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Monday, 22 December 2014


I have been out and about most days of December but photo opportunities where few  so I have just added a few from various days ,some days out it was so dull the camera never left the case .

4th of December  a visit to Blyth South Harbour , in reality  there is no public right of way to the harbour  access has been seriously restricted in the past few years in the interest of security , the middle jetty was the place to be  where you could see the fishing boats unload and get very close to the ever present Gulls. Walking the path a Snow Bunting lifted from the grass I stopped and it settled on the wall  as it was on it's own it just sat there giving superb views ,till it flew across the road into the restricted yard . There was masses of Gulls in the harbour and distant shed roofs , but no White Wing Gulls that I could see. 

 Common Gull not that common in the harbour
 Red Throated Diver off the stone jetty it was getting nearer till kayakers came around and onto the beach
The stone jetty and entrance to the river on rather a dull day  one of many in December

The 5th saw me spend a day at Shields Fish Quay , never seen as many gulls at one site , these are just a fraction of gulls coming in with the fishing boats . At last a bright sunny day but it soon became a problem the strong low light was impossible to pick out any WW gulls   I had also taken my DSLR  but did not go mad taking shots . I took the bus to the boating lake and back again it often has gulls on taking the chance of a bath in fresh water.

The 8th another walk along to South Harbour very little around no sign of the Snow Bunting but the Red Throated Diver still around

16th  A day at Big Waters , first problem the small hide on the south side was closed due to vandalism , an ever present problem not just at nature reserves  but everywhere  and with seemingly little retribution for those that are caught it's only going to be an increasing problem. Apparently the shutters had not been bolted properly , which is also what  happened at Holywell Pond . Anyway it was a good day in the sense that I had sightings of Otter first two for about 20 minutes than an hour later a single  slightly nearer , which would have given great views from the closed hide . 

17th  Went back to West Hartford with the Great Grey Shrike having been refound I had been there on the Monday but it stayed hidden for the couple of hours I had given it , the bird gave good views via the scope but stayed rather distant , looking at some of the photos of the bird it did come much nearer at times. I thought as my luck is in I would head to Swallow Pond with the chance of Bittern, Harris Hawk, and Water Rail it was worth the run . Well I gave it till near dark but no sign of Bittern , Harris Hawk dropped in nearby as did a Sparrowhawk and in the field behind the screen an Adult Med Gull with the Common and Black Headed, and in the fading light 2 Water Rails called and a bird crossed the gap , ended the day getting some shopping at ASDA \

18th stopped off at QE11 lake to try for the Black Necked Grebe  I went around the east side which was a mistake as the wind was howling across the lake , the bird located via the scope so I went around to the west side which was at least calmer , I never got close enough for any decent shots , but again I have seen some cracking shots from other birders , you need Patience or luck .   Not having been to Linton Ponds  for a year or more , my most favoured winter haunt when the local tip was in full swing and  the pond used to get full of gulls , alas the closing of the tip  (and others not sure where all the rubbish now goes) sees the ponds very quiet with only a handfull of Mallard a few Teal and Tufted 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Black Redstarts & Med Gulls

Saturday I went up to Newbiggin to check out the 4 Black Redstarts  that seemed faithful to a short stretch of beach , not the best of days very dull but at least not raining , birds located fairly quickly by just walking along the top of the dunes , but I could only get three and it took most of the afternoon  to finally get a total of four . I also tried a short seawatch  with only a few Wigeon and  two Velvet Scoter  as visibility was some what restricted , talking to AMc he picked up a Grey Phalarope as it crossed the headland and seemed to drop in the bay but it was not relocated .
Sunday we also called in to Newbiggin with the report of a Glaucous Gull on the breakwater and it was also a much brighter day , so I thought I would go around for the Redstarts  but when I got around the area they where frequenting was in shadow anyway  so I checked out the beach where  a concentration of birds where feeding on the shoreline . A quick look through and I picked out at least 12 Med Gulls in with the mass of Black Headed, Turnstone , Redshank and Sanderling , I could only see one Med with a colour ring on , several attempts made to get the number but without success 
Saturday 29th

Sunday 30th November

 The light fading fast

At least five Med Gulls in this shot by far the best place in Northumberland to see these fantastic looking Gulls