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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Whitethroat and Grasshopper.........Friday 23 rd |April

Friday was warm and sunny early on so I cycled to Holywell ,lots of Willow Warblers & Chiffs only one Wheatear and the odd Swallow over ,first Whitethroat of the year for me at Holywell, and Grasshopper Warbler , F Goosander still around no sign of GCG, mid afternoon the 6 0r so Swallows increased to over 60 Swallows ,Sand martins and a couple of House Martins again my first of the year,the flooded field is drying out fast and I have yet to see anything other here than Oystercatcher or Redshank, there was 80 or so gulls using the pool so it will dry out even sooner,although they will also help to make it larger.
The weather changed sharply late afternoon and turned cold with a slight mist.
This Whitethroat in exactly the same place as last year

If you do happen to see Grasshopper Warbler this is usually the best view you get
In full reel........................for some superb photos of Grasshopper Warbler check out these at JM 's blog.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

20th April Jack Snipe & more Wags

The message of a Jack snipe showing at Cresswell saw me arrive at the hide with all my gear including the flask ready for a long session, I have seen many jack Snipe but never had a really good look at one , to my surprise it was showing although at first very hard to pick out it did come more into the open very briefly, what a cracking little bird as it worked the ground bobbing along like a clockwork toy .
The Black headed Wagtail was reported as being at the north end again , long with the Blue-Headed /Yellow Wagtail hybrid, they both showed well although to distant for my lens, at least 8 Yellows along with White & Pied also 2 Common Sandpiper ,it was another windy day and very cold exposed on the causeway ,the strong wind caught my tripod and the lot tipped into the pond , I grabbed it quick the water gushing from the sun shade and open case, what a disaster !!! tried to get the case off but you have to take the eyepiece out so I dried it best I could hanging it on the fence to let the wind help,I used it again later and it seems OK .Thankfully Kowas are a well made scope.
Went on to Druridge to have a look at the 90 Black tailed Godwits quite a sight in the afternoon sun more dropped in and I got to 115 before some left again , later 20 dropped into Cresswell , where apparently the Black headed had again went out of sight, a bit frustrating for those that had yet to see it.
White Fronted Geese along with a few Pinkfeet still in the Woodhorn area as I drove up.
Cryptic with a capital "C" that's Jack Snipe for you
crop of the above
a few seconds in the open then back to feeding in cover , a bobbing dazzler !
I dont shoot in RAW but wonder if I could have improved these if I had
A tiny bird still some way off so another very heavy crop
Just another quick shot as it dropped on the path
part of the Black Tailed Godwit as they wheeled around 115 in total
Taken through my scope not long after being fully immersed in Cresswell Pond !!!!

Monday, 19 April 2010

That was the week that was...........ending with a nice wag !!

This week I have had problems with the blog being denied access for some infringement or other ? but it seems sorted now.
Anyway just around up of the week, had my first Willow Warbler near Morpeth on Sunday and also my first Butterflies Tortoiseshell , Peacock, Large White, Monday started off at Blyth estuary 150+ Redshank ,40 Shellduck, and 2 Bar tailed Godwits, on to Cresswell and then cycled to Hauxley Willow Warblers at Druridge and Hauxley, 3 Swallows over, 44 Curlew and 4 Bar Tailed also 3 Mergansers , just a pleasant day out out on the coast , the rest of the week I cycled three times through too Holywell the St Marys , as much to save petrol as anything , as that is all I seem to spend money on just lately oddly later in the week heard less Willow Warblers, Black caps singing at several locations , Grasshopper Warbler at Holywell numbers of Tortoiseshell increased in sunny spots . A pair of Great Crested Grebe displaying at Holywell .
Sunday with the weather looking changeable to say the least I delayed my plans to go to Hartehope Valley , but the message of a Black Headed Wagtail at Cresswell saw me pull up to see about a dozen birders already there, but boy was it cold lucky I have an old army jacket in the car then the rain eventually it was pouring down ,but the bird showed well and what a little stunner it was , Yellow wagtails are always great to see in the Spring but this was bonus in with the six Yellow Wags , I have looked them up again but what a nightmare to sort out , I will leave it up to much more experienced birders , also White Wag in with the pieds and a Common Sandpiper new for the year .
I also had another new tick for Northumberland while watching the bird a movement in the corner of my eye turned out to be the blogger of " From the Notebook" (aka Boulmer Birder, aaka Stewart) actually running back to his car for a camera ,as everyone was intent on looking at the wag , I was too slow and Stewart to fast, for me to photograph the action, all I could do was take a few notes , but without a photo its doubtful I will get the record accepted ,not sure if this is a County first , or just an action of being off his patch !! and slightly disorientated , but it was good to see.
Three heron feeding in front of the hide at Hauxley.

Several Blackcaps in the Dene and elsewhere.
Found this Rooks nest one of the largest Iv'e seen its got to be about 4-5' deep
However you estimate it this is one very large nest
This strange light effect at the back of the house the sun is out of shot to the left , but also a bit of other cloud that shows no effect ?
It stayed visible for some time

My efforts of The Black Headed wagtail, does not do the bird justice , cracking little bird,

Yellow Wags coming a little closer , but the rain and cold persisted ,yes its definitely Spring !!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Friday 9th April Harwood Great Grey Shrike

Fridays weather seemed ideal to try for the Great Grey Shrike(found by Abbey meadows for the second year running) deep in Harwood forest, took the bike up and cycled through to the area where the bird has been hanging out, two birders already there, I did not want to just roll up and have it pointed out but nor did I want to wait hours to see it , as it happened it had been seen but not for 1/2 hour , and it took me over 2 1/2 hours to finally pick it out sat right at the top of a pine tree where it sat for some time , and another birder turned up just in time , it flew to the top of a dead tree a little nearer and gave cracking views but by now too dull for digi, large numbers of Crossbills back and forth a couple landing beside the road.
Stonechats and Meadow Pipits also keeping me entertained , luckily I had taken my coffee etc, and just sat and enjoyed the quiet, a few Buzzards over plus Kestrel & Sparrowhawk , a single distant Goshawk,several Great Spotted Woodpeckers. and 2 Fox.

This wooden looking Fungi,

Thats the Shrike right on the top
A few Digi shots unfortunately it was by now rather dull
It sat here for so long we where able to get a little nearer
Meadow Pipit
I was puzzled by these cones, why would someone dump them just here ?.
Just a short bit of video as it sat on the tree top

Saturday, 10 April 2010

8th April Holywell Pond

Thursday I cycled via the tracks to Holywell pond three Barnacle and 12 Pinkfeet in with the local Greylags also about 30 Curlew the flash in the field with plenty of water in should last through the summer, my first Cowslips of the year ,female Goosander at the east end Swallows over , 3 Reed Buntings at the feeders ,I had missed the best part of the day it was now overcast with a very cool feel.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

7th April More petrol and a few more miles.

Another run up the coast ,the Whitefronts still at Woodhorn with Greylag & a couple of Pinkfeet ,stopped at Snab Point for a check of the sea then on to Cresswell Little Ringed Plover still present but took some finding as it was out of sight for awhile ,I hung around to see if anything would drop in then moved on to Eshott/Shaw to look for the Crane stopping at West Chevington but no Buzzards in the air, nor any sign of the Crane (report of one at Tweedmouth) plenty of very large Hares and 10 Roe Deer, I think this is a Roe Deer Skeleton but I was puzzled by the hair colour which looks very grey, I just took a couple of shots but should have looked at it closer.
Headed back to east Chevington a single Short-eared Owl ended the day.
Splash of colour with this Coltsfoot
LRP digiscoped
This looks like a Roe Deer to me although I think some parts are missing
The lower jaw just out of shot
A Short -eared owl at the South Pool and a few shots stacked together

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

4 th April Up the coast just for a change !!!!

I had intended to go back to Harwood on the bike,not heard any more on the GGS, but the weather was not looking too good and as it happened it poured down. Stopped at Woodhorn area the 4 Whitfronts still around and a couple of Pinkfeet, also 3 Chiffs, then I stopped at Cresswell to look over the top field, 2 Swallows over , a look on the sea found about 70 Common Scoter , 3 RTD,3 Shag and a Sandwich Tern. Druridge the Great White Egret still in the same pool very overcast now , a very heavy shower so I sat in the car then went onto the hides , it was looking rather grim so I called it a day.

Theres always one larking about , get back in line !!!

Another couple of digi shots.