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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Killingworth Lake-Whooper !

Called at Killingworth Lake  on Tuesday 29-3-11 only the one male Goosander present about 60 Tufted Duck ,2 Great Crested grebe, a few Pochard my first lesser Black-backs of the year and still around was the Whooper Swan,I had scanned for it on arrival but thought it had gone walking the roadside path there it was just near the edge ,it seems to have a hint of juvenile plumage on its  back  I wonder if it is a youngster that strayed from the rest and just settled here ,it does have a ring on which I managed to get a photo of unfortunately just the section with the BTO address if anyone has further details I would be interested, no sign of any Goldeneye today usually a good spot for them . (Apparently the Whooper Swan was ringed at Killingworth  in January this year, thanks to Ian fisher for the information)  

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cresswell pond 28/3/11

Stopped off at Woodhorn area to look for the Greenland White-fronts which were in a field with Pinkfeet & Greylag  ,5 birds and also a European one took a few photos they seemed settled here with plenty of eyes to watch out as they feed about 12-15 Pinkfeet in with the flock.
Cresswell the next stop, American Wigeon  picked out near the pool edge although distant, about 120 Pinkfeet in the field next to the hide and a single Brent Goose with them , a pair of Mergansers on the pond the male with bouts of display as where some of the Goldeneye only 2 Snipe noted they are thin on the ground these days, not seen any Otters around for some time either, used to be seen regular here. A Heron took an Eel by the sand bank and after making very sure it was dead swallowed it actually swallowed it about three times as it kept coming back up ,it then spent a great deal of time trying to clean its bill in the water and a couple of times pushing it in the sand. very pleasant day adding some decent birds to my Birder on the Bus list. 

 Greenland White-fronts Woodhorn area

Eurasian White-front Woodhorn area. 1st Winter?

 American Wigeon Cresswell pond

Single Brent in with the Pinkfeet Cresswell pond a bit hazy looking into the light although the American Wigeon came onto the grass much nearer the haze was to strong.

 With many determined pecks and a few spearings the prey succumbed sort of ! when you watch Otters eat them they do it with such ease.

 Cresswell Pond looking West the Wigeon flock is just left of the fence
Cresswell Pond looking onto the sand bank, road and dunes beyond

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Bird Twitter

I was out one day on the bike just with my bins I stopped to look in some treetops a guy asked me if I was a "Bird Twitter ", which I had to smile at he must have meant Twitcher as anyone with bins is one according to the press etc:, even heard the term used in historic TV dramas long before the term was actually coined ,I have no idea when this was nor even care, but as this chap told me of all the rare birds he had seen in the area  I kept looking into the trees , "are you listening " he asks yes I said trying not to laugh at the phrase "Bird Twitter" going through my head. Lately I have given it some thought perhaps this guy was more hip than I  thought ,what is Twitter I hear the term a lot , also facebook and a host of other sites , I used to think I was keeping up with new innovations etc., but reality is I do not have a clue about this rapidly moving world of the social nitwork . Years ago I had to make the decision to either buy a Betamax or VHS recorder  ( these where an electrical device to record from your TV onto magnetic tapes ) I paid about £480 for a Betamax thought to be the better quality format go figure !! , So perhaps I will wait and see what happens to Twitter and the rest  before I look any further, in the mean time does anyone want to buy a Betamax Video recorder I 'm sure there is also some original tapes probably with some episodes of  programmes long forgotten  !!!!!  

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Whitburn Coast 25-3-11

Spent another sunnyish day  a bit colder and at times overcast but it is still only March , walked along the coast starting at Seaburn to  Whitburn then Souter Lighthouse , I do like the coast and I like the different aspect of this coastline with its rock formations sheltered bays and great views , birds very thin on the ground but this was a walk to get to know the area a bit better ,put the places to the names ,Whitburn Steel, South Bents, Whitburn obs, I shall be over more this year 
Souter Lighthouse National Trust
 I think this is Wherry Bay looks like there has been some pipeline lain not the blue stuff but a wide track and those boulders look like they have been placed on top of it, not sure what the group in the gap where up to Geology students perhaps all in hard hats and life jackets, this is also the bay they trap Storm Petrels in later in the year but at about 1am in the dark with some very large Rats around it has a different feel to it !!
 Souter in the distance everything looks a long way off as you can see so far up the coast , but in reality its not far to walk.also a great coast to cycle with easy access all the way to the Ferry.

 This fish in the middle of the path, it was pointing out to sea which  denotes that Saturday will be dull with light rain  !!!!!!!
All these bays will have local names how long has the sea taken to create this 
The Whitburn Seawatch hide (the one on the left) it does have elevation with fantastic vista and an impressive record .I have not seawatched from here yet perhaps this year .

As usual I have put the photos in the wrong order this is the area looking towards Whitburn Steel 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

On the Bus again !!!

17th March A walk around Newbiggin via the west side of the Golf Course then Beacon point the tide high and a group of pipits on the seaweed up to 10 birds and I picked out 4 birds that had the look of  Littoralis  but all keeping either their distance from me or each other constantly chasing each other from their chosen spot, a quick look in the bay on the way back 4 Med Gulls on the beach 
 2 of 4 med Gulls in the bay

 2 Dunlin in a small left behind as the tide fell

18th March Another bus trip this time to Amble then I walked down to Cresswell for the bus home its a long walk not much to show for it but it was another fantastic day its just good to be out 
 only added a single Siskin on the feeders,unable or unwilling to carry the scope all this way I was unable to give East Chevington and Cresswell a good look over , Red Throated Divers in the bay and a small movement of Gannets north.
 Looking back at Amble single Common Scoter in with the Eider here
 Coquet Island which despite being so near I have never been on yet !!
Lapwing on the slopes from the Tern Hide ,plenty of Feral Geese this reserve has been dubbed the "Goose Farm "
 Hauxley was the lunch stop giving me time to count the 148 Curlew roosting on the island also a Bar Tailed Godwit to add to my bus list
Spot the birds ,2 grey Partridge hide in what looks like hardly a dip in the ground ,I had not seen the one on the left till I looked at  the photo, a small flock of Linnets also  here with a couple of Twite in  which is why I was scanning the ground for them  , 30+ on my last visit

21st Started with another visit to ST  Mary's but it was rapidly obvious  there was not mush around the waders pushed off the rocks which included a couple of Purple Sandpipers  so I headed towards Tynemouth for a walk along to the Fish Quay ,lots of Butter Burr in flower a very large patch  along the steep grassy hillside ,nothing of note at the Quay so I got the ferry across and a bus along the coast to Whitburn just to work out how to get there but  by this time it was late afternoon 
Photos out of sequence this is the  Fish Quay from the ferry 
 Curlew leaving the rocks as high tide pushes the waders off, the prom is one of the best places to see this
 Large patch of ButterBurr near Tynemouth
 This rather tatty Comma sunning itself on the path
 Tynemouth Castle from the Ferry

22nd took the bus to Newbiggin  started off in the bay only one med Gull seen though the tide was well out walked along the beach to Beacon point but it was not till I headed back saw my first Wheatear of the year and on the bus list, it was in no mood to hang around and headed north along the beach , picked up 6 or so pipits but they just flitted overhead and back along the beach also , high tide is a much better time to get a good look at them. Stopped off at Ashington for the Waxwings sitting atop a small tree and dropping onto some berries across the road , just getting the camera out the bag and they had gone waited around but they did not return ,plenty of berries though so they should hang around .

My first Wheatear of the year

 Always lots of Dog Whelk shells in the bay ?
 Looking across to Beacon Point Newbiggin, several signs of old trees along the shore this the best example of  I suppose an ancient tree, Cresswell beach has an excellent showing of tree stumps but only seen occasionally.

23rd another sunny day  with a walk along the coast to St Mary's Island stopped at the cliffs to get some close up flight shots of the Fulmars only to find not one around nor further along in the next bay , the wetland had a few teal Mallard, Redshank and 2 Snipe not seeing many Snipe around, 5 Purple Sandpipers and 3 Knot with the numerous Sanderling, Redshank and Oystercatchers on the rocks as the tide came in 4 Pied Wagtails and a few Pipits along the links beach could not get anywhere near them.
 Low tide view of St mary's Island

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Birder on the Bus

Twite digiscoped ,slight camera shake with the wind the links at Druridge

Well I have reached (actually past ) the age when I am entitled to a Bus Pass so this year I am going to see how many birds can be seen using public transport including the Metro which I also have a pass for ,a couple of trips out to get me started visiting  Morpeth ,Fish Quay, Amble-Cresswell  & Newbiggin .
My motives are more Mean than Green Warrior given the outlandish cost of petrol,but I am sure it will reduce my carbon footprint,this weekend I was supposed to be going over with the NTBC to Kielder but I now see the date was changed from the 20th to the 19th so it looks like I have had that ,I think that area  will be out of reach via public transport .Its not just for birds, should be able to cover many ponds over the Summer looking for Dragonflies hopefully walking between sites then hoping on a bus back home , I have assembled a pile of timetables for the area if anyone else has done something similar I would be interested to hear.
I have a few photos to post later from outings to date and a tally of sightings which obviously at the start increases easily but some like a visit to the Fish Quay did not produce anything given the fact that its fairly quiet time of the year anyway, also I can't see me waiting for the bus to Cresswell when something Mega turns up there or anywhere else for that matter,I'm only human.
A major problem birding on the coast is the crowded beaches it may look empty but actually there are three people in the distance !!!! should have got there earlier.
Only two bike tracks and a few footprints to spoil the scene , all with a low carbon footprint (at least till they get back to their huge 4X4)
It was a scene like this when I saw what I thought was a very large dead ?  Seal on the shoreline,so I headed off into the distance to get some close-ups ,I walked and walked it did not seem to get any nearer and this was opposite to the direction I was going , kept looking through the bins till eventually I realised it was a large rock that now looked nothing like a Seal so I could't even string it .