Friday, December 24, 2010

December 23 2010

It was still, dark and cold and I was on a mission!

I had left the house with one thing in mind, and after waiting for ages, thinking that I maybe should have stayed in the warmth of the house, they started. Two males and a female, all calling at the same time and looking up I even managed to see one of the males as he flew over and started calling not too far away; Tawny Owl.

It doesn't have to be light to go birding!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 19 2010

After a(nother) tip off from Nigel, (this one via Stewart), today I went looking for northern Bullfinch. I saw all of the other stuff there; Goldfinch, Siskin, Lesser and Common “Mealy” Redpoll, but sadly not the object of my search. No pictures either as the light was poor, no sound recordings as the site is next to an opencast and the machinery was just starting as I was there, all way too loud!
A Brown Hare ran past five feet away, followed by another and then by two out of control dogs, which flushed five Woodcock as they ran through the trees and while all of this was going on, the owner was blissfully unaware, too busy smoking his fags and listening to his ipod.
Leaving here I went to Cresswell, where yesterdays Bittern in front of the hide did not repeat itself. In fact the only highlight while there was watching the antics of an idiot dog owner trying to get his out of control dog back to him, although how driving down the road continually blasting the horn works as a dog caller goes way over my head.
Mid way through a ten day stretch to a long weekend, my birding will be limited for a week or two to come

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13 2010

An email from Roger, telling me of a problem with the recordings, had the desired affect, I've fixed it (with a lot of help from the folks at xeno-canto)

So now you can hear them. I'll go back through the other stuff and fix them as well

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12 2010

After a tip off from Andy, I went looking for some approachable drake Goosanders today. I found one, but the light was so poor that most of the shots I took got dumped…

…the only keeper; and it’s not that good.

So with the light being poor, I went to try my luck elsewhere, again on a tip off, this one from Nigel. I didn’t see (or hear) Marsh Tit at his spot, but not too far away, my luck was in.

If you listen to the end of the second recording, you can hear the footsteps of a woman crunching through the snow, as she walked her out of control dog!
A little further up the road, in a less populated place, a Wren gave a nice rendition of call and song.

On the way home I called in at Newbiggin and saw the Water Pipit. No pictures as it was raining fairly hard, and the pipit was having none of it, it wasn’t approachable for me.

I then went to Holywell for dusk, no sign of the Hen Harrier, which had been seen coming into roost through the week. The only bird of note was a Common Buzzard, which flew west over the village

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December 8 2010

After a  relatively late start today, I drove along the coast road between Lynemouth and Cresswell in the very bright sunshine, very bright but also very cold. The birds that I saw appear to have lost their fear as the search for food becomes more desperate. Large numbers of  Pink-footed Goose are next to the road in fields that they do not normally use and Woodcock are abundant; on the stretch of road between Lynemouth and Cresswell there were at least fifty and some of them are feeding on the grass verges, giving fantastic views, a photo tick for me…
Woodcock-8D3E1684   Woodcock-8D3E1746Woodcock-8D3E1725WoodcockWoodcock
…while here photographing these, a big disturbance in the birds is created by a ringtail Hen Harrier, which flew by down the side of the road. Hen Harrier is a bird that I always jump out of the car for and today was no exception, unfortunately I flushed the Woodcock doing this, but I saw the harrier flush a Merlin which had been on the ground and some Snow Bunting which I heard but didn’t see. As I get back into the car a Woodcock flies up the road and lands less than five feet from me in the middle of the road.

Moving on to Cresswell Pond itself, which is nearly completely frozen many more Woodcock are seen when a Peregrine passes through causing panic as it goes.

Heading on to Bells Dunes the Twite are right next to the road along with Skylark…
Twite-8D3E1936 Twite Skylark
…there is also a Brambling in with the flock, but too far for pictures. On the other side of the road, more Pink-footed Geese and with them, seven Whooper Swan.

Back at Cresswell, the Barn Owl is out and hunting, so while waiting and hoping for some action, a Reed Bunting performs…
Reed Bunting-8D3E2127  
… I gain a little height to see if I can see where the owl has gone and I see Roger off in the distance walking my way, so I head in his direction for a bit of a chat. Walking along the road, a bird in flight has a shape that can’t be ignored; Bittern, up from under Roger’s feet as he walks through the dunes, we watch it drop into a small reed bed, but in true Bittern Style it’s not seen again. Roger gets some canny flight shots, I have to be content with seeing it!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

family videos

That's my boy!!!

as only a proud father could.

December 7 2010

I’ve just been for a weekend away down south (that’s “darn sarf” if your from that way or “doon sooth” if your not) and it was a pleasure to get away from the snow. Where I was staying they had, NO SNOW! Yes, that’s correct, NONE! So it was very easy to get to the pub, and that’s what we did and with an occasional drink in the house…
…one glass at a time!

As you might guess, not much (not any) birding was done, but I did see, two Little Egret roosting in a field, thirty Waxwing’s (although there could have been less, as this was on the walk back from the pub), and a couple of Green Woodpeckers.

On the way back home I diverted to the Ouse Washes, just for a look as I had never been before. No huge numbers of swans but I did see in a morning more Bewick’s Swans than I had ever previously seen in total!
Welney was disappointing; I paid to get in and all that was on view were Whooper Swans and I can see them for free back home, the best spot was at Welches Dam TL471860 or N52 26'42"  E0 9'14" with Google maps.

Most of the reserve was frozen over and the only open patch was in front of a hide with regular fly bys from groups of both Bewick’s and Whooper Swan. A Cetti’s Warbler was seen but it didn’t sing. Sadly no pictures, as all of the birds were into the light and it was too strong for worth while pictures.