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Friday, 25 November 2011

Tynemouth Lighthouse

This year I visited Tynemouth Lighthouse for the first time apparently it's only about 1/2 mile walk along the pier but it seems much longer ,we where allowed to go out at the top you get some fantastic views ,the first thing I thought about was what would the seawatching be like from here, but also in a heavy sea with the waves coming right over the top , not sure if I would be scared or not as it is so well build typical Victorian engineering built to last probably way beyond the years intended ,also can't help but wonder if it was rebuilt today how long would it last .
Looking up at the Lighthouse the joints are so tight and look how thick the walls are

 Some of the original drawings on the wall still

 A lot of the walls are those tile faced bricks easy to clean and reflects light
 The light itself is sitting on a bed of Mercury and although it is about 1 ton ? it is so easy to turn

 Makers plate on the light base
 Telephone probably not used to order a takeaway
 This is just under the light
 and the stairs up to the top
more steps to the stairs of the light ,and more tiled bricks

 actually the storage area although very dark was not as damp as I thought it would be , hundreds of Silverfish on the walls near here
 View from the top back along the pier
View up the river
St Mary's Lighthouse in the far distance , just look how much further you are out.
Some old Lighthouse keeper has probably got an impressive list from here with these   !!!!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Yesterday coming through Cramlington on the bus picked out some Waxwings along Horton Drive which seems to attract them every year not sure how many there was  I saw 3-4 ,but past so quickly.
Thursday 17-11-11 headed off to Big Waters to have a look at the two Bewick's Swans that have been around for a couple of days, dont think I saw any last year and the year before just two birds late in the afternoon .
One of these birds seems to have a gape in the bill more so than the other bird , Whoopers would have the odd nip at them or at least one , I counted 19 Whoopers but did not count everything  as I wanted to head next to Prestwick Carr and try and catch up with the Great Grey Shrike , it had been seen in the morning but I knew others had tried and failed and that was my fate no sign of the bird .
I did however have 4-5 Short- eared Owls , 4 Common Buzzards 3-4 Kestrels , numerous Fieldfare a single Willow Tit along the track as where numerous birders & Photographers. I also failed to get any flight shots of the owls but did get a couple as they sat around and a very short video more a silhouette , but it gives a feel of the night.
 Two Bewick's not as regular  as years past
They kept loosely together

Whooper Swans near the island Big Waters

This bird had a pronounced gap in the bill not sure if it is just the way it's holding it after feeding or slightly deformed ?

I  cant see any difference in the bill patterns of these two birds . 

Now that's a pose pity it was so far away
And finally a very short video ,just before it got too dark  !!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

More "Legs"

Is it just me but isn't it a mouthfull saying Greater Yellowlegs numerous times then add Lesser Yellowlegs into the conversation , then try saying either when your numb with the cold ...............................
What a difference a couple of days makes in birding terms, I and several others headed off to Hauxley in the semi-gloom of Saturday night in the hope of seeing this County first, just in case it  was one day wonder, I was going to say it now seems settled but I see it has relocated to Chevington again. There are now many images of this great bird ,but there is nothing better than getting your own photos .

 This one from the wader hide , as I said it was odd this is a very big hide and everyone crowded around the end window as the bird although it could not get much nearer was hidden in the corner. It did take two brief  walks out , till eventually it flew off from right beneath us .
 While looking at the Grey Phalarope , I turned to answer a comment from another birder and right in front of us the "Legs " just walking past
 I'm guessing that is some sort of snail it is about to swallow
I noticed this White- front  as I walked past it had its head up although distant, till I walked along to check it out ,where it lay prone either playing dead or doing it 's best to hide. What do you do in this situation , carrying all my gear and trying to get over the fence to check it out  seemed a non starter , having seen the geese further along , this bird was gone on my return, so lets hope it  caught up with the others  !!
I thought I had been tracking the wrong bird till I had a good look at this photo . The Redshank is having a real go at the Greater Yellowlegs , which is nearly submerged.

There where a few opportunities of flight shots but always too distant this is the best I could get as it came over to the right of the Ponteland hide

This is near as I got to the Phalarope you could see it across the pond right outside the "Eric" hide  a mass of lenses sticking out the windows  with somebody using a flash, it eventually came over but only briefly , long enough for a digi shot in the previous post.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Greater Yellowlegs & Grey Phalarope

An early start at Hauxley to catch up with the Greater Yellowlegs , I had seen it on Saturday but it was rather late in the day and no chance of any photographs. Started at the Ponteland hide and was surprised to find it empty, the Grey Phalarope still around but no sign of the "legs", scanned from the Tern hide and could see the bird just to the side of the new wader hide so I legged it around . It was odd to see this large hide with everbody huddled around the end windows as the bird was so far in the corner  you couldn't see it .   So when it did show I was unable to get the camera on it so I digiscoped it . After getting my fill of both birds I headed off to look for the White- fronts located just along the beach road I counted at least 65 -70 . Headed back to the Ponteland hide just to have my late lunch with the hope the Phalarope & Yellowlegs would come over to that side which they did to some extent ,"Erics"hide  on the far side was packed one guy to the side had his tripod over the fence while he looked through his scope on the other side  !!!!
Ended the day at East Chevington , with Green Winged Teal, Short Eared Owl and a few Thousand Starlings but they only performed briefly and all had dropped in by 10 past 4

With the hide packed I got some digi, and actually unknown at the time it's trying to cough up a pellet   !!!

I was just going to bin this one but  watching it the bird actually does cough up a pellet it's so quick

The Grey Phalarope was rather distant so again I first got some digi

Surprised with this one as I was looking at the monitor the Phalarope came into view and at one stage chased off the much "Greater" bird in size and name.

The Phalrope drops in near the Ponteland hide
65-70 and perhaps more White-fronted Geese just North of Hauxley

Friday, 11 November 2011

Blyth River

Checking along the river Blyth a few days ago The Little Egret still present also a couple of Seals near the loading dock of the long gone Bait's Pit also 3 Mergansers with two Goosanders well up river , 60 Golden plover on the spit, earlier in the day a look at Seaton Sluice only produced a single Common Scoter usually there is a small flock here and there is always the hope of something in with them single RTD also
Cresswell pond in the afternoon was a rather short visit due to some people who where very loud and insisted in pointing out the windows at things so I headed to the outflow for a look on the sea numerous Red Throats dotted about and 4-5 Pied Wagtails working the tideline

 Goosanders well up river
 Two Seals sunning themselves till the tide engulfed them
 Still a Little Egret hanging around
My last photos of the |Little Egret this one just to compare with a Curlew in the background
 Common Scoter on the sea

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Gosforth Park

Heading to Morpeth the other day I got excited seeing a Buzzard hovering low to the ground stopped and got the camera out of the boot the bird so low it's head is out of focus due to some long twigs from the hedge ,the hope of Rough legged soon dispelled and even the chance of a good photo spoiled the bird turned and disappeared rapidly. A walk along the river East & West did not produce much more than Black Headed Gulls and Mallard on the river
 A couple of views from the feeding station at Gosforth park

 Fungi frothing from this tree !!!!
Treecreepers are just too far for my lens but cracking little birds to see !!!!

One of three Water Rails seen also a Grey Squirrel , not seen any red in Northumberland for awhile. Little Egret just S/W of the reserve

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Time to put something new on type post !!

I thought it about time I put something on this blog to bring it more up to date this is a right assortment of photos some from "My Phone" as opposed to  an i phone , which I find handy to get that shot which you can't be bothered to get the camera out for , I wont bore you with full frame shots of the recent Firecrest and Yellow -Browed's  you'll be sick of those by now, so here are some full frame photos most taken with my phone (which is unfortunately is useless for digiscoping )  and probably the worst video I have posted to date of a mini murmuration , check out you tube there are loads of actual good ones 

 I was amazed at this tree growing and adapting to it's environment presume it was a  sappling that grew up between the bars but has now engulfed them ,perhaps it needs the "iron". So amazed was I that I did not even note the species.  
 Blackcap at St Marys Island
 Lesser Scaup still at Marden Quarry
 The digger clears a channel at Cresswell  then starts to drive up behind me so I had to get up on the bank , it does not look much but that sand bar was about 6-7' feet deep , at first it seemed to gush out but as this pool emptied it slowed down some what.
 A few Cycle rides along the River Blyth Little Egret still around and I had one at Gosforth Park
One of the small burns that runs into the Blyth the water hides the supermarket trolleys and old tyres etc:

An afternoon at Gosforth Park recently and just as I was about to leave a flock of Starlings came over, here with two Kestrels amongst them , I watched rather enthralled as they swirled around the flock getting larger and larger, not one of those mega flocks you see but enough to entertain me as the sun rapidly set I  got some rather crap video with my phone and it's only about the middle that you can actually see the tight mass but it gives an idea , Must get over perhaps to the Gretna  site if it is still used this year.