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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Slavonian Grebe

Last Saturday I went along to the stretch of the Coquet  just north of Amble above the weir  in search of the Slavonian Grebe that has been around for a few weeks ,it did not take long to locate although it was about as far along as the path starts to move away from the river , nevertheless the bird had a constant route and would frequently come along the nearside of the river giving great views , and I spent most of the afternoon just watching it's actions .Although it dived many times I never saw it come up with anything although it did squirt occasional  clouds into the water , if it was some way off it gave the chance to see what else was about , numerous Goldeneye, Wigeon and Mallard with the ever present Black headed Gulls near the Car pull in , a few swan in the nearby field all turned out to be Mute on closer inspection and 3 Roe deer crossed a fence and fed in the grassland for awhile. The Slavonian Grebe at one stage had a mad dash across the water as if to take off but then plunged into the water for a bathe it was good to see some different behavior , struggling with the poor light it did brighten up a couple of times but alas the bird was at this time some way off 

Monday, 24 February 2014

Iceland Gull

Friday 21st
A visit to first the boating lake at Tynemouth to check out the Gulls with the report of an Iceland Gull making the odd visit there ,it did have plenty of gulls to scan through Black Headed, Herring  and Great Black Backs no Med or Iceland Gull for me , I went up beach Road in the hope of seeing the Glossy Ibis which had been reported that morning but no sign( at least not this day) , two dips already and its only the morning . Decided to check out the Fish Quay and walked back and forth from the quay along to the beach area and back again several times checking out any likely perch for a Glaucous or Iceland , it was a reasonable day weather wise but as usual on the quay a bitter wind coming down the river , well with not much to get any photos of I was just about to head home when a bird which had just landed on the roadside sheds but on the river side of the roof , I could see it was  a white winger but it was a bit to far for photos , another gull settled right beside it forcing it to lift and resettle but now on the roadside of the roof so I legged it round to find it preening (apparently it had just come from the boating lake) the strong light was making a decent exposure hard ,but I got a few shots before yet another gull virtually dropped on top of it forcing it to take off and disappear with no chance of any flight shots . it was relocated on the river side sheds but again some distance.
Glaucous and Iceland are in my view going to be harder to get to grips with yes they are still turning up but more mobile in their habits , gone are the days you could scan a flock of gulls and pick out a Glaucous or two .
I did go home with a souvenir from my visit , I could smell a very fishy smell about my person thinking I had stepped in something but no , had I been leaning against something no seemed OK , not till I got home and took my jacket off  did I notice the very large splodge ! on my shoulder and running down the back ,now getting the full wiff  it was a foul I had to hose it down before throwing it in the washer ,the not so nice side of Gull watching !
 Lands on the roadside shed roof , nice long primary projection
 Now it's flipped over the apex and is now alongside the road
 Seems to have a dark eye , but pinkish bill
No flight shots obtained and by now the light has changed , not shown here is the size of the bird which was on the larger end of the scale for Iceland I would term it 1st Winter .

Friday, 14 February 2014

Holywell Pond

Tuesday 11 Feb
Not been to Holywell for some time so headed up this afternoon  one of the first birds noted was a Whitefronted Goose in with the Greylags just off the track, the pond water level high but more wildfowl than previous visits , with about 60 Mallard 15 Tufted , a few Pochard and Gadwall , walked the fields to look for Pinkfeet but only had four well hidden in a potato field till I flushed them as I walked the path also a flock of about 50+ Stock Dove in with about the same Wood Pigeon , the feeders in the Dene saw a party of about 10 LTT come through how I would love to find a Northern one, a Sparrowhawk landed nearby no doubt was going to try his hand at the feeders till it saw me , Dipper on the stream let me get close enough to try a shot or two with the iso pushed right up , these are another of my favourite birds and I watched it for some time as it walked in and then under the water popping out again like a cork !!!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Cresswell to East Chevington

Monday 10 Feb
A run up the coast first checking the geese at Woodhorn no sign of the Whitefronts Cresswell water levels was no too bad given the water everywhere Dunlin,Redshanks and a few Curlew on the sand bank with several Snipe on the reed edge the Pinkfeet where very restless and constantly took to the air landing at one stage in view of the hide not sure of the numbers involved seem to me like 6-7 thousand in the air in 2 groups, a lone wader had me intrigued as it fed in the field north of the causeway turned out to be a Knot when I wen t along to view it . Druridge Pools had plenty of wildfowl I scanned as much as possible from the open hide and the main pool had a few duck including a LT, talking to a guy who had been to East Chevington  it seemed like a visit would be worth it, drove around via Hadston Carrs way and went down to the North hide a feeding station has been set up and is visited by at least 12 Redpoll a good opportunity to have some close views of this common but at least in Blyth valley elusive species , checked the pool from the hide which  has got to be at least 200 yds from the water alone they are without doubt the worst hides I have ever been in stand to view you cant see out , sit down to view and you can't see out . I gave up and headed back outside onto the east track and scanned from there could pick out the 2 Slav Grebes and at least 3 LTD , a white shape on the south bank had me intrigued it looked like a dead swan which would probably have a Darvic ring on so I walked all the way around to find it was a dead but fresh Whooper Swan but no ring. I was waiting for dusk in the hope of a SEO, watching the gathering flock of Starlings to the west again several thousand strong 8 was my guess  as the wheeled back and forth across the reddening sky till finally they had dropped out of sight .

Sunday, 9 February 2014

New Mexico / Texas

Well it's back to reality as I return from a two week stay in the US we had heard rumours of a Yellow Rumped Warbler in Durham which seemed incredible for the time of year and low and behold it seems one has turned up in someones garden how amazing, like anyone that visits the US YRW is fairly common and we encountered many including a small flock of 7-8 birds but it took several attempts to get any photos.
Landing at Newcastle the large and very large pools of water an indication of  the weather we had missed so looking forward to getting back out and catch up with some Winter birds. I will post some photos of the trip when I get them processed.

LYNEMOUTH - Glossy Ibis

Wednesday  I joined MH at Seaton Sluice for a couple of hours seawatch not in the hope of anything special just to look for any movement at all a few Auks on the move mostly South as where the Red Throated Divers but not much else no duck to speak of although a Velvet Scoter was nice to see as where 2-3 Harbour Porpoise.  later the report of the Glossy Ibis still around the flash at Lynemouth so I thought time to go and have a look  but not till I was half way there did I realize I had left my bins , but had thought to bring 3 cameras !!, not to worry I thought bound to be someone with a scope on it , but no not a sole there I tried to pick it out with the camera zoom but no sign till 2 birders came about an hour later and there it was right at the south end of the flash , so I eventually drove past it and walked back to the gate it was just on the edge and me tucked in behind the gate it went on feeding coming nearer and nearer till another birder came bounding along the road asking if I had the Ibis , I gestured it was near as I kept low but he just walked straight up with loud voice asking how longs this been here , that was it ,it clocked him immediately and took flight with a low gronk !!!. so time to go off home no point in going any further without some bins !

 Feeding mostly on worms although it did seem to find one or two what looked like snails
Typical of my Photography at the moment  with the day being so dull , but when it's nice n sunny nothing to see !!