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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Little Gulls

With up to at least ten Little Gulls in Blyth Bay I tried my hand at getting some photos ,well getting the photos is easy as I must have taken a couple of hundred over three days but sorting out any decent ones is harder ,these birds are ariel masters and seem to float across the water barely touching it with their  feet you just get on to one focus and press late it's half out of shot or came nearer and thus out of focus, so I have grabbed this one as it shows the pink flush coming onto the breast sadly none had the full black head but they are a stunning Little bird also a Snow Bunting present off and on I managed to get a couple of shots. .

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tuesday 19th March ........Spring

Tuesday 19th March
Not the best day weather wise ,dull grey sky bitter cold East wind , but I thought I just have to get out so headed up to St Mary's Island , but as the Pinkfeet  geese where close to the road I pulled into the car park along the coast road and scoped them  a quick glance through did not reveal any Bean Geese , so I went through more slowly checking and counting  which totalled 220 not bad as I had estimated a couple of hundred but no Bean Geese , every year they come to the County numbers seem to get larger and larger ,the bulk being around Cresswell Druridge areas  but splinter groups seem to also have their favourite feeding areas and this seems to have been assigned by this group. Actually it's ideal although the road is busy they came nearer and nearer to the wall only moving off when a very large lorry came by which they had seen well down the road, in the main they seem to get used to traffic till next year when they will be ultra cautious again.
Parked near the mast fields and checked the cliffs to the North no sign of any Fulmars a large section of soil having slid into the sea , no Fulmars above the bay either walking down the track to the wetland a lone Skylark lifted and went into song, a small group of gulls  surrounded by feeding Curlews to the West a single Golden Plover calling , a handfull of Sanderling in the North bay and 2 Dunlin ,walked around the prom only another 2 Dunlin and a few gulls mainly Black backs with a single LBB on the rocks at the corner . Checking the wetland could only see two Mute Swans but from the viewpoints up the track I counted 30 Teal well spread around  the pool edges , with a Water Rail calling from the North end Reeds , very quiet but given the weather hardly surprising  so I called it a day.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Bird Reports For Sale

Well known local birder Steve Holliday an avid collector of Bird Books and County Bird Reports, has embarked on a venture to supply interesting and in some cases scare reports,the catalogue seems to cover all Counties of the UK, so if you are looking to fill that gap with an elusive report or have items that Steve may be interested in you can contact him via email       birdreports'at'        for further details or a copy of the catalogue.

 INTRODUCTION My background stems from birdwatching as a teenager, whilst buying many books, journals, bird reports and so on, along the way; looking back after 30+ years, things haven’t changed much! In the 1980s I remember buying back copies of British Birds and old county bird reports from David Morgan and more recently from Doreen (David’s mum). Sadly, Doreen passed away in November 2012, having provided a wonderful service to many collectors over the years. Subsequently, an opportunity arose to purchase a large chunk of ‘Morgan’s’ stock in early 2013 and, with additional material from other sources, I now hope to continue the business of buying and selling county and local area bird reports and other similar material. I have decided not to trade in the national journals (e.g. British Birds, Birding World, Ibis) due to space restrictions. Apart from an inherent interest in local bird reports, I have other motivations for taking up the new ‘business’. I am seriously concerned that such reports are disappearing at an alarming rate. As many birdwatchers grow ‘old’ and inevitably meet their maker, it is becoming more common for lifelong book collections to get left to those who don’t appreciate them i.e. other family members or in even worse cases, there are no family members left to make any suitable arrangements! Recent horror stories and personal experiences include:  Jim’s widow who proudly announced some months following Jim’s death that she had ‘finally thrown out all Jim’s r-u-b-b-i-s-h!” – in this case Jim’s lifelong book collections went to the local school  Stocks of county bird reports, quite literally, going into a skip, following a house move by an ageing county archivist  A black bin bag of books & reports already tied up for depositing in the bin and only rescued (by me!) as a result of an occasional morning’s birding and conversation Whilst I might shudder at hearing further stories of a similar nature, I would welcome any new anecdotes on this topic. So, nothing would delight me more than to see interested collectors add to their collections, which will hopefully be saved for posterity by some means. Over recent years I have been collecting with this aim in mind and this new ‘role’ will hopefully provide me with the opportunity to add to that stock and appropriate archive at some point. In terms of pricing, I have tried to be as fair as possible. I believe that some reports are already quite scarce (i.e. demand outstripping supply, based on eBay prices) and prices will reflect this in some cases. I also have to take into account that some reports will sit on the shelf for several years, plus the cost of packaging etc. I hope I have got the balance right but I will keep this under review. In 2006, Doreen Morgan typically charged £3.00 for all bird reports however I have tried to introduce a more appropriate & up to date price based primarily on availability but hopefully much cheaper than some of the silly prices currently appearing on certain websites. I welcome contact from anyone wishing to dispose of any spare bird reports or to leave details of any particular wants.
Steve Holliday                          birdreports"at"

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Harwood and Beyond.... (revisited)

This year is as memorable as last , but for different extremes , I looked back at last year for the same date and apparantly we where up at Harwood Forest  as soon as I read it the post I could remember the day ,although it was supposed to be very warm and sunny  it was a thick mist while others basked in glorious sunshine . Contrast that with this year and today we have more snow and freezing temperatures no way I'm going to Harwood today !!!, so all I have planned is a seawatch later today not expecting anything , but hoping for perhaps a passing Glauc or Iceland  or even a lingering Med Gull which I have still to see in the Blyth Valley area this year. A seawatch on the 1st of March produced well over 600 Kittiwakes heading North where as prior to this I had only seen 3 individuals in January and February , so it's not just scarce birds to be seen , flocks of Kittiwakes in purposeful flight in blue skies across a dark menacing sea topped with white horses , that'll do for me !!!! 
13-3 2012
I forgot to mention we had another run to Harwood Forest and the Gibbet it was supposed to be record breaking warm and sunny but the reality was a thick mist over the whole area, so what do we do wait and see if the sun will burn through and improve visibility, still plenty Common Crossbills working along the trees of the road edge but no chance of any shots, came across a Common Newt it too was probably waiting for the warmth of the sun. A walk over the moor 60+ Fieldfare chacking away as they fed in amongst some short grass, 2 Kestrels and a single Buzzard. We decided to move on and headed home via Rothbury stopping to look for the Fallow Deer at Billsmoor, it was brighter as we started dropping down into the valley but very windy picked out 2 Fallow grazing and a further 12 or more sitting in shelter, a stop north of Caistron to have a look through a flock of  Geese about 600 Greylag , 65 White Fronts and 30+ Pinkfeet, not sure of the access to Caistron these days as it is now a Trout Fishery , there is a path past the south edge giving some views, a look around Rothbury ended the day with the bridge works still ongoing not sure what happened to the bats that roosted there.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Parking Fines !!!!!!1

Recently obtained a parking fine for parking off the road on a grass verge ( a common practice at this site)courtesy of Northumberland County Council , I tried to appeal but it was refused and reading the reasons why it seems if you park virtually anywhere they deem an obstruction to traffic or pedestrians ,causing damage seen and unseen (underground gas lines ?)you are liable to a ticket , and given the cash shortfall and cuts to be made in services etc: . I can only presume Traffic Wardens are save   !!!!   So think before you park could save you £35

Edit : I have paid said fine via the website, the link can be found under   "POPULAR PAYMENTS" ...................................    I don't think so !!!!!!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Glaucous Gull

Been rather busy of late but did get along to the fish quay and catch up with the Glaucous Gull though I did miss the Iceland , this was on the 25th Feb the bird was  located near the small beach area  but soon  flew off with other gulls and it was not till very late in the afternoon that it re-appeared but this time apparently up on there usual haunt of the shed roof . In the meantime a walk along to Tynemouth Haven had 100+ Dunlin about the same Redshank  and 5-6 Purple Sandpiper till the tide pushed them off. So I still need Iceland for the year and Both for the Blyth Valley  list a couple of  short seawatches has yet to produce any and Blyth harbour seems to get less and less gulls hanging around