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Wednesday, 31 December 2008

31st December, Another year ends


Waxwings have a fairly small bill , just used for picking fruit,but look at the gape , another couple from the other day, and some odds and sods.

Not quite so elegant and rather pot bellied flight shot.

Another year ends, I had given up on my how fast to 200 list long ago, but apart from the poor Seawatching and the lack of Dragonflies & Butterflies it's been a good year. here's looking forward to 2009, I'm making no New Years Resolutions, unless you can count that as one ?.

Anyway I wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!!! and Best Wishes for 2009

It will never get off the ground

Red Deer

Looks too shallow to me !!!!!

Lesser Grey Shrike, it's singing very softly, what a little star !!!!!!

Monday, 29 December 2008

29-12-08 Whoopers & Waxwings

Started off at QE11 pond but not much around there next stop Linton pond, plenty of Herring Gulls and a good number of Great Black-backs but no Glaucous or Iceland , a birder came in a said there where 30 odd Redpolls along the path to the east hide and Boulmer Birder came in next with a report of Waxwings just along the road , so not having seen much in the hour I was there I left, the only sign of redpolls where perhaps the flock of small birds that went over the far side into the trees at the top of the hill, the Waxwings were along the road next to the field off the A1068 they where dropping down to feed in the hedges, unfortunately the light was very poor , sods law the birds continued to feed as I sat in the car trying to get some shots I moved off and got the scope on them for some video,
about 30 Whoopers came over heading towards Longhirst but turned and came down into the pools in the field also 4 Redshank here, also still here is the 5 White Fronted Geese, I thought Whoopers would turn up here at some time , a scan with the scope did not reveal the hoped for Bewick's , in the field beside the tip a flock of well over a 1000 Pinkfeet spent the afternoon taking off around 3pm, you can just here them on the video.

Waxwings just west of the roundabout off the A1068

Whooper 2J60

Saturday, 27 December 2008

A Joke I actually remembered

I see the Iceland is still hanging around the South Beach Estate or Hungry Hill as it used to be called where the butcher that used to travel around would be asked for 2,oz of best mince please.or another term was we had a leg of mince for dinner, all fur coat and no Knickers, those lot ,so I was told.
Here is a joke that for once I could actually remember, totally stolen ,robbed ,nicked , twocked (work it out),or what ever the modern term is.
A guy walks in to a kebab shop and is surprised to see Father Christmas serving behind the counter."Santa!" he says. "What are you doing working here? Shouldn't you be up at the North Pole preparing for the big day?"Santa Claus sighs. He's really let himself go. The red suit's got lard and chilli sauce and bits of lettuce all over it. His apron's in a mess and he just looks fed up and like he doesn't want to be serving up kebabs for a living."Well," Santa says at last, "the business has gone belly up. With the recession, the credit crunch and all, the toy industry took a beating. I had to lay off some of the elves, make cut backs in quality and we just lost our competitive edge. Plus we wound up the delivery side and subcontracted out to UPS. But... it didn't help. The receivers came in, asset-stripped the business and we went into liquidation.""Gee," the guy says. "I'm really sorry; it kind of takes the tradition out of Christmas in a way.""Yeah," says Santa Claus and manages a wan smile. "Well enough of me and my woes. What can I get you?"The guy says, "I'll have a large Donner.""Sorry," says Santa. "We're all out of Donner.......Will Blitzen do instead?"
A more sensible post to follow, when and if I ever sober up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
p.s. despite my state the spell check has only picked out twocked as misspelled, go figure!!!! ?
actually there probably should not be a k in there , well what do I know I have never twocked before.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

17/22-12-08 Blog update( dual carrageway list)

Just an update of my blog , not much to write about, had another go at Linton on the WEd 17th & Sat 20th, the Wednesday the Glaucous put in an appearance in the mid afternoon but not much else, on Sat the geese were again in the field beside the roundabout, a few Redwings and a Fieldfare across from the hide as were a pair of Stonechats , no sign of the Glaucous, but a Barn Owl along the lane at dusk.
Had a look also at Blyth harbour still no sign of the Snow Buntings I think they have moved on , no sign either of the Iceland although it was reported Friday I think.
Sunday the 21st according to my calender it is the start of Winter , but a least thats the shortest day over and the days will slowly................. get longer.
Sunday afternoon it was intended to go along to Seaton Sluice and walk to Holywell Pond and back via the Dene, but on the way I found the Iceland in the middle of the dual carriageway beside the cemetery only yards from where I had the Pomerine last year , not sure what else I have seen here but that's two good birds on my central dual carriageway list !!!! so by the time I got some shots of this in flight and on the ground as it also went up South Newsham road on the verge of South Beach estate and then over the houses , would have been a great garden tick for someone ???? (that used to live there) ,needless to say no time for a walk other than the harbour at the Sluice for Kingfisher and an Eider .

Digiscoped Glaucous on the island at Linton Pond
Iceland Gull  centre of the dual carriageway links road

Iceland Gull South Beach estate Blyth

Iceland Gull South Beach estate Blyth
Video Glaucous Gull Linton Pond 17-12-08

Monday, 22 December 2008

Birds in Northumbria 2007

I have just received a copy of the BIRDS IN NORTHUMBRIA 2007 a bumper edition for the 50th anniversary 1958-2008, this is a fantastic book running into just over 290pp. Can I just say what a tremendous effort all in involved have put into this publication, there are some great photos and some excellent art work throughout the book , and even a photo of the old seawatch hide at Seaton Sluice, I was just there yesterday and trying to remember what it looked like, you had to go up a rickety ladder type stairs in the days when scopes where very few and far between, god am I that old.
check out the link for full details and order information , this will be a collectors item, it even smells good, that new book smell I just love it.
Get a sniff of your own copy here.

I hope I am not infringing any copyright , but I thought it worth showing John Steele's excellent cover

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

15-11-08 Linton

Adult Glaucous Linton Pond

Just went to Linton today for a look through the gulls and see what else would turn up, an adult Glaucous on the ice although I did not see it come in ,perhaps the one I had at Cresswell last week, set up the digiscope gear, disaster my trusted old Nikon 4500 would not zoom in the buttons knackered it will zoom out but not in which makes it useless for digiscoping , I had to put the remote on which is temperamental but at least in zoomed in , the bird sat around for sometime going into the water for a bathe then back on the ice for a preen , while on the ice a Juvenile Herring Gull actually landed on its back and tried to settle ? talk about a bad landing , the Glaucous just gave out a cry and shrugged it off & resettled to preen, later it had a go at another bird for no reason at all chasing it off, funny things gulls. A couple of thousand Pinkfeet lifted to the North but no Snow Goose in with them. The geese still on the field beside the round about,with a couple hundred Pinkfeet there on the way back it might pull in some Whoopers .

Now should I poke around in my camera or just get another , trouble is they don't make swivel screens anymore ????

Heavy vignette on the edge as I could not get the camera to work, the bird really stood out

Got the zoom to work and the light was not to bad, tail is in heavy moult

Time to go and for once I was ready .

At least the birds on the ice give good views

Took off and went West

Sat/ Sun 13th & 14th December

Saturday & Sunday when most birders are out and about I had a lazy weekend and did nowt, tried some drawing from some of my photos , & looked on youtube for some tips there is loads of stuff on the net , I was surprised to get a pager message on Saturday " Thursday, Bean Goose, & 5 White Fronts, with 100 Greylag " taken from my blog , things must be slow , but at least it shows someone is reading it.

I did get news of the Whooper Swan with coloured ring DU6 at Big Waters, it was ringed as a Female in Iceland on 17-08- 2007, and ended up at Caerlaverock 11-11-07, and 2008 at Big Waters

Friday, 12 December 2008

11-12-08 Woodhorn, QE11, Linton, then shopping

Thursday I checked out Woodhorn Flash but it is flooded on the walk down so I could not get too near and ended up looking into the light , no sign of the Green -winged Teal, only a small party of Long Tailed Tits ,is it me or are they commoner this year I had about 15 just up the street from me, as yet not seen them in the garden but they do seem to be everywhere, another party at Linton in the woods.
Had a look at QE11 , most birds at the far end, but not in the mood for a walk around, some other day perhaps, on the way to Linton I pulled in beside the field just west of the roundabout, here where a couple of thousand Gulls, this is the field I last saw a Bewicks Swan some time ago , in with the gulls where about 100 Greylag the 5 White-fronts, and the Bean Goose , checked through with the scope , gulls are using the large pool to bathe in .
At Linton still easily over a thousand gulls most of the pond open water, checked through the lot time after time no I/G, and even I got bored looking at so many Herring Gulls , the Bean Goose was here also although I did not see it come in , on the East pond this is where the Teal had moved to, over in the fields and the lane they where flailing the hedges which where heavy in Hawthorn berries, you would think they could leave them till the turn of the year at least, left before dark with 8 Fieldfare on the road out, not seen many this winter so far.
Time for some shopping.................................................
Long Tailed -Tit at Woodhorn Pond

large pools of water in the fields bringing in the gulls , also here about 100 Greylag, 5 White Fronts, and a Bean Goose,

Geese in with the rest

Linton Pond just the far end frozen

Took some flight shots, this bird just looked interesting with it's heavy feet hanging,

Fieldfare just up the lane

Thursday, 11 December 2008

9-12-08 Bells & Cresswell

A shot of the Moon as I got home taken from the front door

Tuesday another run to Cresswell , but passing the car park there was a least five cars and there not being as many seats as the old hide I headed on past and went to look for the Twite, the flock was soon picked up , but in the field opposite a large flock of Pinkfeet and the Snow Goose, they all lifted circled and resettled, the Twite and Linnet s where also very mobile keeping there distance, it was bitter cold in the wind, so I headed back to the hide at cresswell .

The Bittern showed after ten or so minutes sitting up in the reeds on the edge of the pool and began preening, it's legs and feet looking a bright light green in the strong light but unable to capture the colour with the digi, it sat there for some time till it just melted into the reeds.Water Rail on the edge near the fish box which was favoured by the kingfisher, but it looks dry there now.

The Merlin came over just after I had said it was about due , it turned and came back over the pond and sat on a log, in the distance the Geese flock lifted and you could easily see the Snow Goose, later the Otter came from the outfall actually walking through the shallow water , missed it by a whisker ,popped up again left of the hide, a white winged gull flew over just got onto it to late to get the bill as it flew north thought Iceland at the time but the photos aren't good enough to put a name to it , it does look more towards an adult in age though.

Another good day at Cresswell

Twite & Linnet flock worth a look through might pull in a Shore Lark or two

Snow Goose dropping in with the Pinkfeet

Bittern with one of the Mergansers going past

Merlin sits and ponders.

digiscoped shot of above

White Wing gull high over the pond,looks grey with white in the wings

more like glaucous in this shot. it's a pity I would have liked a much better view, there where no gulls to pull it down to the pond

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

8-12-08 Return to Iceland

Monday afternoon and I did not have much time so I went back to Blyth harbour for gulls and perhaps some Snow Buntings,the 1st year Iceland is still around I hope it stays the winter to try and get some photos later on, not much else around a few Eiders, Turnstones and two Pied Wagtail, so I found the Iceland in with the Great Black-backs it flew around a few times but always resettled, with the light so dull it was not worth going anywhere else.
Iceland Gull

Iceland with Great Black-backed, a big difference in size