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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Sat 27th March Newbiggin -Druridge

Saturday another run up the coast first I called in to Newbiggin for a walk along the coast then through the golf course, no gulls in the bay and just a handfull along the coast , a couple of Wheatears on the golf course and a group of Meadow Pipits , Cresswell I just gave the top end a look over the field but nothing for me , Druridge again about 40 Tufted , and lots of Teal on the wetlands a raucous few hundred Black-headeds with 2 Adult Med gulls dropping in , the Black Redstart still behind the plantaion though very mobile , 3 Wheatears also here and about a dozen meadow Pipits.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Cresswell To Druridge

Through the week I had a run through to Cresswelll & Druridge was hoping for Wheatear but no, Druridge had about 45 Tufted, and a few Gadwall also a single Great Crested Grebe and 2 Little Grebe, with the flooded fields holding many Teal some Shoveller and about 20 Snipe , a field on the double bend had a flock of about 50 Meadow Pipits , Pinkfeet still around , Chiffchaff my first for the year near Woodhorn flash , but on the whole another quiet day
Woodpigeon having a bath in the garden before I left, common sight now but not always been the case.
Gadwall the only bird to come near enough to photograph
Little Owl sitting out in the gloom

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

March 19th Harwood Forest

  • Friday the 19th from home it seemed the ideal weather to go back to Harwood to cycle some of the tracks , but when I got there it was blowing hard from the West, well I was there so what else to do other than get on the bike , up past Redpath checked an old sheep enclosure for any sunny spots that may attract Adder , the sun was warm but the gusty wind cool to cold , on to Fallowlees , tree felling in this area so I moved straight on, Frogs a plenty in the roadside streams packed with Spawn, Fallowlees Lough looking rather bleak and mostly frozen, on over Newbiggin Burn which was flowing fast and up towards Chartners complete with new UPVC windows and work being done around the back , so it must be a holiday home a nice looking place in an open location. I went around the side and up to the edge of the forest to look over the open moor a single Meadow Pipit,back onto the track via Darden Rigg a lot of clear felled area here so you could see over to Darden Lough down towards Tod Knowe a section here still had plenty snow about 18"drifted to 2' in parts but it soon opened up again , I stopped and scanned at any suitable spot but nothing eventually getting back to the car late afternoon , to find a forest ranger waiting for me to have a word , "I was parked in the wrong area."
Plenty of Crossbills, and Siskins but no raptors other than a single Kestrel ,it was to be expected given the weather , it was a very hard slog against the strong wind , but I enjoyed it nevertheless, my coffee and pork pies tasting fantastic after sipping water all day.
Back home a good soak in the bath took away some of the aches and pains,listening to Florence turned up loud !!! looking forward to getting back up there !!!!
From Fallowlees
Fallowlees Lough mostly frozen
Bridge over Newbiggin Burn

Not sure what this Caterpillar is
Still some snow lying in sheltered areas some very deep
Looking over Boddle Moss at the edge of Harwood
Tosson Hill
View from Darden Rigg
Darden Lough

Monday, 22 March 2010

March 18th Plessey Woods

Last Thursday the 18th I had a walk around Plessey Woods single Woodpecker drumming but only briefly ,Nuthatch very vocal and active , Long Tailed Tits, as well as Great & Blue Tit but only in small numbers, the river flowing fast and nothing on the stretch I walked ,lots of new growth coming through most I could not ID in these early stages, a quite but pleasing walk .
This stream must be fairly recent to now come under the tree, the bed is sort of shale so will take some time to go any further , it looked interesting , I climbed up to get a closer photo ,and found a small old bottle .
Several of these sculptured small trees one right down to the base

Monday, 15 March 2010

March 15th Winters Gibbet & Harwood

Sunday I had the day to myself and being bright & sunny with a bit of a breeze I headed for Winters Gibbet near Harwood , its a smashing drive up but as soon as I got out of the car you could feel the cold and much stronger wind , Siskins along the wood edge and briefly Crossbills which later came and sat on and around the gibbet , a few Buzzards flying and a single Goshawk soared higher and higher , later a short walk around a section of the forest Siskins looking stunning in the strong light, Goldcrests and Chaffinch,plenty Frogs in evidence , M.Hp later told me he had an Adder taking advantage of the sun I have never had one this early, not being geared up for a long walk and with the intention to come back for a day with the bike and get deeper into the woods. I headed off stopping at a couple of places Buzzards well evident in the area sitting on posts and one or two soaring , a flock of about 100 Fieldfares crossing in front of me and dropping into a field , but then the rain came and I thought it was time to head back
It was great to see some Crossbills drop in
They have a top heavy look , as though it will tip forward at any time !!
Picked out this Squirrel before he saw me ,but then it was up the tree !!!
It was great he did not skip off, but just eyed me with caution
Now he's got bored with me as something else gets his attention & I leave him to it !!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

March 13th ............a day of numbers

Well its Saturday , where to go, where to go , I was later getting out again the cars can probably find its own way up the coast just lately ,but for a change I thought I would go via Linton Pond not been for awhile , passing Woodhorn I got my eye on some Geese so pulled over a bit of away off so I scope them, Greylag, Canada, and about 25 Pinkfeet, with a single Barnacle and the 4 Whitefronts still with them , I sometimes call in to QE11 lake I have had Glaucous & Iceland here before , but today I just passed by, going over to the Linton road a flock of 40 Whooper in a small pool by the road , so I got a couple of shots just from the car so as not to spook them.
The track down to the hide at Linton is a sun trap and it was very warm here the pond held c80 Wigeon, c40 Teal, 35 Tufted, a couple of Shoveller & Gadwall and a male Goosander, only about 40 Black-headed Gulls ,with Bullfinch in the small wood.
Cresswell just behind what used to be the cafe about 350-400 Pinkfeet not to far off so I scoped them again in the hope of Taiga Bean but no !, I passed the carpark of Cresswell as it was to nice a day to sit in the hide and decided to check the sea ,just taking the scope 2 Reed Buntings landed not 6 feet away on the fence then dropped onto the ground and back onto the fence , its the curse of having a camera ,lug it around all day and get nothing leave it in the car and you miss something, as it was there was nothing on the sea , but just to tease me a little more, now just feet away 2 Stonechat, a Meadow Pipit and a Reed Bunting in a little group on the gate posts beside the car.
West Chevington called along here before going to the pools at East Chevington , pulled over and scanned picked up a couple of Buzzards in the distance so got the scope out, to find a total of 8 birds , the most I have seen in one group , 2 Fieldfare & the first Stonecrop in flower along the ditch an unusual plant in that the flower comes before the leaves
East Chevington just hung around the obs platforms and was rewarded with a total of 4 Short Eared Owls & a Sparrowhawk to end the day .
40 Whoopers along the Linton road

Stonecrop, Sorry that should be Coltsfoot (which is what I meant)
This bird sat just along the road from the platform , but the light fading fast now.

I seem to have put the wrong image here !!!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

March just ticks over..................

This week I can't remember just where I have been I did go to St Mary's on the bike a couple of times and also back to Druridge Bay ,most of the duck on the fields south of the track, still plenty Teal and several Shoveller 30 odd Tufted and a very large Otter spooked everything it went onto the small island for a second or two ,back into the water and disappeared, it was good to see Teal so close to the Oddie hide unfortunately your looking into the light ,no sign of any Geese ,and no sign of any Twite only 3 Red Throated Divers on the sea and a few Wigeon ,with 1 Stonchat on the fence of the dunes, Cresswell had 8-10 Tree Sparrow down the track to the hide the water level having dropped exposing the sand bank, and attracting Curlew Redshank & Lapwing .
Thursday I came across some Newt fencing , not the most attractive stuff I have seen about 1 mtr high used to confine in this case Great Crested Newt or other creatures, also used to confine prior to moving snakes etc, from a site due to be developed, not something I have seen before , but obviously a search on the net shows it is very commonly used , I remember the days when Newts where very common and could be found in most ponds , or is my memory wrong and they were even then on the decline.
I had to go to Cramlington so I called in at West Hartford 40 plus Teal and a couple of Gadwall with a dozen Oystercatchers, I took a detour to get to the water without spooking eveything only to have a Heron fly low over the water lifting the lot and they all settled out of sight , no small birds of any sort here this day , but it does have the potential for anything to drop in , I wonder what its lifespan will be as development can not be far away !!!!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

March 4th East & West Chevington etc:

March 4th Thursday I drove up to East Chevington passing a flock of Swans towards Linton I stopped and scoped them thinking they may be Whoopers alas all were Mutes , drove passed the huge flock of Pinkfeet but it was hard to see them with the hedge, not wanting to spook the lot I scoped them from the parking area no sign of any Bean Geese, gave the area about an hour or so spending more time talking than birding , yet another sunny day yet not much around, eventually decided to move on driving back down the track I couldn't believe what I saw , a car parked in one of the gateways where birders usually stop, so I glanced over and there they where a couple "at it". Why on such a nice sunny March day would a couple be "at it" down a track to nowhere, she was in the back seat and he outside both had dusters in hand she was polishing the inside and he buffing the outside pointing out bits missed !!!!! I ask you !!! where I live car cleaning is carried out at the privacy of your own home and only on Sunday.

Anyway checked out the West Chevington area and picked up a Buzzard sitting on a post not to far away so I tried to digi it, just got set up and off it went to sit in a tree , picked another up along the main road got a couple of shots before it went and sat on a treetop, passed Cresswell and stopped at Woodhorn flash to get the Whitefronts , they all took off but just circled and landed on the water
One minute it was just overhead the next sitting on a tree, at least I think it was the same bird

Whitefronts at Woodhorn South flash

Some digi shots as they milled about on the water eventually walking back over to the field.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

March 3rd ...........on your bike

I decided to cycle to St Mary's island via the tracks very uneventful as it happens ,the only few birds I saw was a few Sanderling and a Grey Plover at Collywell Bay , a Kestrel near the butts and a couple of Fulmars sitting on the sea ,when I got to the wetland still about 40 Teal present , looks like I miss timed the tide as it was already fairly high a flock of Knot 160 in total near the causeway , the tide coming in seems hardly moving at times but today it was pushing in fast ,I had to keep moving so as not to get swamped, but as usual as the causeway covered someone came around from the lighthouse paused in horror as he saw the water his only option to wade through ,with the inevitable onlookers .

Saturday, 6 March 2010

March 2nd the woods

Tuesday the 2nd March and yet another bright sunny day has Spring arrived , I went up to Plessey Woods area for a walk through the woods Great Spotted drumming , and just an air of renewal Snowdrops still looking bright and fresh and took some time trying to get some real close ups of them but found they where all slightly out of focus on the monitor , just enjoyed the walk masses of Ramsons just poking through, I like this plant with its clean white flowers, this year I have been in the garden and noted the Lords & Ladies is also just coming through, 2 Mergansers on the river which was flowing very fast and looking very murky, 3 Treecreeper just keeping ahead of me the sun was very warm in the open areas given the shelter of the trees, a very nice walk , I will have to get out earlier if this keeps up.
As the sun had moved over leaving me in shade I decided to stop at St Marys Island , walked along to the Briardene carpark and the adult Med gull dropped in showing most of its black hood, I also found it later in the north bay with 100+ Black headed, much colder now on the coast and the tide was high I had just come down a little to late, Teal & Gadwall on the wetland along with 80+ Redshank roosting and 186 Curlew in the field just off the track..........a good day out for a change !!!
These are just fabulous little birds and quite feisty when they have to be !!!! I would love to see those northern ones

Marsh Tit which is always nice to see, getting harder than it used to be .
Trying one of those arty shots , you can see what I was after but its not quite working !
Coal Tit I usually get these in the garden
Nuthatch another favourite very common at times.
This is the same bird as below but looks to have much less black on its head a trick of the light
Why this adult should haunt this carpark is a mystery there used to be one at Blyth beach carpark but that has not been seen for some time perhaps its the same bird !!