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Monday, 29 October 2007

23rd - 29th Here and There

A run through to Cresswell and Druridge on the 23rd an 27th for the Smew and another go at trying to photograph the Otter, while at Cresswell we where informed of the impending replacement of the Hide for a new one a boat was placed beside the hide not really sure of what it was for the hide was full on both occasions its going to be a miss while out of action still a couple of Ruddy Darters in the sunny sheltered front of the hide a single Whooper Juvenile , Long Tailed Duck, 4 Scaup, Druridge the Otter showed well both times and the Kingfisher also although some way off not a lot else to report I suppose you take for granted the thousands of Geese ,Golden Plover, Wigeon, etc: when you see them most days there where three Ruff in the nearby field , I also went around the local tracks of Blyth to Holywell, St Mary's Island, Three parties of Bullfinch , and roving flocks of Tits & Goldcrests loads of Red Legged Partridges around tried to hide as one approached along a field edge with camera poised but it took flight before I could get it ,cycled around the corner and about 8 ran along the road in front of me about 30 seen in all with only 4 Greys, how long will it be before you have to travel to get a year tick, one Little Owl , three Great Spotted Woodpeckers , in a field near the Dene several hundred Black Headed Gulls where following the plough the next day replaced by a flock of Linnets and 10 Pied Wagtails picking over what was left, nothing out of the ordinary at St Mary's. although I did see a report of the Barred Warbler again , four or five hundred Golden Plover in with a couple of hundred Lapwings off the links road but the highlight was a Peregrine over the old caravan park now posh estate in the making at Blyth. The numbers of large Gulls building up in the harbour.

Monday, 22 October 2007

20/21- 10-07 Northumberland

Saturday we had to go to Kirknewton just past Wooler in the north of Northumberland and check out the walk to West Hills & St Gregory's which I have wrote about before I decided not to take my camera as it was very dull and overcast looks like we had come to the wrong area as further south according to the radio it was bright and sunny , coming around the base of West Hills and starting the climb up, a huge raptor lifted from near the top a few heavy flaps and it was gone from sight, I thought it would have risen from over the top and reveal itself it ,but it was not seen again when we eventually got to the top and looked over the College valley it was nowhere to be seen there was a slight breeze coming over the top which the bird had lifted into but probably not enough to soar on we sat for sometime scanning to try and find it ,hoping the passing Crows would help us to find it or it could have settled on a hillside or tree.
It was very large, with broad long wings and long tail, it looked all dark in the dull light but seen all to briefly, I can only think Golden Eagle if I had refound it I would have put the word out but as there was no phone signal and little chance of it soaring around plus the unconfirmed I.D. I left it at that.
I spent most of the day checking the sky especially as it later became warmer and brighter, oddly no Buzzards around today plenty of Fieldfares & Redwings over.
Sunday I don't know if anyone is familiar with this location it was new to me. we where really just out for a walk but had Kingfisher .4 Heron, Cormorant ,2 Mute, Mallard, Moorhen ,Grey & Pied Wagtail, Tree , Hedge & House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Goldcrest , Robins a plenty, Fieldfare & Redwings, Mistle Thrush etc;
two Roe Deer and I tried to string* a Border Terrier into an OTTER but you had to be there, it was creeping through the long grass towards the pool ,with a long pointed tail looking very convincincing perhaps I got a little carried away ,
back at the car for a very late lunch I had just sat down with tea in one hand and a sarnie in the other when I heard the mew of Buzzard looked up to see three, then four , then five and what looked like a sixth way off in the distance , so I had to try and get the lot in one photo but they just teased me eventually dispersing , also four Pinkfoot over and two Kestrel hunting the nearby field with Red Legged Partridge calling and towards the end of the day a Tawny called from the nearby wood.
*Looking on Surfbirds the other day in the names of the top five County Listers was a FRANK STRINGER, well I thought it was amusing anyway.
Somewhere in Northumberland but where?????

Northumbrian Birding

17 & 19 tth October 07

Wednesday three Red Admirals feeding on the ivy in my garden , there seem to be plenty around but with little to feed on, now it's off to St Mary's for the Barred Warbler the only information was "in the willow patch at the north end" and as there was no one there the search was on.
looked at the whole area but no luck , Darren ( Birding St Mary's blog see link ) turned up and he checked out the area west of the toilets, his local knowledge paid off as he picked it up sitting on the edge of a bush, it showed well but distant and I had not brought my scope.
Friday cycled via Holywell to St Mary's through the fields and tracks a Wheatear still at the links, the pond has a good number of Little Grebes still and duck numbers building up still a few Butterflies around in the sunny spots went through the dene to the wetlands and was surprised to find the Barred was still present , much closer but now very elusive I got a couple of shots but not very good ,you can see the brown iris and pale base to the bill.
Barred Warbler St Mary's Wednesday

Thursday, 18 October 2007

16-10-07 Tuesday at the pools

Cresswell's Barn Owl showed well for me good start to the day !!!!!

What a start to the days birding pulled in at Cresswell and the Barn Owl was the first bird I saw waited down the track for it to perhaps reappear as it had dropped into the field ,it flew around and dropped frequently hunting over the rough grassland, a bird came from the dunes towards the hide keeping low, bins raised to see a Male Merlin ,
Barn Owl lifted again but kept it's distance and again dropped down, then the call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker as it came over , the Owl also reappears but into the hedge side luckily I watched in case it flew over ,which it did a couple of quick shots and it was gone.
The pond still had Long Tailed Duck ,Scaup & Goldeneye etc ,but no sign of the reported Red Necked Grebe, a lone Whooper Swan dropped in but was soon chased by the Mutes.
Druridge Pools Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard. & Goldeneye, with Snipe, Redshank & a Greenshank where soon noted, a single Whooper dropped in here also probably the same bird but was also chased off , but the snout of an Otter got my attention and I watched it for about an hour as it moved around the pool often disappearing for awhile only to pop up at the other end it swam around prone in the water and also came ashore a couple of times my best views yet , a look on the sea at the end of the day only a couple of Red Throated but several thousand Gulls on the surface along to Cresswell Village and beyond with a well spread flock of Common Scoter further out and to finish in the fading light about 50 Sanderling all hurriedly running along the shore to get past me, what a great days birding summed up in these few words and I nearly didn‘t turn out !!!!.

Great Spotted Woodpecker over the track to the hide
Just before it went behind the hedge

Lone Whooper at Cresswell & Druridge Pools
My best view yet of an Otter, unheard of a few years ago

Whooper at Druridge Pools before being chased off

End of the day as c50 Sanderling run past me along the beach

Monday, 15 October 2007

13/14-10-07 Saturday & Sunday

Sat first stop Cresswell a quick look on the pond ,Long Tailed Duck,Scaup & Goldeneye among the throng, but also at least three Hawkers in the open area so I spent my time trying to get good views and a photo or two I did get a digi shot as one sat for sometime , a Speckled Wood dropped in just three windows along I made the mistake of getting up and moving along before I had noted where it was by this time it had closed up and sitting on the cut reed I just could not find it suddenly it lifted and went over the hide another miss as far as a photo goes, from here it was Druridge stopping to get a digi shot of the two Brent on the way past, not much on the pools other than more Goldeneye with this odd coloured Pochard feeding on it's own ,on to East Chev but the light going fast so not much time to check the ponds more Goldeneye & the south pool level dropping with waders at the far end but we did not go around with the light fading.
Sunday another run up the coast first stop Seaton Point I wanted to check the caravan park in the hope there might be one for sale, not a chance of getting one in my lifetime was the message from a local back at the car it was warm so we sat and had our lunch with Painted Lady, Red admiral, & Tortoiseshell ( this landed on us) flitting around they must have also thought it was a warm spot , we ended just sitting here in the sun for most of the day but called in at the links of Warkworth on the way back this looks a fantastic area I wonder if anyone does it regular as a patch.
Migrant Hawker Digiscoped from the hide at Cresswell
Brent at Cresswell on the North pool
Very pale Pochard Thats right look at the camera !!!
Looking South towards Amble

Monday, 8 October 2007

6-10-07 Saturday a close encounter of the bird kind

Saturday called in at Woodhorn to check out the pond plenty of Greylag and a few Mallard, Teal, but no waders along the edge even though the level is down ,next stop Cresswell still Tree Sparrows on the path down nothing special on the water but still some Hawkers in the open area, on to Druridge Pools but also not much on here looking to be a very quiet day not even any hawkers on the track up, still determined to find a Common Hawker this year, East Chevington from the main view point picked out a small wader well along the east shore as it worked it’s way along through the legs of Swans and dodging ducks quite determined in it’s attempt to feed it was just that bit to far for my scope was hoping someone would turn up with a zoom just to get a better look but no.

Find the wader, this little fellow was just beyond my scope range at East Chevington,a fearless individual as it walked amongst the duck and swans as it fed along the east shore of the north pool, nobody turned up with a zoom to help me.

Friday, 5 October 2007

4/5-10-07 Thursday /Friday

Thursday & Friday
Thursday started off at Bothal Pond hundreds of Lapwings and a good assortment of ducks but no waders, passed Longhirst Flash with a couple of Mallard & two Heron, Linton was the next stop always a good number of gulls here but did not pick out anything special again no waders, so my next stop was East Chevington with 7 Curlew Sandpiper & three Little Stints amongst the Dunlin on the South pool, Teal ,Mallard & Wigeon numbers building up and a flock of Barnacle in the far fields, from the central hide could only pick out one Redshank a three Snipe with a Sparrowhawk over ,plenty of gulls & duck numbers here also up from my last visit, Druridge pools on the way back but no waders here either Kingfisher calling but not seen, last stop Cresswell two Greenshank and a single Ruff brought and end to the day.
Friday again a nice sunny day so I thought I would go to Big Waters in the hope of some Dragonflies at the small pool a Speckled Wood landed briefly but I could not get a photo nor could I get one of a Common Hawker as it landed in front of the hide actually there was a good number of Hawkers wherever the hot sunny and sheltered spots where there would be a Hawker or two flying high, they would come to rest but not long enough to photograph , I did get the Kingfisher.
Arcot , Holywell ( all the grass has been cut ) and St Mary's on the way home but sadly nothing special, I was thrilled with the Butterfly and new Dragonfly (Common Hawker) being fairly new into these, but disappointed at no photographs.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

2-10-07 Tuesday Another Grey day

Tuesday 2-10-07
A Chiffchaff singing in my garden this morning ,Another warm sunny day so just went up to Cresswell again ,Common Hawkers reported beside the hide a species I have not seen yet, also hoping to see the otter which actually showed from the start, it was first in the shallows near the outflow then in the middle catching Eels it seemed to play with them before eating, the Grey Phalarope came back in the open near the road also a large Dragonfly there flying back and forth, the phalarope flew across to the far side and fed along the shore with a Ruff & Greenshank, I then went to Druridge pools three Grey Plover , two Ruff and the Kingfisher showed up again ,but no sign of the Black Tern or Pectoral Sandpiper nor any Hawkers to be seen , Swallows over the village on the way back.


Same camera as digiscoped image
Digiscoped image from Sunday

Monday, 1 October 2007

29/30-09-07 Saturday & Sunday

Saturday started off slow I went to St Mary's via the car park near the masts ,looking across the north bay I thought I had found a Grey Phalarope in the distance but going further around there was no sign ,talking to M&N they told me off a second winter Med near the car park I found it on the rocks and waited for the rising tide to push it off to get a couple of flight shots, walking further round I noticed a juvenile Swallow waiting to be fed while sitting on the rung of the ladders that go down to the sea for once on the sunny south side it looked up at me so I took a couple of shots, a little stunner, called in at the Sluice for a couple of hours seawatch giving me
47 Common Scoter
6 Red Throats
35 Wigeon
18 Little Gulls feeding offshore
I Juvenile Long Tailed Skua
Completely missed the info on the Blyth's Reed due to me having the wrong settings on my message service.
Sunday and the report of Grey Phal at Cresswell was a good start it showed very well after sometime ending up to close at one point being hard to see against the edge of the pool ,then on to Druridge Pools Black Tern Juv showing well in front of the hide and a Kingfisher was noted along the east shore it came and fished in front of the hide giving stunning views, with the Pectoral Sandpiper along the west edge, a Ruff landed near the Tern as if to say take some pics of me , so I did back at the car we noticed 2-3 Hawkers as the sun was now warming the area and I watched one land to take a photo the wings are looking very warn now this one Migrant Hawker a fresh Comma also nearby, Cresswell again on the way back the Phalarope still showing but not as in the morning , keeping along the reed edge, Snipe feeding in the newly cut area in front of the hide, this used to flood and was also good for Water Rail, what a great day
Who says there are no birds at Seaton Sluice
2nd Winter Med complete with mascara

Sitting on the ladder looking up at me
There must be a few shots of this bird going around, nice find !!

very obliging Black Tern
Trying to get my attention
I can never capture the colour of these stunning birds to do them the justice they deserve
Migrant Hawker looking rather battered
Its a long time since I have seen a Snipe this close at Cresswell

The end of a great day