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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Blyth Harbour................24-01-2011

24th January   Another walk down to the harbour  Snow Buntings and the Red- Necked Grebe still around  as where the 2 Coots which have taken up winter residence in  amongst the yachts, I discovered I had again broken one of the leg locking brackets of my Manfrotto tripod  it grips but slowly slips ,cost me £15 for the last one , probably £20 now and there are a potential 6 to break  ,  will have to protect them in future.

 Snow Buntings 5 still around , but have not seen them on the dunes only on the fence.
 Red -Necked grebe beginning to get a red tinge to the neck ,hope it stays around for awhile yet.
 Winter Wonders in the form of Snow Buntings  nice to have them hang around.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Diver ,Grebe & Mergansers

21-01-2011  A bright afternoon so just headed down to the harbour 5 Snow Buntings , sitting in amongst the security wire atop the fence seems to be there favourite site , RN Grebe still around but to far for photos it was off the end of the stone jetty , only one colour ringed Shag to have a go at and a colour ringed Sanderling on the beach  , called in at the Harbour masters for permission to go on the middle jetty favoured by gulls including every Iceland I have seen here , but permits only issued to boat owners so it was  a no !!. Five Mergansers on the river, walking back along I stopped again to look at the Buntings  a  lady asked "anything around " yes some Snow Buntings  just on top of the fence there (20-30 ' away) no raising of the bins to have a look , not even a glance over  " got some photos when they first arrived " was the reply  " is the Grebe still around " , Yes I said just off the end of the stone jetty ( the one with dead birds,bits of bone (mostly Chicken ),  fish heads and  all sorts of  slime & gunk, with  more crap than  you can imagine and the smell wow !!!)  
A Red Throated Diver caught my eye not far from shore I only see one or two in this end of the bay , it seemed to be having a good wash but through the scope I could see fishing line it was trying to get off , you can see it on the video . 

Colour ringed Sanderling (10) first one I hve noted here
Red Throated Diver just offshore  caught up in fishing line.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Hen Harrier ......................20-01-2011

Today it was in tended to go to Prestwick Carr for the reported Hen Harrier Female , so I thought I would go to Big Waters first as I have not  been for awhile , along the boardwalk  20 + tree Sparrows and the treetops alive with Siskin 80 + checked through them as best I could looking for Redpolls. The Pond half frozen  but c60 Teal and a few Goldeneye with a single Pinkfoot in with the Greylags , the usual coming in to the feeders  it was bitter cold with a heavy frost and I thought even colder in the hide , a Water Rail showed briefly but totally the wrong settings for me to get it , light is always a problem here ,headed up to The Carr pulled over where MH was already scanning it was he that picked it up in the distance got the scope on it and it came nearer and nearer getting larger and larger in the scope passing what seem like right in front of us actively hunting looking for that last kill before dark, turning,it again passed us giving stunning views till  it went over the hedge of the lane and was lost to sight ...great end to a very cold day but well worth the wait .

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Waxwings ...19th January

19th January  went along to Holywell Pond via Cramlington  to have a look for the Waxwings only four birds present ,also a male Blackcap, the light was rather dull as is usually the case when birds are showing well , on to the pond a couple of Mistle thrush on the track but the pond held very little so I called at the harbour ,RN Grebe still round got some video but it was too shaky and noisy ,more shots of colour ringed Shags and that was another day over.

Included this as the bird has just fluffed up its feathers making it look rather bulky

 Digiscoped images
"Whats that noise ?"
"Probably just one of those tossers with a camera "

Friday, 21 January 2011

Hawfinch.................Roe Deer

!8th Tuesday decided to go up and look for the reported Hawfinch at Morpeth , I have been along this area a few times as part of a walk  from Morpeth to Mitford , the bird had been seen a couple of times that day but after about an hour no show decided to walk along to the weir , Jay on the bankside and a couple of Marsh Tits along the road  with Buzzard over , later the Hawfinch eventually sat atop some trees for us I took some digi photos which looked Ok but on the monitor a small twig in front of the bird was in focus but the bird not.
Called at West Hartford on the way home no owls but four Roe Deer , of the nearer two one sensed me or heard the shutter as it pricked its ears and began to strut in an arc coming towards me so I just took a couple of shots every few seconds I had intended to compile them into a slideshow but it does not seem to work ,it came closer and closer for some reason it could not see me ,but I thought as soon as it gets my scent it will be off , I could feel the slight breeze on my neck and sure enough as soon as it came in line with me and the breeze it was turned and off like a rocket.

Jay near the weir 
Marsh Tit along the road

Hawfinch sitting feeding  female ? also a bit of video

Strutting along, leg poised in the air as it tried to work out what was up

Just a step later it got my scent and was off !!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

First Bat of the Year

Saturday the 14th I just had a couple of hours so I headed back down to the the estuary  had a quick count of some of the roosting birds ,90 Teal, 5Goldeneye, 2 merganser, 20 Bar -tailed Godwit, 50 Curlew, 1 Grey Wagtail , I did not stay long but did notice the new fence has some panels missing  I said it would last till the better weather and i predict it will all disappear over the year.
Headed off to the harbour called at the quay for a look along the river 140 Knot roosting on the far bank. The Red Necked Grebe still in the harbour but I got no photos got a couple more colour ringed Shags and checked through the Gulls.. Just putting my digicam away when I noticed what I thought was a dark wader coming  past me heading down river , I got the bins on it and could make out it was a BAT ,to me it looked largish but it was the fairly straight and direct flight as it headed down river and then turned west over the dunes , I put a note on BIRDFORUM  hoping someone could at least give me a hint of what it could have been, it was mild  on the day but it was the location and direct flight that has me puzzled  it was certainly on the move  !!!!!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

St Marys ........and that Teal !!!!!!!!!!

13th January I was up at St Mary's Island the intention  was to look through the waders or anything else for colour rings counted 120 Sanderling with 2 colour ringed birds ,98 Dunlin and a single Bar Tailed. Up on the wetland 170 Teal and included the male Yellow-billed/ Chilean/ Speckled Teal I have seen this at Holywell but at some distance and all you could note was the bright yellow bill, but at close inspection it is a very smart looking male ,displaying vigorously to the female Teal it did seem to have secured one , despite it origins it is worth a look. Peregrine over the prom heading west, something had previously spooked everything on the pond and most of the Teal had settled on the sea.. Forty Pinkfeet over which also headed west and seemed to settle in the north bay 5 Goldeneye, 3 Fulmar on the cliffs and 2 on the sea heralds their return.

One of two colour ringed Sanderling on the south bay

Peregrine over

The well travelled Speckled Teal, with the very prominent yellow bill it has a black ridge which splays out either side very striking seen head on , go on have a look at it , you know you want to !!!!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Four Barn Owls, Red Necked Grebe, and Shags 9-11th

Sunday the 9th a run to Amble to have a look in the harbour but no Long Tailed Duck nor could I find a Med Gull , a quick look at Hauxley on the way back with little to see, but leaving the site a Barn Owl over the car stopping and checking the field was pleased to find it and another hunting over the area till they went out of sight. On to Cresswell the light fading fast  another Barn Owl near the car park and yet another further along 4 Barn Owls in the space of 20 minutes ,it's good to see they have survived the hash winter so far 
 2 Barn Owls Hauxley 9th January

The sun sets at Cresswell with another 2 Barn Owls , but too late for photos.

11th January back down to the harbour I could see the Red Necked Grebe just offshore near the pier so I walked along the pier it popped up right on the edge of the beach on the west side of the pier and incredibly as I was beside the Harbour Masters office I could see the RNG  come around the pier into the river and it swam all the way back into the harbour where I got a few more shots, also got some more colour ringed Shags and c50 Pinkfeet over. a pleasant couple of hours given there was not much around.
 Red Necked Grebe feeding in the surf by the pier
                                                                           and again as it swam back into the harbour (took it sometime)

TXD digiscoped  had no word back as yet  I will await some response before I get anymore  !!!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Slow start to the year .......8th

Slow start to the year for me decided to go back to basics of birding , trying to find my own stuff  the birding year did not start till about the 4th I was heading for the estuary but the report of Slavonian and Red Necked Grebe on the river by the quay was too tempting so much for finding my own stuff, anyway no sign of Slav a Great Crested Grebe present and what looked  to me like a RNG well up river , but stopping a couple of places further along no sign.   

4th January Great Crested Grebe (self found  :) )

5th January fully tooled up with scope ,camera, digi camera ,flask ,sarnie and a clean hanky headed for Holywell gull numbers here usually increase at this time of year so it is as good a place as any for white wingers  legged it down to the hide to find the door jammed again you have to grab at the base and work it open , opened the shutter to find the pond frozen solid and not a thing around and with little of interest coming to the feeders I headed off, passing the Beehive road stopped to scope two flocks of geese totalling some c350 Pinkfeet no collared birds or colour rings I could see,  c150 Greylag  so I decided to got  down to the harbour ,you have park near the caravan storage area and  walk in as no public car access.
Passing the yacht club area 7 Snow Buntings dropped onto the old yacht club jetty but did not hang around and where not seen again, not many gulls around , looking over to the pier I could see a couple of colour ringed Shag . Then I got my eye on a Red Necked Grebe coming up river .
5th Jan 6 of 7 Snow Buntings 
5th Jan RNG swims past

5th Jan

Took me a good couple of hours to get some shots of the Grebe

8th January headed back down to the harbour to digiscope the colour ringed Shags just cant read the letters with the scope alone, Red Necked Grebe still around took a few more snaps even tried digiscoping it but got nothing useful , no sign of Snow Buntings  a single Kittiwake and 2 Coot in the harbour.
8th Jan
One of the colour ringed Shags  (3 Blue 1 Red )

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Blast from the past

Nothing at all to do with the New Year as so far I have not been out much ,but I came across these two photos which I have sent in to the NTBC , but I thought I might as well also  put them on the blog to start the year off.. Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia 22/5/1983 Bamburgh at the time this was the 5th County record not sure what the current status is as I don't have  a full run of BIN ,also a Bee-eater over as the bird was being photographed .
Happy days