Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22 2011

After a very late finish last night (or very early this morning!), a fairly early morning phone call asking me if I would like a shift today, was answered with a resounding no!

So, after being rudely awoken, I set off to make the most of the day. First stop, Big Waters, where two Bewick’s Swans have taken up residence. Too far for pictures, I was just happy that they had hung around so that I could see them; they have been too scarce in Northumberland lately.

Just up the road, at Prestwick Carr, after a bit of searching, the Great Grey Shrike is seen, way, way off in the distance. In fact so far off, a guy who looked through my scope said it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker!

I stopped at a different view point on the way out, and saw that I was much closer to where it was, but into the light. Trying to get the right side to take pictures, I lost sight of it. I was just about to give up when the bird flew in and hovered about twenty feet in front of me, in perfect light. Sadly, I had far too much lens on and couldn’t focus on the bird!  This time I did give up, as again I had lost the bird, flying off to the north. As I was driving away, the shrike flew over the car from the west carrying a prey item, which looked like a bird. I was sure I had seen the shrike cache the prey, but after it flew off, I was unable to find the larder. It did return and some canny shots were taken.

Great Grey Shrike 

I head to the other end of the Carr and spend an hour with the Short-eared Owls, at least seven today.

Short-eared OwlShort-eared OwlShort-eared Owl 

Also about, the ring-tail Hen Harrier, always too far for a worthwhile picture, six Common Buzzard, a Willow Tit and five Bullfinch

So while at this end, I got talking to some other birders who had been for the shrike, and they mention that they had seen eight Bean Geese! So its back to the other end and there they are just visible, they are in this picture…

Bean Goose

By now I was getting cold and I bid farewell to all who would listen and I headed off. Leaving it late, I had a quick walk up to the hide at Big Waters, and with the last of the light, got some pictures of the Bewick’s Swans…

Bewick's Swan

…and the Whooper Swans

Whooper Swan-8D3E1386

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18 2011

After hearing about an Eastern Black Redstart phoenicuroides on Holy Island on Wednesday and being at work from dawn till dusk on Thursday, an early finish today gave me the chance to get and see the bird.  And it really was, “widely appreciated”.

Eastern Black Redstart Eastern Black Redstart Eastern Black Redstart

Initially it was distant, but after all of the birders left, leaving just two photographers (me & Chris), the bird came to us. What a stunner!

Holy Island CIMG2056

As the light started to go, we stood at the causeway watching the flocks of Starling coming in to roost, a lot more than the five thousand that were at Chevington on Saturday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13 2011

All of these shots are hand held, at high ISO. The hide was a bit packed, so I was struggling to get anything from the bird, until it decided to walk past at point blank range
Greater Yellowlegs  Greater Yellowlegs Greater Yellowlegs
This is a poor picture, but it tells a good story!
Greater Yellowlegs
Also present was it’s new best mate, this Grey Phalarope, which followed it closely wherever it went
Greater Yellowlegs
Just out of shot in this picture, the Greater Yellowlegs was swimming across the small bay to the right of the wader hide
Grey Phalarope
On the way back down, we stopped at Cresswell to enjoy the last of the day, and Roger had just found this Bittern. It showed very nicely.
A group of Whooper Swan where on the pond, which had seven immature with them.
And as we walked back to the cars in the near dark, the Bittern could still be seen.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12 2011

Chevington Pools, Northumberland, Greater Yellowlegs;


Not much more I can say…