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Monday, 5 January 2015

Glaucous & Iceland Gulls

A day at north Shields Fish Quay on Saturday in the company of many birders and Gulls , we had all come to see  Glaucous and Iceland Gulls  and they put on a good show especially the Iceland Gull  which gave cracking views , my interest was also in the  so called "Viking" gull a hybrid of Glaucous and Herring Gull which put in an appearance later in the day , initially it looked just like a Glaucous but darker . I had heard the term Viking gull before presume it has northern origins where perhaps they are more common I suppose it's  just a simple name rather than saying Glaucous X Herring Gull Hybrid 

 Iceland Gull

Glaucous Gull on the shed roof

 The "Viking"

 The Viking

 Iceland 2nd Winter
 Glaucous Gull
 Glaucous Gull

Glaucous X herring Gull
 Glaucous X herring Gull
Glaucous top left   and Glaucous X herring Gull lower right

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year To All !!!!!

Happy New Year To All , Good Birding For 2015

Started the year with a header of the humble but ever welcome Stonechat , this one along the wall at South Harbour Blyth  first time I have seen one this far along the beach, at the moment they seem fairly common especially along the coast , lets hope the winter is kind to them.

What does 2015 hold for us ,birding has changed enormously over the years , some sites are  in  decline and will never recover to there former glory , Linton Ponds one such site the closure of the open landfill site more commonly known as the tip , saw the rapid decline of Gulls from this site which would surely have pulled in Yellow Legged and Caspian Gulls . There was always something of interest and I spent many happy but very cold days of Winter at this my favourite site.Other landfill sites around the Country are still active and drawing in some unusual gulls , but how long before the too are phased out .  I saw an orange ringed Herring Gull at North Shields Fish Quay which could have been from the ringing scheme to determine the movement of Gulls that fed at landfill sites , of the hundreds of Gulls present this was the only bird I could see as ringed.
Now another threat to Northumberland  more opencast mining ,personally I would have thought they had long since dug out every bit of coal from the area but no , with the proposal of a site  not far from where I live and another at Druridge and at the same time importing huge stocks of coal from abroad  into Blyth Harbour . Yes they will restore the land to farming and wildlife hopefully not making the mistakes of the early days like Hauxley, after the end of opencast at Widdrington the site was filled and eventually was  covered in rough grassland  ,that now seems to be going  over to pasture  all will no doubt end up with a low hedge acting as no more than a windbreak. Perhaps the best to come out of  the recent years was the forming of a small pond near Newton which rapidly proved popular with migrating birds , so the creation of suitable habitat can be done. We are never going to get a huge reserve like the creation of Saltholme , although the habitat was already there , the management of the RSPB  does see it's future more secure . So what is 2015 going to produce no doubt given the recent trend there will be a couple of County firsts , or the very least County first's for many given the increase in birders over the years , so let's be positive  and enjoy what the fantastic County of Northumberland has to offer in the coming year  !!!