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Friday, 30 March 2012


I had forgotten  about taking  these,the Waxwings near Asda, I was working so just called in on passing the four birds sitting above me as I sat in the car but they would not come down till I moved . they have been thin on the ground although I have been looking , checking any berry source I could find, but as I don't use Asda  I never got around that way , not sure how long they stayed in total but numerous birders caught up with them, so that's probably it till next winter .

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Seaton Sluice/ St Mary's

15th March I took the bus and got off at the top end of Seaton Sluice to check wha'ts locally called the Donkey Field just near the football field you can see this concrete wall which is part of the Roberts Battery this is actually a fortified latrine and the square holes are for putting your rifle through, the low wall to the left must have had some heavy barbed wire all the way along , now it just has some nice Lichen, the compound and Officers Bungalow are now a private dwelling but it does have open days in i believe September well worth a visit.
No Donkeys or Wheatear's in the field but the Alpacas seem at home, single Fulmar along the cliffs single Meadow Pipit and single Reed Bunting and the theme continued down at St Mary's in the Willows a single Goldcrest and then a single Goldfinch topped off with on the newly scraped pond a Moorhen I did have two Wood Pigeon though.
Headed down to the harbour at Blyth and the highlight here was a Single Whooper swimming down the river past the piers and away out to sea   !!!!!
 The fortified latrine of Robert's Battery (actually the gun only fired once and broke every window along the front !!)
 You can see where the wire would have went at an angle 7-8' tall
 And the metal slot to put your rifle through
 There is a Bungalow through the trees which used to be for the Officers but it is a private house now
Lichen nows inhabits the wall

 Alpaccas seem at home in the steep valleys of Seaton Sluice
 St Mary's wetland and what look like feeding platforms have been erected ,the one in the background is for Sparrowhawks  complete with Wood Pigeons
 Apparantly the weed has been scraped out and the pond looks much better but I only had a single Moorhen here (views from the screen)

Whooper swan coming down the river at Blyth

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cresswell Pond/ Druridge Pools

14th March a visit up the coast  was today's plan, checked over the flash at Lynemouth .....nothing ,stopped at Snab Point checked the sea looking for any signs of Harbour Porpoise or Divers only 4 Red Throated Divers and the all white bird on the rocks turned out to be a Dove and not an Iceland Gull no sign of any Porpoise either so next stop Cresswell I headed to the hide but only gave the pond a quick scan it was too nice to be inside 10 Whooper Swan still around, no waders on the sand bar, Druridge Pools at the screen 2 Male Pintail amongst the many Teal Wigeon and a few Shoveller, with 5 Herons present  view from the Odddie Hide was just looking into the strong light , the ten Whoopers over heading NW but 10 minutes later they came back over . A look on the sea from the dunes produced 14 RTD,3 Mergansers and 20+ Common Scoter oddly there was only about 10 people on the beach from Cresswell right through as far as you could see

Friday, 23 March 2012

River Blyth to Humford Woods

12th of March it started as rather a dull day so I caught up with some work at home but mid afternoon it got out rather nice so I cycled along to the river starting at the settling pools , another pool is being created but apart from one Moorhen nothing else noted no scope with me so I did not do any serious counts but Shellduck very evident about 60 along the far shore, 30+ Teal a few Mallard 40+ Curlew and very numerous Redshank with a few Bar -Tailed Godwit. Cycled to the rail bridge no Goosanders or Mergansers a couple of pairs of Long Tailed Tits ,Great Spotted Woodpecker , it was so pleasant I continued on through Attley Park to Humford Woods, Grey Wagtail on the river , GSW drumming ,Nuthatch, Treecreeper numerous Great & Blue Tits, just what you would expect, Dogs Mercury and Ramsons coming through  .Crossed the stepping stones and pushed the bike up the rather steep hill onto the footpath . Checking all the trees along the wood edge as they look perfect for Owls I noticed in the distance blue lights and sticking through the hedge a car so at least I was going to get a photo for the day never thought it would be of a Mercedes on and through a hedge !!!, had a look at the pool behind the recycling centre but only a Coot present it does look rather grim.
(There is a track that runs past Humford Mill to near Plessey Woods but it can be very muddy although as it is also the quieter stretch it can be more rewarding with open areas to look for plants and flowers.)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Warkworth Gut

A lazy day out starting at Amble Harbour no sign of any Med Gulls so around to The Braid  we like to sit here and have our coffee looking over to the Gut , there had been a wintering Spotted Redshank  here so I thought we would have a look around , there is a reasonable sized car park and toilet facilities , walking along the track it turns to the right or you can go straight on and will come onto the breakwater into Amble Harbour , its hard to see what has been done as I think it's just been a light scrape , but there is a new much more substantial bridge over leading to a decking area giving views over the whole area. near the bridge a few Teal Mallard , Redshank and a dozen or so Snipe ,but over towards the river huge numbers of Wigeon more Teal  and lots of waders ,well it was a nice sunny afternoon so I opted to watch the tide come in and see how far it covered the area, in it came rushing through the bridge supports , the flocks of birds getting tighter and tighter, I was quite surprised at just how far it covered the area easy to see as your up on the hill it was still on the rise when I had to go , It's a pity there is no access to the headland looking over to the river as that is where most of the birds gather. No sign of the Spotted redshank ! 
An old Lawnmower languishes in the mud not sure if it's an old Atco or perhaps Qualcast ?
Looking South to Amble
The new Bridge I think the previous one was just a couple of planks.

And looking North those are Teal in the forground

The tide turns and you would think perhaps that's as far as it will go
Through the bridge
and giving a shallow covering over the grass land
But no it's covering quite a large area
And it's still pushing hard through the bridge.
Covering more of the grass land so there will be no Vole population here, the decking rails in the foreground this gives good views of the area , although most birds are much further South.
And still it comes
And comes
It was still rising when I left !!!,  I cut through the Caravan park to see if there was any to hire , I think a few days here would be very pleasant at the right time of year.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Holywell Pond

A visit to Holywell pond to catch up with the Egyptian Goose last week , I wasn't really that keen  other than I want't to get it on my Blyth valley list, the said bird was located as a sort of ginger lump  lying head tucked in surrounded by Geese so that ticked I had a look in the hide a mute swan nearby so I tried some digi  only trying to get its head in. Next stop the east hide plenty birds around so I did a bit of a count , I couldn't count the geese as the view was through the trees but on the shore 110 Black-headed,30 Common,40 Curlew, 4 Gadwall, 6 Shellduck  and 4 Tree Sparrows at the feeders on the way back and the Egyptian Goose was now up and feeding giving better views.
 I was trying to get some abstract shots of the head
 Starting to nod of !!!
 I had not noticed the pink flush on the under bill before

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Kumliens Gull Hartlepool

Last Saturday I went down to Hartlepool headland specifically to see the Kumliens  Gull a form of Iceland Gull which I have not seen  before and It's looking doubtful if I will see one in the County this year despite there having been record numbers this year. Got onto the Fish Quay and immediately the bird  flew past but I was looking into the light  so I moved and waited for it to do a circuit  which it did several times but always catching me out  as it disappeared several times and I never saw it perched despite looking everywhere for it . 1st Winter Glaucous also around but this was the opposite as it sat on the water for most of the time, no fishing activity and by mid afternoon most birds had left with a few on the shed roof which where out of sight, three Red Breasted Mergansers and a Common seal the only other things of note, other than I also passed the BEER Can House !!!!
Kumliens Gull 2nd year  most views where like this as it cruised by overhead

 Kumliens Gull showing the darker outer primaries contrasting with the inners

 Glaucous spent most of the time sitting on the water till it went after a discarded fish below the quay wall

 Eventually lifting
And doing a short circuit before disappearing

Friday, 16 March 2012

Whooper swan DP4

This is the report for the Whooper swan 28/1/2012 seen at Ellington yellow ring DP4(see post "around the ponds"), it's a bit hard to read as it never copies as received, basically its a female caught in 2007 age C? which seems to have spent most winters over in Dumfries

I07132 WS C F DP4 Yellow A8278 2007 Catch IS-ANV 17/08/2007 17/08/2007 Anavatn, Jokuldalsheidi N-Mul Iceland 65°10.98'N 15°34.98'W RH
I07132 WS A 2009 WWT Centre GB-CAE 26/12/2009 26/12/2009 Caerlaverock Dumfries United Kingdom 54°58.02'N 3°25.02'W WWT
I07132 WS A 2009 Sighting GB-GRR 20/03/2010 20/03/2010 Gillrigg Farm, Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries United Kingdom 55°10.38'N 3°28.44'W BHs
I07132 WS A 2009 Sighting GB-GRR 23/03/2010 23/03/2010 Gillrigg Farm, Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries United Kingdom 55°10.38'N 3°28.44'W BHs
I07132 WS A 2009 Sighting GB-COU 23/03/2010 23/03/2010 Gillrigg, Courance Dumfries United Kingdom 55°10.32'N 3°28.32'W WWT
I07132 WS A 2009 Sighting GB-GRR 27/03/2010 27/03/2010 Gillrigg Farm, Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries United Kingdom 55°10.38'N 3°28.44'W BHs
I07132 WS A 2011 Sighting GB-EGT 28/01/2012 28/01/2012 Ellington Northumberland United Kingdom 55°13.01'N 1°34.24'W BBullough

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Budle Bay/ Stag Rocks

Last week we had a run further up the coast to first Budle Bay  where there was a 100+ Teal several hundred Wigeon , masses  of  Redshank  a few Godwits , Dunlin & Knot with also a Greenshank , I think there has been a winter Greenshank here for the last few years , in the distance a very large flock of geese with Greylag , up to 100 White-fronted Geese, and about 30 or so Barnacles . The tide pushes across the flats fairly fast , I had spotted two Gulls with colour rings on , a Herring Gull with an orange ring from the scheme connected with the refuse tips , this flew off before I could read it , another a black headed Gull with a red ring not had many BHG so I tried to photo its colour ring  but the tide rose over it's leg before I could get a decent shot , pity as it looked interesting.
Pulled up at Stag Rocks and had a look for the Black Guillemot, MH & AC turned up and eventually Alan got on to it I got the briefest of views but it was not relocated , a few Slavonian Grebes  I noted up to 5, and 3 Red Necked grebe sightings from the area, up to 15 Long tailed Ducks , about 30 + Common Scoter but I only noted one Red throated Diver with a large movement of Gannets heading north up to 5 sightings of Harbour Porpoise of perhaps 3 individuals. Later as the tide began to recede 40+ Purple Sandpipers  dropped on the rocks . stopped at Monks House Pool only a couple of Pochard and a few Black headed Gulls , Seahouses  harbour only held 3 Goldeneye and 30 odd Gulls a few more Purple Sandpipers,but no Glaucous/Iceland.
 Black headed Gull with Colour ring but could not get the number
 A low flying helicopter but all the geese on alert before they all left with the incoming tide
 Slavonian Grebe moulting from Winter to Summer plumage
 Here with Common Scoter female

 With Common Scoter females and a Male on the right