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Saturday, 20 February 2010

GIVING IN TO TEMPTATION...................

Giving in to temptation in the form of Waxwings , I was determined to find my own and as such have a few places staked out, as there is not many berries around it can only be a matter time , checked the housing estate, and walking past the stream a Redshank flushed and landed on the fence of someones back garden and all I could think of was ,wow what a great garden tick that would be !!!!!!!!!. So having failed to find my Waxwings I headed to Ashington what better day than today as the sun was blazing, anyway they came in and out a few times and I got a few shots , I then wandered to where they where going after feeding on berries , it was the tallest tree around an ASH some few hundred yards away and I wondered if they where splitting up to feed but returning to the tree to re group, my theory is they split into smaller and smaller groups dictated by the amount of food ,not an earth shattering revelation I know , but there could be more birds around than first thought.
Headed to Cresswell to check out the geese they where a long way off so I headed over to the dunes and scoped the sea , the light was fantastic and picked out several Red-throated divers ,but there was a rolling swell and birds just disappeared, a Great Northern Diver flew south fairly close to shore but just went on past Cresswell.
A Microlight spooked all the geese and they re-settled near Bells farm so I headed over to check them out , the light not great as partly looking into it, some 2000-2500 birds in two flocks the nearer had , 3 Barnacle & 2 Brent, but I could not pick out any Bean Geese , although there have been Bean seen :). Nice to have a sunny day I ended back at Cresswell in the hope of Barn Owl, but no luck, at least it is still around.

My garden Rowan is laden with berries every year but totally stripped by end August , so how these are still here beats me, mine is native not sure if this is,or a more ornamental variety .

Friday, 19 February 2010

Whaffling Blogger, Whiffling Geese

Another round up of my week Sunday we had a run along to the south end of Hauxley via the Carrs road ,the place was lifting with people so I only went as far as the Ponteland hide, a Great Spotted Woodpecker along the track, but just the usual geese on the pool with the water level very high, I noticed this survey ship very close inshore . Stopped at East Chevington on the way back it was good to get two Short Eared Owls over the south pool , with two Bean Geese in with the Pinks.
Another walk locally with Barn Owl, lots of Pinkfeet over, another large covey of Grey Partridge , noticeably more birds singing now , not perhaps full song but definatley they are feeling Spring is in the air and it's good to see the days getting longer, flock of Redpoll still around though impossible to pin down, a couple of Bullfinch keeping ahead of me , a couple of TiT flocks but getiing smaller and smaller, I was actually going to head to St Mary's but it went from nice sunny day to heavy rain within ten minutes so I headed off home.
Heading up to Big Waters I picked out two Roe Deer in a field and caught sight of a Buzzard sitting on a grass hummock near the Holiday Inn roundabout so I pulled over and waited for it to lift getting a few shots in as it sat , it lifted facing the right way got one shot and .....battery flat ,they always go at the wrong time. Big Waters partly frozen still loads of Teal but most tucked away so it was impossible to check them all for the hoped for Green Winged why this is something I always look for is hard to say , but its better to check yourself than see it reported just after youve left !!!, Goldeneye and the ever present Mallard, but there is always plenty to watch at the feeding station , Siskin showing very well , the area drying out after flooding so more ground feeders showing up , not seen Otter here for sometime now ?.
Another sunny day so I headed for East Chevington with the intention of spending the day there
I have never walked around the path that encircles the North Pond so I headed off with all my gear I could see the Pinkfeet on the West side and thought I would get a better view from the north Track but as from most areas of this pond your looking into the light, actually they showed better from the road in and had I stopped in the car would have been able to look through most of them, but being on foot the y spooked as soon as I stopped to check them out, and off they went . For once it stopped nice and sunny so I checked the sea, could only pick out about 10 Red Throated Divers , 8 Red Breasted Mergansers, and only 4 Scoter, with numerous Auks, walked along to the South Pool had two Short Eared Owls and A Barn Owl, one SEO trying to pursue the Barn Owl but they went out of sight , a birder came along a said the Barn Caught a Vole and the SEO tried to mob it, three Redhaed Smew on the pool, presumed some of the ones from Druridge, I stayed till the sun set which made nice change , having been a good day out !!!!!
I forgot about the three Bar Tailed Godwits roosting in with Lapwing on the ice.
This Survey ship seemed very close in , must have a very shallow draft.
SEO over the South Pool from the top gate
This Redpoll dropped in to drink but gone in a flash.
At Least this Stonechat was willing to pose for me
Siskin BigWaters
Stock Dove
Could only get the Bullfinch on the feeders so I cropped it out.
SEO looks like its hung up on the fence but its dropping on something

Just as I was leaving picked out this one sitting on the fence but the sun setting rapidly now ,they are always great to see !!!
The same bird but just a little warmer light
And finally the setting sun , although its setting over a spoil heap , but I cant change that around here !!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Round up of the week

Just a round up of the past week ,with visits to ,Holywell pond, St Mary's Island, Druridge pools ,Cresswell Pond, Big Waters, Dinnington area,
This Herring Gull sat like this for 1/2 hour or more till it eventually lay on the ice, a session at Holywell ,large area of the pond frozen, still plenty activity at the feeders, with a male Brambling dropping in briefly
Greenland Whitefronts at Woodhorn, also two Med Gulls (ad/2nd w)
Cresswell also the water levels very high with the area in front of the hide flooded, Goldeneyes displaying nearby ,but the afternoon dull, about a dozen Yellowhammers on the track with Reed Buntings the buntings feeding from the sheep troughs,
This day was bright and sunny so I went straight to Druridge for the Smew, which where located on the far side good to say four together ,plenty of Tufted also present , and it has not taken long for birds to use the new island ,with Redshanks roosting on it , some heavy showers kept me in the hide for awhile, but I went into the Oddie hide for my coffee, plenty or Curlews around at least 100 spread over the extensively flooded fields , un fortunatly your looking into the light but it was just good to have some sun on you, I checked the bay from the dunes ,but the bitter cold wind meant I did not stay long, several Red-throated Divers was all I saw.
Checked the geese flock on the way back all I got in with them was four Barnacle Geese.

Rainbow after a heavy shower Druridge
Redshanks on the new Island at Druridge
A (short) visit to St Mary's Island, another bright sunny day so I headed for St Mary's Island to catch up with the Water Pipit again, but I soon realised just how cold it was with a bitter wind coming in from the sea, no sign of the Water Pipit, the wetland still had numerous Teal and a few Gadwall , as I headed around the prom a trip bus pulled up and loads of people headed onto the rocks , so I thought better to cut the day short ,and I headed to Holywell , walking the hedge down to the hide it was like a summers day compared with the coast , but alas not much around today .
Mink at Big Waters a fairly large animal this one , unfortunately this was the best I got
Big Waters , as I had not been for some time I thought it time for a visit ,most of the pond frozen but there was a large number of Teal around ,I estimated about 250, could have easily been more as lots where on the edge and some just in from the edge , Goldeneye & Mallard. A large croup of Siskin along the boardwalk with a male singing and a few coming to the feeders, at least there is always something to see here plenty of Reed Buntings giving great views I only wish I could draw them properly, the call of "Mink" just outside and below from the hide , its a long time since I have seen one , it must have crossed the ice and flotsam as it was dense furry black and looked stunning in the second or two I saw it before it got into the thick branches, I got a couple of photos but they turned out rubbish, but they do reveal it now looks brownish in the shade !!.
Drove home via Dinnington had a Short -eared Owl, a couple of Buzzards, several Fielfare & a few Redwings , Long-tailed Tits seem to pairing off as I saw three separate groups of just two birds.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Another Week in Winter Wonderland

Well we are into February already, with another fall of snow I have just been local the past week had a walk along to the estuary ,Fieldfares still around ,Merganser and Great Crested Grebe also , a run to Holywell which was still partly frozen a couple of areas had open water not a great deal around, also a visit to Blyth harbour no sign of the Iceland gull and it looks like there is to be no Snow Buntings here this year, with little around to tempt me too far I just kept local it was good to find a Barn owl still around and having hopefully survived the winter, a Roe deer crossed my path and for once did not make a dash for it but just looked at me with curiosity , the light was very poor and I had on my cam jacket so perhaps it was not sure.
This winter I seem to spend a lot of time looking into the garden, one day the alarm calls where sounded and everything shot up a flash across the fence so fast I thought that has to be a Sparrowhawk so I legged it upstairs just in case it either had caught something or was sitting because it had not, and there it was in the neighbours garden so I took a couple of shots through the window.
Nothing to do with birding but I watched that new Sherlock Holmes movie this week ,its nothing like the others done before , like when Watson is trying to hold onto this big villain by pinning his arms back using the guys jacket and urging Holmes to "nut him", so Holmes takes a run leaps up (the guy is very tall) and " sticks one on him"............ its funny and not a magnifying glass or deerstalker in sight .

Roe I seem to have put up two of virtually the same shot
It was good to see this Barn Owl has so far survived the winter , they seem to have been decimated in some parts of the County, I just took this shot and left it in peace
A covey of 16 Grey Partridge
Wren Holywell it was the only bird I took the camera out of the bag for
Holywell Fungi in the feeding station, the feeders are now placed high incase of vandalsim

I have done it again posted 2 near identical shots , this Sparrowhawk from the upstairs window ,who would have thought they would become a fairly common sight in town gardens !!!

Just made me smile .

This ad from the local free paper caught my eye ........and made me smile !!!!!!!!!!!