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Thursday, 31 December 2009

The end of Birding for 2009

The year is coming to an end rather quietly it seems just had another run to Holywell calling in at the Sluice the wind seemed NE when I was at home put easterly at the coast just a few Gannets, Scoter and Eider,with some Wigeon on the rocks so it was a token seawatch to end the year.

Holywell Pond the hide door is jammed solid and as I said before there is no handle to pull it open,thinking I could hear someone in I banged on the door, and again, getting a bit annoyed that nobody opened the door , so I levered it from the base and it popped open , not a soul in oops !!!, just got settled and nearly the first bird I saw a male Merlin crossing the water superb it hung around the hedge on the far side then went over the top, nice start but actually very little else happened, camera out scope up a small area of open water brought in a few gulls , trying to settle on the ice but the wind too strong, a Water Rail briefly by the feeders, I tried getting some shots of the Greenfinches as they hovered trying to land on the moving feeders, so coffee gone and not much (actually nothing) happening that was my year end birding not even a photo for the blog,................. still there is a whole new year ahead !!!!!!!!!!!!

WISHING YOU ALL A HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

Brian



Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Swan eating Fish !!!!!!!!!!!!

Thats a SWAN eating a fish and not a FISH eating a swan.
just shows how slow it is for me when I have to use the tactics of the Sun to add a little interest to my post!!!!!

Just to catch up before the end of the year I paid another visit to the harbour at Blyth this Mute Swan is feeding on a very large flat fish ,the large shape just under the water ,it never ceases to amaze me what is discarded into the river for one reason or another .
The Iceland Gull still present though it spent all of the time on the jetty that now has no access, still a few gulls around as the boats clean down for the holidays but for some reason I do not have any photos of them ,must not have been doing much .
I ventured to Holywell Pond one day but alas could not get the door open as it had swollen so much and it does not have a handle to help open it ,so I just checked the small area of open water looking through the few gulls assembled.
I must admit I am totally mixed up with the days .not sure what day I went where, but a nice bright sunny day and I went as far as Cresswell Pond very slippy underfoot I pulled off the road to check some Pipits but could not even get out the car it was so icy .The pool at QE11 park had some free water and a channel through to the other end holding numerous duck including a few Goldeneye plenty of Common & Black headed, Cresswell seemed to have a lot of Song Thrush around in the cattle fields was the first thing I noticed, feeding on snails I found an anvil with a pile of broken shells scattered around, a huge flock of geese though well in the distance, and near the farm Golden Plover feeding in the field next to the track, a walk to the beach but even this was not easy , still feel the effects of my fall last winter and was not wanting more of the same , only a few Sanderling along the shore ,back at Cresswell I just hung around the car park in the hope of the Barn Owl but it was not to be ,only a single Kestrel on the wires and as the pond was frozen I did not even check it out ,but was told the Bittern had been flushed from in front of the hide early am.
Stopped at several locations on the way back looking along the dunes for Snow Buntings ,the flash at Lynemouth is looking well filled again although frozen , it would be worth a look at .
What a very quiet time with the New Year looming I am not making any plans to go out on the 1st, I think my race to improve my list for 2010 will be of the tortoise variety ,slow and steady
Thats a large fish by any standard, no idea why they have to be thrown away
QE11 lake frozen at the car park end , I walked part way around but the path was just thick ice.
Always plenty of Common Gulls here


Tufted Duck in with the Coots coming right to the edge ,smart looking ducks when the light gets on them !!


The waters edge was very picturesque with the glistening water but I could not capture it
Golden Plovers well scattered in the field by the car park and track

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Iceland Gull...........but little else for me anyway.

I have not been far these past few days a run to Holywell Pond produced nothing out of the ordinary, and a few visits to the harbour looking for Snow Buntings ,but none so far, I did pick up the Iceland Gull yesterday, I picked it out to late as it dropped of the jetty and settled on the sea. it's the one with the droopy wing I have seen several times along the estuary and at Holywell Pond ,looking at one of the photos it looks like a break of some kind on the right wing , obviously not stopping it flying but must have some serious effect to maneuvering especially if it gets in with mob of gulls feeding from cast offs from the boats.
Today I walked along to the estuary ,again in the hope of Snow Buntings, the rough area beside the old pit yard is now fenced off as development starts, only a few Linnets around and a Great Spotted Woodpecker down the track, the filter pools had a Mute Swan with a Canada for company, and several Teal Lifted, plenty of Snipe around , the usual waders down beside the boat yard and plenty of birds up the burn but you need a scope as the area is so large. The cold persists but it does not seem to have brought anything with it ,not for me anyway the camera not even out of the bag today.
I always put food and as important water out for the birds, I only get the common stuff in the garden but it was interesting to watch the resident Blackbird trying to protect the food and water from the other 6 or so blackbirds around , while he chased one ,another would nip in from behind, expending far more energy than he was consuming, the sparrows just kept feeding and some went straight for a bathe in the water.......and it's not a heated pool !!!!!
Serious damage of some sort on the right wing


The Iceland Gull sat on the water preening ,I was hoping it would come nearer as they were throwing lots of dead fish etc in, but it left without my noticing.











The younger birds are as aggressive if not more so than the adults , but its the bird that can swallow the fastest that gets the rewards.












I Don't Believe It !!!!!!!!!

Scientists have been striving for many decades trying to provide men with the smoothest perfect shave ,razors having up to four blades to capture each and every hair on your chin !!!! and now the latest offering a razor that you can adjust not for the closet shave you have ever had ,but for the length of stubble you would like to leave , "designer stubble" looks like it's here to stay , all that research down the pan.................. or is that the sink.

Friday, 11 December 2009

December

Got out this week for a couple of days , went to Holywell pond the roadworks still there after 3 weeks nobody working when I past 2weeks ago and nobody working when I past this week , the pond was very quiet, they came to fix the door , but when they left I had a job getting out as the lock was jamming ,had visions of phoning for help.
Later in the week a walk along the links at Whitley, the adult Med on the sea and not in the carpark, Grey Wagtail brightening up the beach and a brief view of the Water Pipit , more duck getting on the wetland , about 1500+ Golden Plover on the rocks, still a pleasant walk in the sun .






Sunday, 6 December 2009

Warm Winter Sun...................for a few days anyway !!!!

Just been away to the Algarve for a few days winter sun ,with most days warm for my first visit to Portugal, Black Winged Kites, Azure Winged Magpies, Penduline Tits, Purple Heron, Booted Eagle, etc:,etc:, & hundreds n hundreds of Chiffchaffs ,with birds at every location we visited, also a few Butterflies still around with a first for me with what I thought would be something easy to ID from the books but as yet no, it was one of the largest Butterflies I have so far seen , orange ground with black veins on the upper and orange/red with a large black mark towards the apex, what a stunning find on the last day, will put a few more photos when I sort them.

I have set up a blog for the photos here.........http://northumbrianbirderinthealgarve.blogspot.com/

http://northumbrianbirderinthealgarve.blogspot.com/





Booted Eagle with what I think is a Moorhen !!!
video

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Nothing at all to do with Birding ..........just a bit of fun !!!

video

Sometimes TV is just rubbish ,with more entertainment in the adverts this spoof from one of the long running ones !!!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Holywell,Big Waters, & St Mary's, blah ! blah! blah!

Another week of just visiting the ponds it's a way of getting out of the wind , Holywell was very quiet six Whoopers on as I arrived but again they took off in minutes.
A visit to Big Waters the water level the highest Iv'e seen the hides surrounded by water and the feeding station was also flooded which attracted two Little Grebes feeding on worms , it was rather surreal a family of Mute swans and 2 Grebes feeding below, Tree Sparrows, Blue Tits , Greenfinch, & Goldfinchas they hung from the feeders, Great Crested Grebe still around no sign of Otter or Kingfisher the water very murky.
Cycled to St Mary's in the winter sun , Water Pipit in the same area of the prom , a couple of Purple Sandpipers feeding on the seaweed wrack, about a dozen Gadwall and a few Teal on the wetland again was hoping the GWT would drop in here but no, from sun to dull in a matter of minutes today , nearly dark by the time I got home.
Six Whoopers just leaving Holywell , what happened to the days they used to roost here in good numbers, only one juvenile in with these.

Big Waters I had time to kill so set up the digiscope gear for the Little Grebes




Digiscoped



Great Crested Grebe also Digiscoped

The Inevitable Tree Sparrow

I'm sure this must have happened before, the feeding station flooded allowing the Swans to swim in

Little Grebes finding plenty of drowned worms from within the feeding station , they came in several times while I was there

just a single Bullfinch going for the Niger seed

I think it could hear the camera, but wasn't sure









Just outside the hide .............

Bullfinch not coming too close


A Purple Sandpiper at St Mary's feeding on the huge pile of seaweed



Water Pipit still around
















Saturday, 14 November 2009

12/13 & 14th but not much birding

Thursday the 12th a run up to Cresswell & Druridge Pools with a walk to East Chevington, was very quiet, the highlight of the day was at the beach of Chevington scoping the Sanderling for colour ringed birds , one stopped and coughed up a pellet , I was tempted to go and get it but a wave washed it away, not seen a wader do this before , although I know they and numerous other birds eject them, Druridge water level the highest Ive seen for a long time, huge roost of Great Black Backs nearby and plenty passing overhead , Cresswell water level not too bad, Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrows down the hedge, 2 Mergansers dropped in, very slow day otherwise, stopped at Lynemouth to check the dunes but nothing..........went to do some shopping in the end !!!

Friday being much nicer than I thought it was going to be, headed to Holywell , but again not much around , a Whooper landed briefly but did not stay , some Greylag in the field with a couple of Pinks, Gull numbers building up but no more sign of the Iceland.
Saturday and another session at Holywell , Digiscoped a few shots as the light was OK, Sparrowhawk through the feeders, but another slow day , my corned beef sandwiches being the highlight. This ring of Fungi was about 30' across how long does it take to get to this size ?

Whooper in and out !!!

Heron chasing each other


and working it's way past the hide



Digiscoped this as much to keep my hand in




The shore at Holywell is good for digiscoping attempts, more shots to add to my huge number of gull photos












Thursday, 12 November 2009

Big Waters........11-10-09

I have been to Big Waters for awhile so I thought I would have a run there on Wednesday, 3 and then 2 Roe Deer out in the fields as I drove along the A19, it was bright when I arrived but soon became dull with some light rain although I seem to have missed the worst.
The Otter showed after about 30 mins feeding along the north side at one point it looked as though it was going onto the island , always a number of Tree Sparrows on the feeders , probably one of the easiest places to see them, a Sparrowhawk tried for one just below me it was all over in a flash, not sure if it got one or not ,it was some time before the birds returned in numbers.
Great Crested Grebe, a few assorted duck , 3 Goldeneye, a couple of snipe over , the water level very high ,where has all this water come from must have been some heavy rains through the nights.
Kingfisher put in a brief appearance no time to get a photo it flew off to the right of the hide probably to the willows to fish from.

This looked a little bit like a face, and no my nose is not as big as that !!

Digiscoped the Goldeneye


View from the front of the hide



and view from the side