it anyway. Not only will I keep a record of everything for our Group I'll also be passing the info onto the relevant authorities. So, get out there and start looking!


3 comments Author: jason Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:32 am



Write comment now Author: anders Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:12 pm


Hi All

Just a short blog to keep everyone up to date with the Forum and website progress as both are ongoing projects that need to be sorted, one the "Forum" is for us the members to discuss matters and birding etc. and the other the "Website" for the CCG if ever we need funding /charitable status issues etc so I think both are important for the Group to have and kept updated so we look a professional body.

I am not the best at these things so any help on web content is always welcome and for anyone who doesn't know the web address or has seen it yet there is a link button on the "Forum".

Forum Updates

A lot of the updates to the forum have been very minor as I get to grips with all the technical stuff involved with codes and the like and permissions as to what members can do and what guests can and can't do.

I have added a couple of new smilies thumbs up being one that a lot of the group used in the previous forum and thought would like it back on this one. Anyone have a favourite thats not here let me know and I will see if I can get hold of it.

I have added a couple of direct links to the Forum page one being the Guided Walks and the other being CCG Website so members and guests can access direct from the forum.
The "Guided Walks " link is purely at a trial stage and thought I would see if an online booking system would work ready for April when the public turn up in the hundreds for a tour of the coast. If anyone has any thoughts on this can they let me know publicly or PM as I would appreciate input from the group, do you think it will/won't work.

There is also a Map button on the page and this takes members/guests to google maps and as you will see I have added a few of the regular spots frequented by birders and if you have a location you think might benefit the sight let me know and I will add it also.

Site Stats
Now only three weeks old the site is regularly getting 70 visitors a day reading some 600-700 pages of the forum a day which is tremendous news so thanks everyone for the support.

Members are still joining and we are now up to 24 with our latest member Edward joining today. Along with the members visiting we are also getting a lot of guests viewing the site which is an added bonus so I think word is getting out about the Forum so lets hope it continues.

Enjoy the posts/posting


Write comment now Author: johnsulli Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:45 pm

My adventures in Golspie, Sutherland, the Highlands of Scotland

I've been away visiting relatives in the highlands of Scotland. The trip gave me some nice "year ticks" I don't actualy count ticks properly at this stage but there are a few birds that I have got used to seeing everytime I'm up there.

Going in spring or winter means a good number of grey lags and pinkies was a given, and i was pleased to see them again, always nice to see them. Also glad to see and hear the whooper swans that roam in the flooded fields around there. Also now that I know where to look out for them I have started seeing long tailed ducks every winter, in their beautiful winter plumage, always as far as the telescope can see, right out at sea. Goldeneye and shelduck are regular in the area along with red breasted merganser and eider, and of course the Scottish crow, buzzards and kites. harbour seals in the bay on the sandbanks of loch fleet.

the real treats that I saw this year were otters right at the end of golspie pier, a greenshank in amongst a group of hopping redshank, and a garden visit of a Raven and a leucistic starling. saw roe and red deer whilst up as well as the wilds goats.

birds I would have liked to have seen whilst I was in the area but didn't see include the white fronted geese that winter at Thurso, twite, pintail, scaup, common/velvet scoter, king eider possibly, crossbills, Scottish or otherwise and the crested tits that are reputedly in Balblair woods but I have never seen. obviously too early for the osprey this year

All in all a great trip out, with still a lot more to look forward to.

not sure how to add pics yet but will add when I can work it out

2 comments Author: Pete Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:11 am


Considering we've only been together as a group, for less than a year, I'm sure everyone would agree we've come on ‘leaps and bounds’ in that short space of time. As well as the activities listed below, we've held monthly meetings, unofficial gatherings etc, where we've made huge efforts to push the group forward.... We've also completed an enormous amount of 'invisible work’ behind the scenes (it's a long story), but hopefully it will have all been well worth the time and effort, if our aims for improvements to wildlife habitats in Whitburn Coastal Park are achieved...... Anyway, here we go......



1, (Saturday August 28th 2010) group members dug up six surplus Sea Buckthorn shrubs in Whitburn Coastal Park and replanted them in Trow Quarry, this was considered to be purely ‘test planting’ in the hope that a transplanting project on a much larger scale could be carried out during the autumn and winter months.

2, (Saturday 18th September 2010) group members took part in a major litter pick/clean up of Marsden Bay. This was to assist the Marine Conservation Society with their annual ‘National beach cleaning day’.

3, (Saturday 25th September 2010) group members spent the afternoon cutting ‘woodland rides’ through the overgrown trees on the large mound at Whitburn Coastal Park. This was in order to allow more light to reach the woodland floor and regenerate new growth at lower levels, which greatly improves the habitat for all wildlife in there.

4, (Sunday October 10th 2010) group members assisted South Tyneside Council’s Countryside Team in a major clean up of Primrose LNR in Jarrow, this involved removing huge quantities of day to day litter, scrap metal, broken glass etc, as well as dismantling and destroying temporary wooden shelters which were built by local youths and used as dens for drinking/drug taking.

5, (Sunday 17th October 2010) the group supplied a new steel sluice gate for use during the flooding & draining of Boldon Flats LNR. The gate was also fitted ‘on site’ by group members.

6, (Saturday 23 October 2010) group members collected and disposed of vast amounts of broken glass from Boldon Flats LNR, the glass had been accidentally, but unavoidably brought to the surface during recent council ground works to improve the site.

7, (Saturday 30th October 2010) group members continued cutting ‘woodland rides’ through the large mound at Whitburn coastal park.

8, (Saturday 6th November 2010) group members planted 400 shrubs on an area of South Shields leas. The shrubs will eventually provide food, cover and nesting places for the local birds and wildlife.

9, (Saturday 20th November 2010) group members made emergency repairs to the new sluice gate at Boldon flats after water levels were noticed to be receding. Vandalism/sabotage is the suspected cause of the water loss, or could it just be poor design? - Reat assured, Time will tell, and the work will continue!

Write comment now Author: Dougie Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:45 pm

Forum & Website Update

Hi All

We are at the end of the first week of the new CCG Forum and things have gone pretty well so far with no major gliches (fingers crossed).

I have tried to make the changes to the Forum slowly so everyone can get used to the various additions and if anyone has problems please get in touch and I will try my best to help out.
As you are aware the Forum is hosted free of charge so we are limited as to what we can do and some of the bugs are the Adverts at the side of the screen and also on the enlarged images that you upload to the Forum.

All in all though I think this is a small price to pay for such a usefull tool for the group to use. At the end of the week the viewing figures have been steadily rising day by day which is encouraging.

On the menu bar at the top of the page I have added a link to our CCG website homepage so you can switch easily between the two sites and have done a similar thing on the CCG website to bring viewers to the Forum.

I have been trying to fill in some of the pages on our website and would appreciate any comments on the articles for content/grammer/spelling mistakes etc. Work is still ongoing on the website as is with this Forum so please bear with me and do not adjust your set as I have had a bit of time on my hands the last couple of days so I seem to be changing/adding bits on an hourly basis.



Write comment now Author: johnsulli Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:21 pm

Port of Tyne......A lost site?

I got my wish yesterday to venture into this once stamping ground of mine after many years once again. This was due to being asked to create bunks on the old Tyne dredger Hedwin which has been sold and is off to Africa shortly.
I was like a kid in a sweet shop (wide eyed) once we passed the heaps of scrap metal and got through the next secrurity post.
It was a bit like a trip down memory lane as the main roads in here have'nt changed much to what I remembered them some 20 odd years ago but there's a lot more built up areas in here now of coarse with fab sheds and various other buildings. But the east end dock area is still intact except for some filling in and plenty of gulls still using it.
Where the ship is berthed it over looks the Kittiwake ledges on old Redheads slipway with canny views of the Tyne also, at least 3 Grey wags are around the area, also a few Mutes on the river along with the normal birds.

NOW its case of trying to get into the west side of the site towards Jarra which has been one of my goals for a while as I still believe theres a few small areas in here not developed which might hold roosting birds etc.
No doubt I will be gutted once ive viewed the site and discovered theres nowt left except my memories of years ago. But its worth a try.

2 comments Author: Steve Egglestone Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:21 am

Welcome to the CCG

Hi everyone

Welcome to the CCG Forum.

I know its in its early days as is the CCG but everything seems to be progressing nicely and heading in the right direction.

The Blog is a new addition to the Forum so you as members can view or comment on the Blog or create your own if you wish which will give everyone a bit more freedom to write long scripts instead of just short posts.
This is extremely usful I guess when you go away on holidays and have lots to talk about when you get back and I know a few of the members have there own Blogs but there is no reason why they can't add a Blog on here and "paste" a copy for everyone to read.

The last meeting of the Forum on the 13th Jan 2011 was quite productive with the attendance of June Valente helping out on the Constitution (helping) is an understatement as I think she gave us a sterling talk on what we need to do to have a steady foundation for the group.

The "Bird Race took place on the 9th January 2011 and was enjoyed by all who took part in the event. Not sure which team won it though.

A big thanks should go to Jason who donated £100 to the CCG funds which he says he collected from sponsorship ffrom the event. Now I am not sure if Jason was on the winning team or not.............. Must check this out.

The date of the next meeting will be on the 17th February 2011 followed by an evening out at the Steamboat but I would have thought a night out in January should be on the cards as well.



Write comment now Author: johnsulli Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:27 pm
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