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Saturday, 28 February 2009

23/24-2-09 Scaup & Iceland

Monday I tried to catch up with the Mandarin on Killingworth Lake walked the lake twice but no sign ,Goosanders still around also Goldeneye and a Scaup, I hoped it may have turned up on one of the other local ponds , Holywell or Marden , but not up to now , I was still finding it hard to get in and out the car so I just headed back home.
Tuesday the report of 3 Icelands at Blyth and one a 2nd Winter so I headed down , two 1st Winters were nearly together, one is much paler than the other , they can disappear at times but I always look on the boats the gulls pick out fish that are stuck in the nets or look for scraps and can be easily overlooked, one took to robbing a Herring Gull that had just taken the catch off an Eider, no sign of the third one for me which was a pity I would like some photos of a 2nd Winter , no divers in the harbour this winter and I have yet to see any in the bay.
Goosanders Killingworth Lake

Scaup Killingworth lake

This one looks small headed and rather petite, the strong light could be making it look paler.

This one is taken in shadow but it is duller overall.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

21-02-09 Stag Rocks , rocks !!!!

Saturday 21st, Blyth Valley Birder and I went up the coast via Hulne Park to have a look for Hawfinch , talking to the gatekeeper he had not seen any all winter, I have digiscoped photos of them as they sat around in those tall trees, sitting long enough to find, stick the camera on and get a couple of shots , very few records for last couple of years, they are going to be hard to find for 2009.
Budle Bay next stop the tide well out ,but it does come in very fast , you could see the heads of birds as they fed in the many channels, as these filled on the rising tide the birds became more and more concentrated, with waders wheeling around as they moved to another site, and odd how the geese only appeared later ,I gave Blyth Birder the task of finding an American Wigeon & or Green Winged Teal, and me in my distressed state took the easier option of looking for Greenshank, well we got one new year tick anyway( insert smily here ), oddly no raptors other than a Buzzard on the way up, easy birding from here as usual and surprising the number of cars doing the same, one of those raised hides would be great here.
Stag rocks a little more windy here and getting colder, first thing noted Long Tailed Ducks seemed to be a few here, some looked paired off , are not the males just the most fantastic looking bird ," Oldsquaw" is or was another name and apparantly they are the only member of there genus. Scan after scan revealed only a few Red Throated Divers, Common Scoters and as expected Eiders , given the past reports I thought Slavonian Grebe would be easy but we only had the one so I tried some video as the light was no good , coming into summer plumage with a hint of horns coming in , giving it an odd head shape from the rear, and red extending around the neck. A good flock of Purple Sandpipers on the rocks as usual here at this time of year, a couple Gannets well offshore and the Long Tailed's moving around, but the highlight for me was the pair ,I presume pair of Harbour Porpoise as they swam very close side by side and one came right out the water at one stage, it seemed to brush against the other, the first time I have ever seen one leave the water, but it is all over in the blink of an eye. A good days birding with Bamburgh Castle for a back drop fantastic , Stag Rocks,....... rocks !!!!!!!!

Digiscoped Hulne Park 14-01-2006


Slavonian Grebe Stag Rocks Northumberland

Friday, 20 February 2009

Glaucous Winged Gull

This video is a little overexposed , its identified as Glaucous Winged Gull, this could explain the whereabouts of the recent bird, it's down at some local park, feeding on skemies !!!!!!!.

Great Blacked -backs at blyth feed on them , the jetties are littered with bones , but these are probably mostly chicken bones , and no there are no chickens at Blyth Harbour !!!!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

19-02-09 Blyth Iceland Gulls

Eventually got out today just went down to the harbour for the Iceland Gulls which are still there the two sitting near each other, not many other gulls around, the fishing boats mostly out so they would probably bring birds in with them, I sent in a message but for some reason it did not come through, this is not the first time this has happened , I aways send text ,perhaps there not bothering with Icelands now .
I have started another blog for the surplus gull photos , it's not going to be for I.D., but I would welcome any comments if you think I have got I.D. or age wrong, I am sticking with 1st winter etc: , I know it's not the form now but have not quite got my head around the calender year ageing,I can add it as I go, Icelands do not moult from Juvenile to 1st winter granted, but to me the bird is still in it's first winter of life , so I have added some heading but so far only a few photos.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Blog Birding

I forgot to upload this photo which was the main reason for the post, Bewicks Swan digiscoped in the field near the Linton roundabout 12-11-05 is the date , which I think is the last time I saw Bewicks Swan that does not seem right I must have seen them since then although I know none where reported in 2007, changing times.

Spending my days looking at blogs to see what I am missing , and not much it seems ,it's a miserable dull rainy day here, I have received my tripod leg clamp from Manfrotto , cost about 14 pounds and as there are six that could get easily broken, if you've got a Manfrotto there is a website with all the models in PDF format , and if the part is in stock you can get it straight away, mine wasn't ,I was told it would about 5 weeks delivery but actually it was less, but don't put off ordering a part if needed, especially if your planning a trip away, I use my tripod all the time and would be lost without it, I was able to repair mine by taking the clamp apart and wrapping in black electricians tape, you do not need to be qualified to use it ,put the bolt back through and it worked Ok, so that's my tip of the day get a roll of leccy tape, available in various colours for the fashion conscious even camouflage but that's extra.
I must get out , I must get out!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Youve been blogged 2

Stuck in the house still and trawling through my pics I came across this , local birders will recognize this as Cambois, not your usual birder can't even see her bins !!!!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Youve Been Blogged !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr C, you've been blogged I wanted to put the Med gull on the roof or something, but realised I'm not that clever, been to the doc's today and as a result of falling on my camera I have a cracked rib, so still not been out and having to resort to slander to find something to post. Actually it may catch on at least I would get to learn about photoshop
Briardene carpark not quite the Gambia , AC back from his latest trip !!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

12-02-09 A Winter Walk, snow ,snow , snow, slip !!

12th Feb the heavy snowfalls looked fantastic in the garden and at the time it was stopping for a spell ,so I thought I would go out and get some winter shots but actually it got heavier, Woodpigeon another fairly recent garden visitor before I left, got up into the open fields a huge mixed flock of Corvids, Woodpigeons , Fieldfares, Redwings , and Starlings feeding in the stubble, a lone Teal looking lost, and a couple of Meadow pipits perhaps wishing they where elsewhere, Woodcock flushed just before I stood on it they look pretty big that close, heading back home another flock of Thrushes looking like they had just come in crossing the dunes, every thing looked quite picturesque, the only down side I slipped on some ice under the snow going down a small hill , and fell heavily right on my camera , it was in the case but boy did it hurt as it dug in my side, it seems OK but I'm not and still find it hard to get around so Ivé not been out since .

I saw this through the snow looked like a small gull at first

There must have been some water here before the snow covered it , judging by the number of gulls around

Meadow Pipits, there was signs of birds all over the place in the form of footprints, Partridge digging down looking for food a few Deer tracks also

There are some large flocks of Thrushes around now, they seem to be everywhere, these look as though they had just come in.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

11-02-09 QE11 Glaucous / Linton gulls again

Buzzard near the roundabout before Linton

Wednesday 11th Called in at QE11 pond on the way to Linton a good part of it was frozen over there was a raft of ice with a few gulls on and in with them a Glaucous which looks like a 2nd winter bird , I walked around to get the sun behind me they sat still until I tried to set up the tripod and they where off it landed on the water facing into the wind but away from me any way got a couple of shots.
Linton also a good part frozen, with a lot of gulls sitting out on the ice , my first Lesser Black Backed of the year, and a couple of orange ringed Herring Gulls, and one with some odd rings on hard to make out whats on them, two fox on the ice the vixen lay prone with ears back as the dog passed she then slinked off tail very low, no white winged gulls here today again.
Glaucous Gull QE11 pond

Glaucous Gull QE11 pond digiscoped

Glaucous Gull QE11 pond
Never seen rings like this before that top left ring looks uncomfortable

standing on one of the islands

The Gulls keep half an eye on them as they clean up on the ice.

Friday, 13 February 2009

10-02-09 Plessey Woods / Iceland /Glaucous Gulls

Tuesday I had a look in Plessey Woods, took some suet etc: and left it for the birds while I went for a walk ,no Squirrels today perhaps it was a bit late in the morning, Siskin new for the year GSW hammering but not with any vigour these two landed near me ,the walk very quiet single Mallard on the river no Dipper although I have seen them this year, small party of Long Tailed Tits, and a single Jay later got settled down and was lucky have a Marsh Tit drop in , Nuthatch Coal Tits, and Treecreeper, just can't get a decent shot of Treecreeper, what little light there was moved over so I drove down to the South Harbour where there is a small carpark, from here you have to walk, the security hut has moved but you can still get this years tide table from here for only 50p. The Glaucous 1st year on show just sitting on the water it flew off and I realised I had filled my card and with no spare had to go home for one , John Malloy was also here and we spent the time trying to get some shots of the two Icelands that where obliging but would not sit together for a comparison shot, it was harder to tell the two apart presuming it is the same two as I have already got , perhaps it was the strong light, RB Merganser still near the yachts but did not have time to check the river.

Dali type face formed from ice, can you see it, or is it cubism what do I know about art .........

Siskin singing softly
Classic Marsh Tit, glossy head, two tone cheeks ,small bib,

Heron balancing on it's perch

Glaucous Gull Blyth Harbour looking at this again this is an Iceland Gull the bill colour was what first caught my eye, but head shape wrong and tail projection too long

Iceland Gull

Posing for us at the end of the day, not more than a few feet away.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

9-02-09 Blyth Estuary/Cresswell & those Bitterns again

Monday the 9th I started off at Blyth Estuary but the tide was already well in 5 Mergansers near the boats, and Goldeneye up river , but I wanted to check the settling pools area there is some good rough ground here but all I had was 3 Meadow Pipits, mallard on the fenced pool and a couple of Snipe lifted the yard where the gulls roosted was empty .

Called in at Cresswell to get the Pintail and the hope of seeing the Bittern, walked into the hide and this guy said Bittern in the scope have a look and there it was right in the open cracking view not even had time to put my gear down, got settled in ,Barn Owl to the East of the hide ,Water Rail calling to the front and Bittern still showing in the background , my eyes darting around camera in hand , would the Bittern fly , would the Water Rail show, would the Barn Owl come nearer, actually it was all three, but I missed the Bittern when it did fly, and I missed the Barn Owl later as it came across the pond right past the hide , but I got the Water Rail, even got a digiscoped shot , plans to go further up the coast put to one side I was here till dark, I had some of my best views of Bittern to date apart from one at Leighton Moss years ago, when approaching a hide someone said a Bittern seen from the hide got in and looked out to find one feeding about 12 feet away my old bins wouldn't even focus on it.

As the light faded which was a pity as it been a bright sunny day the bird came even nearer going into the reeds for awhile as it went around a Heron, not seen any interaction with them yet, I tried to video it as light was too poor for my camera, its a bit dull but it does show it feeding as does the still ,it was slowly putting it's bill in but not probing just holding it there , turning it's head from side to side fascinating

......................another cracking day at Cresswell

This must be one of the most photographed Barn Owls in the County

Got the Pintail, looking a little lost .............. also Scaup in the small open pool

I have heard them often and seen them often, although mostly as they dart for cover, but I have yet to see and hear one call !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Water Rail from the hide Cresswell

It even sat for a digiscoped shot this is the uncropped frame.

The first bird chased this one off after a brief fight, it was all over in a flash !!!

No that's not a piece of pipe it's walking on it's ice ,the pond well frozen although the edge seems OK

Another digiscoped shot , not that sharp as it's on a slow shutter speed , I was going to scrap it till I saw the bill to the left side, this is how it was feeding holding it still but turning it's head from side to side, could it possibly be using it's light coloured bill as bait or lure.

Digiscoped video late afternoon its a bit dark, but it does show the bird feeding...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

7/8-02-09 Killingworth Lake, mega trip

Lazy weekend for me did not get out much called in at Killingworth Lake Sunday mostly frozen as was hoped but the Goosanders where still just a bit too far , around the other side a small pool was full of duck being fed by a lady, included where some male Goldeneye they looked close in so we went around but just a few yards away the lot took off,

This is what a Pochard looks like without it's head tucked in...........

A prize off a brand new Canon 50D for the first person to guess that this is a Goldeneye, oh!! sugar Ive just given the answer , so that will be me then.