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Saturday, 28 March 2009

24-3-09 Cresswell, Druridge Otter


On the way to Cresswell the other day stopped at the flash near Lynemouth, 12+ pied Wagtails, 8 Redshanks and a hand full of gulls, with the water level dropping slightly, but it's still looking good and worth look at.

Cresswell a few in the hide still hoping for the Bitterns Water Rail showed as it travelled along the edge, and a couple of Wheatears could be seen near the north car park, but not there when I dropped in, a couple of Kestrels over , and 30 Whoopers on the water, two pairs of red Breasted Mergansers.

I moved on to Druridge Pools plenty of Teal & Wigeon from the metal hide and about 10 Herons, 30 Redshank , on the main pool 3 Goldeneye and 6 Tufted, a few mallard with a Sand Martin over the pond for awhile, just about to leave and picked up an Otter it headed to the small island , sat there and preened , I got my scope set up with the camera on but just in time to catch it dive in and away, I gave it a few more minutes and again about to leave whens some guys came in and I said you just missed the Otter, but up it popped again and again went onto the island getting some video when what looked like two Common Sandpipers flew over the SE corner circled but just flew off . Over to the West a flock of some 2 hundred small birds kept lifting too far even for the scope,probably Linnets .
Must have good eyesight to see fish from here
I have seen lots of Otters in Northumberland now but still get a thrill with every one !!!!
Just got the gear set up to see it dive in only a 4.5 or this one , the next one a little better 6.0 perhaps

video video
video

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

22-23 -3-09 A trip West of the County

Sunday a visit to the Roman Wall area but it was blowing rather wild, called in at Grindon Lough to try for the White Fronts, 50+ Canada & 30 odd Greylag, with about 100 each Teal & Wigeon, lesser Black-back, and a few Black headed, with 6 Whoopers that flew off North, stopped here Monday also still no sign of the White fronts, but Peregrine sitting along the edge. A walk from Once Brewed over to peatrig past Greenlea Lough ,which has a new boardwalk and hide, not sure what gets here nothing on any of the loughs (Broomlee & Crag ) I could see, the water well churned up with small white topped waves ,back up and along the wall on the Pennine Way, I never thought to take my camera ,for those that have not visited this area, the view looking back to the Wall is stunning, as you get to see a good section as it snakes along the crest , so I will visit again with camera and wide angle lens.
Monday I headed further over towards Whitfield Moor then Acton Moor , Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover, all over but the wind still blowing very strong, had another Ermine Stoat cross the road I stopped in the hope of seeing it go along the wall but it had disappeared, Black & Red grouse, Red Legged partridge added to the list, very large Hares here , there is a huge amount of Industrial Archeology in this area I came across one of these flues that I had read about , they go along the ground to a high point and a chimney, given the wind strength the outflow must have settled well to the East , two days of being blown around , and it was time to go home ,an area well worth a visit , the views and atmosphere is brilliant.
Another chimney on the skyline


Not sure what this site was used for






Standing on the flue looking to a collapsed section







I think this was used to draw the smoke etc: along the flue , would you go in !!!

Couldn't resist a look in the flue ,loads of bones scattered around , not human as I could see



Showing the costruction of the flue




This flue leads to the chimney on the top of the hill , this one looks collapsed and robbed out, I think I read one was about a mile long








This was miles from anywhere , and one of the few birds I could get close enough to photograph









Saturday, 21 March 2009

21-3-09 First Chiff of the year

Another fantastic sunny day although it was only today I saw my first Butterfly or noticed my first anyway, my garden pond is heaving with Frogs but the water looks very murky, will have to try and get some more plants in.
A report of Black Redstart at St Marys so I thought a run out on the bike again , pair of Stonechats along the dunes but no sign of Redstart for even after an hour or so, I did have my first Chiff of the year with a couple of Goldcrests, it was in the triangle , I always like to get a shot of the first one , it was singing but took awhile to get any shots of it ,but I enjoyed the time just watching it flit around , the dipping pond heaving with Toads and strings of spawn, had another look for the redstart right along to the next bay but no sign , it's probably still there just keeping well in.



being athletic in it's search for food


Stopping for a pose



I put this one in because it is leaving the branch but still has it's wings closed




And finally one showing the wing formula





Toad with Spawn in the dipping pond






Friday, 20 March 2009

18-3-09 Holywell to St Mary's

Another report of Brambling at Holywell so I thought I would cycle over via the fields ,past this flock of about 100+ Greylag and a few Lapwings all on this flooded field just shows how much water is lying around despite the lack of rain so it would be well worth checking some of these pools for waders, no Red Legged Partridge again they seem to either disappear or have all been shot and are replaced later in the year with a release.

Holywell still plenty Greenfinch on the feeders with Goldfinch and Great Spotted, and a couple of LTT through, 1st Winter Iceland dropped in for a bathe , as did the Adult Med but to far for a photo, Water Rail also on show but I still managed to mess up my shots of it.

Through the Dene and stopped at the feeders, plenty of Blue & Great Tits and also a couple of LTT, Great Spotted drumming and chasing each other around , St Mary's plenty Snipe on the wetland and a few duck, tide well out surprisingly no Pipits in the north bay , Wheatear in the paddock field at Seaton Sluice on the way past, being the first for the year.

Just one of several flooded areas in the fields on the way up




Thought I would put in a more unusual pose of Iceland as it plunged in with vigour



Wash and go




Water Rail giving good views, cracking little birds are they not !!!!






Wheatear the first of the year


2009 Year list 128 Wheatear




Thursday, 19 March 2009

17-3-09 Another tick ,must get out more !!!!

Just a few shots from another run to Swallow Pond ,there is actually some good habitat here not just for birds , some good ponds for Dragonflies,nice open areas for Butterflies, plenty Bat boxes up,the Centre has a cafe( Red Rumped Swallow behind here last year) and events of all types throughout the year, so thats my plug get the kids there ,or leave the kids behind and get yourself there, and the latest sp on SP,who's patch this is, he has a shiny new scope & matching tripod, that he carefully packs away after use, and no doubt he will find something good with it ...............good luck from me !!!!



SEO thin on the ground this year


This was as close as it came , and as good as I could get



SEO on the ground digiscoped




Little Owl Digiscoped at 18:30, and yes it was dark hence the exposure of 1 sec


2009 list 127 Little Owl, Green Winged Teal




Wednesday, 18 March 2009

13-16-3-09 White Stork Trek

Paid another visit to the Med Gull to try and get some real closeup head shots via digiscoping but just got set up again when a car drives through the lot and puts them up only to land too far off.
I found this nice fungi in the garden on an old log , now was the log carrying the fungi when I brought it home fresh cut or does the airborne spores grow on suitably dead wood.
The message of White Stork on the 16th found me at Burgham Golf Club just pulled up to see it fly off and find out it was ringed,being fed bread by the club staff , ah!! well what can I say , from here I called in at Linton but again not more than about 50 gulls so I just headed back home .
I have lots of this growing on a log that I brought home from West Hartford when a load was dumped ,you could drive up the road then, I had just got parked when a Police car pulled up to check I was not dumping rubbish . you see the same stuff all over the County, at the turning circle Druridge Bay the other day somebody had dumped a load of garden waste ,soil etc why drive all that way just to dump rubbish.

The first time I have heard a Med call , but it was just like a soft Muyow !




White Stork heading South it was just going over the car as I pulled up



So I snapped a couple of shots and it was gone..




Monday, 16 March 2009

10-3-09 Swallow to St Mary's , with the med in between

I wanted to visit Swallow Pond with the hope of seeing the Stag , I have seen it before but would like to get a photo with it's full set, but alas I went all over the place not a sign, despite everyone I met having seen it at some time or other. 5-6 Lesser Black-backs here also this one calling as it swam around, hard to hear with the din of the Black-headed's, I could not find anything to get photos of , apart from the GSW that drummed on an electricity pole ,catching the metal plate now and again ouch!!!!, they must have some skull , I gave up the quest and headed for the coast, pulled in at Briardene for the Med it's in near Summer plumage now.
Next stop St Mary's Teal and Gadwall on the sea with a few Guillemots, tried for the Water Pipit in the north bay as the tide dropped but it spent most of the time along past the sandy bay, I just got myself sat on a rock and waited for the birds to come to me.
Lesser Black-backed calling as it moved across the pond

GSW drumming , it seemed to hit the metal plate at times , as there was a distinct metallic quality to the drumming, their heads have built in shock absorbers

Briardene Med Gull near Summer Plumage








Littoralis showing slight pink tinge to the upper breast
Littoralis
Colts Foot coming through everywhere, looking rather prehistoric, flowers first then leaves.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

9-3-09 QE11,Linton. Longhirst, Bothal, Green Winged Teal

This week I am totally mixed up with the days Monday the 9th called in at QE11 lake to check out the Gulls this is where a Ring Billed is going to turn up , just feet away feeding on bread or chip scraps ,which seems to be their staple diet while in the UK, but alas not today so I headed for Linton two Buzzards on the way flying low along the hedge line near the roundabout, I don't seem to have any shots from Linton which seems to sum up the visit there, I did have 5-6 Lesser Black-backs & a pair of Oystercatchers have returned,so I head past Longhirst flash another 50-60 Gulls here with a Heron , Mallard, Teal, next stop Bothal the fields near here have several large pools on I have never seen as much water stay around for so long, the pool at the corner near the Kennels looks pretty good for waders, I found the Green Winged on the pool behind the cottages this is much larger than I have seen also , tried a couple of digi shots but the birds head always in the water, good number of Wigeon and Teal over the area also four Oystercatchers here, and another thing that is always here is a strong wind blowing from the west usually

QE11
QE11
QE11
Bothal