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Friday, 26 October 2012

Skuas

A day out at sea a couple of weeks ago surveying for Cetaceans , a flat clam day thankfully as I fully expected to be seasick as I am not the best of sea travellers ,  Auks and Seals as we left the mouth of the Tyne , 4 red Throated Divers past by and later a couple of Arctic Skuas , a single Bonxie and still several Puffins now in Winter plumage, 3 Arctic Skuas  again past us we stood forward of the wheelhouse heading North the birds also heading North past surprising quickly but stopped and went for a Juvenile Kittiwake  thus turning back towards us , rattled a few shots off some didn't even have any birds in the frame as it was hard to standified to have still even in these fairly flat sea . The Kittiwake  must have been terrified to have these three brutes suddenly come upon it , but just as quickly it was all over and they where gone . A Minke Whale seen in the return and 2-3 Harbour Porpoise noted from the wheelhouse crew , a cracking day out one of the first trips at sea that I have returned with an appetite having  eaten all my food .
 2 of a group of  4 Red Throated Divers passing overhead
Three Arctic Skuas  chase after a 1st year Kittiwake
 They really give it a hard time
 The bird having nowhere to turn
 as the Skuas keep tight onto it
 Like something from the RED Bull flying display keeping a tight formation

 Suddenly it was all over did they get anything could not see, where they trying to kill it probably not , but it certainly livened up the day
Attack over they headed back North

 Several Gannets lifted off the sea especially as we headed back South

 a few Puffins around in Winter Plumage
Guillemots & Razorbills in good numbers 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Short Eared Owl


An afternoon at Holywell Pond a Short -Eared Owl hunting on the rough grass on the way down to the hide , single Scaup on the pool the only bird of note.

 Short -Eared Owl hunting on a bright sunny  afternoon it did make a kill but it was robbed by a Kestrel that swooped in the Owl dropped the prey and the Kestrel looked for it in the grass eventually flying off with its prize


 Numerous Rats feeding on the spillage from the feeders

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Little Stint

Some digiscoped images of the Little Stint at Cresswell recently, you don't get the opportunity to close to them around these parts   



This bird spent most of the time down the north end but came onto the sand bank when the Dunlin came in ,here it takes the time to have a quick bathe

And ruffles and fluffs it feathers up
nice clean white underparts  above and showing the underwing below




Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cresswell,Pond, Bonxie, Bittern, Stint


Cresswell Pond  stopped at the North end to check for waders about 10 or so Dunlin which flew off to the main pond  but I then noticed  a Bonxie on the spit presumed the same one that was in the area for a week or so but seemed to have left , went upto the hide only taking the camera as I did not have long , a little stint was pointed out to me right up at the  far end it did come nearer but not for my lens , the Bonxie also lifted causing chaos but did not make a kill, the Coots headed en mass to the safety of the outflow it was odd to see them all swim then all run across the sand bar as fast as they could . I was told I had just missed a Bittern but within minutes one lifted and flew around  2-3 mins  high up it looked as though it was heading off but circled and dropped near the outflow, not a bad half hour   !!!
 Bonxie settles back on the spit
 I caught the Little Stint as it left the sand bar to go back to the far end
 A Bittern flies high before dropping back into the reeds


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Windfarm Maintenance

A run up the coast as far as Hauxley with not much to show for it a Wheatear on the shore but not much at Hauxley but the usual Geese ,the pool at the Ponteland  hide flooded with the incoming tide , passed the Linton area still large numbers of Gulls collecting in the fields many hundreds just north of the tip site. We caught sight of something on one of the windfarm blades , closer inspection revealed two guys presume they where adding or removing weight to balance the blade ?, anyway they must have climbed up inside then dropped down either side of the blade  some job , you would need a steady nerve .


Two large flocks of Goldfinch near Hauxley just too the North



 Two guys working on one of the blades with all their gear fastened around the waist  , doesn't look to bad till.....................................
..............you see it from a distance , would you figure out that's two guys on the end !!!!!!



Sunday, 14 October 2012

Little Egrets


Little Egret being harrassad by the local Magpies not keen to have this strange bird on their patch 

video
There have not been  many Little  Egrets around this year I have seen them at Alnmouth and Warkworth Gut  and only one on the River Blyth, where last year there was four which hung around for a month or so keeping up river though. Two Kingfishers around and a single Greenshank, with a few Bar-tailed Godwits  in with the large number of Redshank and lots of Curlew, and the strange sight of two pure white Doves living under the road bridge 


 Not the best photo as I have missed off the tip of the Bill but it does show pink to the underside which I believe is indicative of a Juvenile  so I wonder where this bird was born ?
The bird always distant and very wary so photos taken from range

 Good to hear the call of a Greenshank this one feeding well up river

Friday, 12 October 2012

Arctic Skua

A run along to St mary's Island a couple of weeks ago now  just to check the waders for colour ringed birds or for any Med gulls  produced this colour ringed Black headed Gull which has been seen at St Mary's before but not by me history to follow .  Good few hundred Golden Plover settled on the rocks  then headed for the Island had a look on the wetland it's in  a sorry state to what it used to be only 2 Moorhens present  I'm not even seeing birds coming to bathe in the past it's had birds like White Winged Black Tern ,Little Tern, Roseate Tern , Black Tern. Little  & Med Gulls and some decent waders  Water Pipit the list goes on . Walked back down to the prom to find an Arctic Skua had settled on the rocks  the light not too good so got some video and a few stills hence the header 
J9CE I have the info from PCF who noted this bird also at St Mary's

video
Arctic Skua on the rocks not sure of it's age I missed it as it took off just at the end interesting to see one here at close quarters for a change 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Ellington Pond

A sunny day last month so I went to some likely spots  to look for dragonflies called in at the small reserve at Ellington a boardwalk under construction lead onto a strange weed  filled pond so thick was the weed it lookled like you could walk on it  2 little grebes seem to have no problem diving down to fish  Speckled wood present and a couple of Common Darters another stop near Lynemouth again speckled wood and a few Tortoiseshell along with a single Red Admiral. A party of Long Tailed tits came through  I always try and get some shots of these hoping for that stunning shot but they are so active ,the camera  and especially my reactions are just not fast enough to react as they come into view for a split second, a couple of Chiffchaffs called to each other but still no Dragonflies despite the warmth from the sun it must be too late in the year for them to be doing anything else other than look for a mate




Boardwalk under construction not sure who manages this site
 At first I thought the pond had dried out and this was weed growing on the dried out areas but no its full of water.

 Completed boardwalk made of that plastic that looks like wood
 The platform at the end will check it out next year .That house in the distance should have some good views over the pond and a great garden list


Little Grebes feeding with ease through the thick weed 
 Long Tailed Tits through calling to each other constantly keeping in contact 
 Speckled Woods a few around

Chiffchaff