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Sunday, 30 November 2008

29-11-08 IKEA & a bit of birding

Saturday we had to go over to IKEA to return some items but I always go up to Thornley and the feeding station ( for which you need a key from the visitor centre @ 5 pounds) before I go anywhere near Ikea, so we got into the hide which was empty opened up with birds everywhere ,Brambling just below was a nice bird but the two shots I got where blurred it sat in the tree but not in good light which is one of the problems here, Bullfinch, Long Tailed Tits, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Blue & Great, Dunnock.
A couple of Deer crossed the open at the wood edge, plenty of Greys here now , they have fitted baskets to let the birds get some seed and keep the Squirrels out, about an hour here was long enough . the sun was moving over and giving good light to some areas but not warming the hide any and the cold was setting in.
After a coffee in the car it was intended to walk to far pastures where there is a small pool and large hide, and a good place to see Red Kite, but walking through the woods without the sun on you it was bitter , we decided to go to Blaydon Pond instead perhaps a white wing gull would be there, but it was frozen solid with a few Teal and Black Headed a walk around the reserve with only a small flock of tits for the trouble so off to IKEA.......................
Brambling not many around so far !!!

Nuthatch always a favourite

Nuthatch again with an odd pose , hey I take what I can get !!


Squirrel control, perhaps they get in ,feed, get too fat and can't get out again !!!!!



About 1 mile or so from the Metro Centre not bad eh !!!!, drop the missus off (with a few quid )and head here.




Long Tailed Tit below the feeders





Blaydon Pond with the A1 in the background, the island are used by Common Terns with pantiles which the young hide in.






Teal hanging around the ice







This hybrid caught my eye, smart bird whatever it's origins .








Saturday, 29 November 2008

28-11-08 One of the Best days at Cresswell

Bittern digiscoped Cresswell Pond


Friday and its another bright sunny day, a heavy frost overnight left a white coating over the grass, I decided to go back to Cresswell for another try at the Bittern, just got into the packed hide to be told the bird was on view at the far end of the pond, it was sitting just on the edge about a foot above the water , then worked itself along the edge ,another bird lifted and started to fly towards us landing on the edge to the right and going into the reeds and couple of minutes later a Bittern lifted and again started to fly towards the hide landing to the left with the first bird still on the reed edge ,it seems there is three birds present.

The Merlin came over and again sat on the log staying there for sometime, and out of the side window I could see a Barn Owl sitting on the fence so I took some shots of that till it went out of sight , the Merlin still sat preening and just looking around , I lost track of what the Bitterns where doing one again lifted and flew to a new position and another took the same track along the edge as the first.


Kingfisher along the reed edge also at one point near a Bittern but most of the time on the fish box, where also two Water Rails starting having an argument over territory, Kinfisher later along to the left of the hide, and a Sparrowhawk sitting near the shore of the north end

Suddenly everything lifted and I picked up the Merlin coming towards the sandbank through the waders and it took a Dunlin landing on a small mound and proceeded to pluck and eat it's prey, till it was spooked by someone looking around the side of the hide, it's funny birds don't seem to like bright red,luckily it was there long enough to have a good feed and for us to get some shots.

Late afternoon and the Otter popped up in front of the Bittern at the far end, Bittern & Otter in the same view can't be bad, eventually it came closer to the hide taking an eel it took it into the reeds to eat it.

What a fantastic day with action all the time


Bittern Coming in left of the hide


One on the edge of the reeds to the east




Merlin on the post in front of the hide




And on the log to the right, a Merlin sat for about 20mins





Another shot of the Bittern as it came in to the reeds and dissapeared for the afternoon






Merlin crossing over the pond




Barn Owl from the east window








Merlin again on the post in front of the hide






Barn Owl from the hide window



Digiscoped as it was on the fence east of hide



The Otter as it neared the hide late afternoon



Merlin ,finally I have seen it catch something, the clicks and voices are of people in the hide & non of them are me !!!

video

Friday, 28 November 2008

26-11-08 Snow Goose but no Bittern

Wednesday I went back for the reported Snow Goose near Holywell it was in a field with about 20 Greylag , but they all took off and headed west so I took a few flight shots.

Next stop Cresswell the Bittern is still being seen and the water level has dropped so it was worth a visit, the Bittern had been out in the open for a few seconds on the east side , but also around a pair of Mergansers, Goldeneye, Wigeon , Teal, Tufted , Little Grebes , on the sand bank hundreds of Lapwings with Dunlin, Redshank, a few Curlew and further over Golden Plover, the Otter Swam across the pond with an eel and went into the reeds, a Merlin came through a couple of times and even settled on the large log, with Sparrowhawk over the far end , a Kingfisher settled on the post down the cut & 4 Whoopers low over the fields, no sign of the Bittern for me and I was there till dark, a Short Eared Owl hunting over the field east of the hide was worth the wait



Snow Goose with Greylag near Holywell

Snow Goose with Greylag near Holywell



Lapwing digiscoped on the now exposed sand bank



Kingfisher near the outflow, digiscoped



Merlin came through a couple of times then sat on the log, digiscoped





Merlin flying across the pond






Nice pair of Red Breasted Mergansers in front of the hide







Thursday, 27 November 2008

25-11-08 Seawatching again

Another attempt at seawatching the sea had flattened somewhat, a 1st year Glaucous gull north was a good bird, still a few Gannets moving and 4 Red Throats and 1 Great Northern in a group looked as if it was going to be good for divers but just more RTD, a few more Wigeon on the move and the odd teal tagging onto Eiders , Wigeon & Common Scoter, Brents also a few north, 3 Red Breasted Mergansers , 1 Goosander, 1 Pintail, 3 Snow Buntings which I missed and Velvet Scoters, Long Tailed Ducks,just another steady trickle which lasted till about 11am. Grainy crops of 1st Year Glaucous



just for my blog record grainy shots of 1st yr Glaucous



Great Black-backed in good numbers


Still Gannets just on the surf line





Common Scoter




Wednesday, 26 November 2008

24-11-08 Seawatch

Monday and with what seemed a favourable wind I went seawatching lots of Kittiwakes moving was the first thing noted, with also Gannets, not a great amount and most of them Juveniles , a total of three Great Northern Divers and about 10 Red Throats, 20 Brent, Velvet Scoter ,Wigeon.,Long Tailed Duck and Common Scoter, Mallard & Teal, and a few Fulmar with a Kingfisher on the rocks below, not a bad morning which ended abruptly at 10am as any movement stopped !!!


Brent moving north showing just how low they hug the sea as they disappear in a trough, I'm sure I read it provides an updraft and conserves energy flying close to the surface.
and the same birds showing better



Kingfisher on the rocks and it dipped into one of the pools


Kingfisher having a day at the seaside !!



Tuesday, 25 November 2008

23-11-08 Iceland Gull

Sunday afternoon I went for a walk around the harbour at Blyth not much around other than lots of Great Black-backed Gulls most 1st -2nd years they hang around for whats thrown off the fishing boats or try to rob the Eiders that dive down for the Prawns , but an Iceland Gull 1st year came over and hung around for awhile at first I thought it was a Glaucous perhaps on the small end of the range as it was harder to get the size and shape of head as I was to busy trying to get some shots, the bill looked to large for Iceland but small for Glaucous
Great Black-Backs always in the harbour,these swallow Little Auks whole.



Strong sunlight left me with lots of photos overexsposed



1st year Iceland Larus glaucoides











Great Black Backed flys in and grabs the fish



and flys off with it..........................................................







Saturday, 22 November 2008

21/22 -11-08 Fantastic Seawatching

The Weather was shaping up for perhaps the last decent Seawatch of the year so I rolled along to The Sluice but despite putting in a few hours it was dead so all those stuck at work in some nice warm office thinking they where missing out, you weren't, apart from a scattered flock of about 100+ Common Scoter and a total of three Red Breasted Mergansers, all singles just to keep you on your toes , it was dead. Saturday and out for more Seawatching another couple of hours and not much to show for it , it just did not happen, so I went up to St Mary's and along the links, Purple Sandpipers on the rocks near the boatyard , also a Grey Wagtail to warm up a winters day, with 7-8 Rock Pipits and even a Robin on the tideline. Adult Med gull on the Golf course but I could not get near to it ,back along the prom the wind now biting cold, waders starting to settle on the rocks as the tide fell, with the Brent still on the wetland, and a good number of Teal also here, all in all not a bad day,pity about the seawatching , I would sit there all day IF there was something to see, perhaps through the week I will get another chance.................................................................................
Common Scoters riding the waves

Just passing by

Grey Wagtail, along the rocks just off the beach.



Purple Sandpiper working the rocks just avoiding the waves


Two Purple Sandpipers waiting till the waves roll back out.




Adult Med on the Golf course





And off out to sea






Just below the prom Curlews came in from the fields







Light just a bit to strong, never happy !!!!