Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25 2011

After a morning of inactivity, a phone call from Alan spurred me on. There was a showy Firecrest at St Mary’s!


It would vanish for long periods, then reappear, calling, then go silent and then vanish again.

The only other migrants seen; singles of  Woodcock and Brambling and a couple of Blackcap.

There must be plenty of pictures of this bird; Tom, Tim, John, Brian, Mike and Vee all took shots. A good old chunter was had.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


some things you just have to share...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13 2010

Not quite the scoter-fest that we had in mind, but we did get three of the four. First up, Common Scoter, easy as there were lots of them. Next up Surf Scoter, adult drake, a bit harder as there was only one and from our view point on the beach, the waves it was behind were about eight feet high. And lastly, Velvet Scoter, two. This was easy as they were in flight over the big waves. I had a nano-second view of a scoter with large yellow bill, before a long sequence of the big waves got in the way and when a clearer view arrived there was no sign of the bird!

There were loads of geese up at Goswick, Pink-feet and Barnacle, an Arctic Skua chasing gulls over the beach, a Black-throated Diver in with the scoter and a single Twite in flight.

So we left here and went onto Holy Island. There was a steady passage of thrushes over the village; Mostly Redwing, with smaller numbers of Fieldfare and Blackbird in with them. Two Brambling were seen and another two heard. The vicars garden was very quiet, only two Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest in there.

Over the village were five Swallow, it’s getting late for them, and an adult was still feeding at least one of them.

We left the island before the tide got too high and went around the Fenham le Moor, but we had left it too late as the tide was too high here, all of the foreshore was covered. A Wheatear was seen and a flock of 60-ish Tree Sparrow.

On the way down to Budle Bay, we had an excellent view of a Merlin, sitting on top of a hedge,  just off the road.

At Budle Bay the tide was all the way up. A Little Egret was flushed by a birder walking north along the bay, as were all the geese and duck roosting up in the corner!

So, for our last stop, we had a first look of the winter at Stag Rocks. For sea duck it was very poor; none. But the Purple Sandpipers are back, at least 40 today. And a couple of Snow Bunting flew in off, heading inland. Canny day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10 2011

I stayed cool with the Lesser Scaup that was at Tynemouth Boating lake, not getting there till late afternoon.
Lesser Scaup Lesser Scaup
I had been out birding all day with Roger, just doing the Druridge bay sites from south to north.
At Cresswell early on it was raining and quiet. The Peregrine was on it’s favoured perch and a single Fieldfare was seen flying past the hide, but very little else was there.
Chevington next, and the goose numbers were down, but the were still two hundred plus Barnacle Geese there (and the Snow Geese). A different Marsh Harrier from the two seen on Friday was on show.
The water is at a nice level on the north pool and a flock of Knot are roosting there, about eighty birds today. A small wader seen in flight took some tracking down but eventually a Little Stint was seen briefly, before it took off and headed north over the horizon and out of sight.
We moved on and went to Hauxley reserve. A small roost of waders, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Curlew and Redshank was all that the star reserve had on offer.
I was nearly home when I got a text from Alan, saying that the Lesser Scaup had been re-found at Tynemouth. I called in at home, had a cuppa and then some tea, before I set off. I didn’t need it as a county bird so I was cool. As it was I miss judged the light, arriving with not enough daylight left to do justice to the bird.
I’ll just have to try again!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

October 8 2011

Today was a continuation of yesterday when it came to geese. Yesterday Pink-footed and Barnacle were dropping in to Chevington in large numbers and today they were still there! As were eight Whooper Swan, although today’s birds were different to yesterday’s.

Today we had eight species of geese; Pink-footed, Greylag, Barnacle, Brent, Canada, Snow, Ross’s and Bar-headed (the last three being very plastic).

Chevington had some of the above plus a dozen Ruff, 100 ish Knot a single Black-tailed Godwit and two Otter. We missed today’s Marsh Harrier, which apparently was different to the two seen yesterday, which was one of this years youngsters and a wing-tagged bird (yellow left, blue right wing). A Peregrine was seen as was another at Budle Bay and another on a field at Ross.

On the way to Budle we stopped at Boulmer and had plenty of waders; Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover the best.

And then Beadnell, where the  harbour was lifting with Rock Pipits.

Monks House had the Ross’s with Barnacle and eight Black-tailed Godwit.

At Budle Bay the tide was all the way in, so no waders, other than a Redshank that was trying hard to stay just out of reach of a Stoat.

Two Little Egret were on show when we arrived, but they were soon flushed by some walkers, and there was no sign of the Crane.

So while up here I got a text about a Turtle Dove at Big Waters. This caused something of a twitch, as our next stop was at Big Waters. The dove wasn’t immediately on view but it did soon show itself.  I’ve had more Great White Egret in Northumberland than Turtle Dove!

We finished the day at Prestwick Carr, and the first bird I looked at as we got out of the car was the ringtail Hen Harrier that showed well but briefly to the north of the road. No owls at all, probably something to do with the rain…

Monday, October 03, 2011

October 3 2011

A trip to Holy Island was the order of the day. I arrived an hour before the tide was due to go out, so I had a walk to the North of the causeway; two Whimbrel, six Little Egret and two thousand-ish Pink-footed Goose the highlights of that walk.

Once onto the island, I concentrated on the Snook area. Two Yellow-browed Warbler gave me plenty of frustration! The first one took ages to see and was always too far away, this is it…

Yellow-browed Warbler-8D3E0024

…the second one was much closer, but kept vanishing in its chosen bush, and by the time I left it was blowing a gale and the branches of the bush were being blown all over the place making photography almost impossible.

Other things seen; 250 plus Barnacle Geese, 500 plus Brent Geese, two Merlin (or a single seen twice!), two Brambling and a Wheatear.

So I left here and took the coast route back, stopping at Budle Bay, where the Common Crane was showing well, much further away than distantly!

Common Crane-8D3E0052

And then a brief stop at Monks House to pay homage to the Ross’s Geese, this is them.

Ross's Goose-8D3E0054

Sunday, October 02, 2011

October 2 2011

This evening I joined the crowd at Prestwick Carr for the Owl-fest.

At least eleven asio owls were on show, probably all were Short-eared, the few that showed well definitely were.  And a Little Owl heard calling, a canny evening out!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Communication Breakdown

“That was exciting!!!
From the 1st text, it took me less than ten minutes to be at a view point with good all round visibility.
Two hours later the bird was seen distantly in flight, after a phone call from Ian.
Sent from my HTC”
The bird so casually mentioned in the above text was Sandhill Crane
The above was sent from my phone on Thursday, and it went, my email account tells of  it’s sending, but it did not arrive! Since then I have been fighting a battle with internet connection, and it has been winning.
I’m now on two weeks holiday, so I have plenty of time to find out why I am struggling with the internet…