Thursday, 31 May 2012

First Lifer of the Year

Out and about this week a couple of times I first went for an early morning wander around Beacon Hill.  Four pairs of Red Legged Partridge were spotted at various points, all on a road to start with yet they seem to be more nippy than their distant dozy cousins, the Pheasant, as I have yet to knowingly seen a squashed one

Lots of birds still singing, especially Chaffinches, but the Whitethroats seem to be singing but not from a visible poing.

At least 3 Spotted Flycatchers were seen all within a few hundred yards of each other.

Wednesday afternoon and I was chomping at the bit in the office to get away to see a certain little Warbler in Hartlepool when a call from the guy in the picture made me leave a bit earlier and off we went.  Was it worth it, of course it bloody was

Even if this was the closest pic I got of it, its hard aiming a camera whilst looking through a scope.

The rest of the gathered masses seemed to be as photoless as I

Lucked into a few Swallows on my travels, they are certainly a stunner of a bird to look at

Finally a trip to Shibdon yesterday produced nothing exciting but it is still worth an hour there before work as George S proved on Wednesday with his discovery of a Black Winged Stilt.  There seems to be a lot of water there at the moment so maybe its putting a few waders off.

Well, its time for bed, as I'm saving up my energy for a week off which will include building my new shed and a little birdwatching.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Lots of Young Uns

A busy long weekend has not gave me time to put fingers to keyboard for another diatribe.  So just a few pics to remind myself of what exactly I did.  Friday, myself and John A made a visit to the dark side (Gateshead) to have a look on the Derwent.  Glorious sun made it hard at times to get any pics but here is a few:

Two young Pied Wagtail chicks waiting for food
 Only one at a time was fed

Grey Wagtails catching lots of insects then sit for up to 10mins before
heading off to the next to feed their young

An adult Dipper dipping
 A young dipper in the water very early morning with the sun giving
an amazing golden film across the surface

We visited Kibblesworth where the main target were dragon and damsel flies.

Quite a few Damselflies Exuvia were found
 Wall Brown
 4 Spotted Chaser

We also spent 30mins sitting at the "Bus Terminus" at Sherburn Towers Estate with at least 6 Red Kites soaring around.  Great finish to a Great Day.

On Saturday I went to East Chevington where my first Spoonbill of the year was seen or least part of it was seen as during the time I was there it never raised its head.  A Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Little Gull and 2 Female and 1 Male Marsh Harrier were also seen.  I didn't see or hear the Marsh Warbler but spotted the guys looking for it.

In our Garden the Starling Chicks are now feeding independently although 3 or 4 times this week a newly fledged bird appears and is fed by its parents/aunties/uncles/any Starling.

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Thursday, 24 May 2012

What a Pair of To***rs

The weather is quite good for a change yet I am stuck in work and have a few things to sort out at home so very little birding time apart from mornings and 20mins outside in the garden.  Only had time to go and watch the Kittiwakes again and try my flight photography in a bit better light .

Started this on Wednesday night and forgot about it till I got home tonight after a walk round Big Waters where I saw this little Beauty

and thesE 2 AR**HOLES

Cmon Rangers get a bloody NO BOATING sign up

Finally a nice shot of the Starlings in the garden feasting on Greggs Wholemeal

My first mobile blog

Early morning rise before work and off to Gateshead.   Target bird for this morning was a Dipper.  As I got out of the car the familiar call of the kingfisher made me think l was going to have a good day. About 20 steps to the river and sure enough the blue flash was sitting on a branch looking down reach for the camera but unfortunately it was away like a blue flash.  About 10 metres to the right was a Pied Wagtail feeding a young ball of fluff.  This carried on for the whole of my stay which as about an hour.  Moved upstream a small distance and sure enough an adult dipper was feeding.  It took about 2-3 mins to find a young one who was tucked away in the trees.  Sure enough it was up feeding it on the branch several times.  Next visitor was a Grey wagtail who collected a few things and then headed off to feed young i think but couldnt see where.
A Common Tern was also viewable feeding in some very shallow water.  What a great start to the day.
I spoke this blog into my phone via the Android Blogger App then had to spend 15mins amending it.  Anyone know of a Geordie Translator App for it.  I hope to add a couple of pics later as I know you will be dying to see them LOL

A couple of pics at last

Rather Distant Grey Wagtail

3 Fuzzy Blobs otherwise known as Dippers

Monday, 21 May 2012

A Pile of Cr**

Sunday mornng and an early morning visit to Prestwick Carrs produced 1, possibly 2 Redstarts and a Tawny Owl.  On arrival I bumped into Nigel and we walked slowly up the path taking in the song of many birds but in particular Whitethroats and a couple of Sedge Warblers.  Not one Wader was seen all the time we were there.  On arrival in the approximate location where the birds normally are a good 15-20 mins scan produced nothing at all then after the arrival of another birder a bit of a chat ensued which admittedly brought a bit of laughter but unfortunately we had obviously missed the Tawny Owl and suspect that when it came flying out of the bushes we were the unintentional culprits that spooked it.  It flew across the field towards the treeline west of us but then we lost track of it as it went into the trees.  Nigel and I then decided to head back as it was now 8.30 but one last look eastwards scanning the fenceline produced a little reddish blob skipping along closely followed by a less indistinguishable blob.  Best pic whilst there was this pathetic effort

On to Big Waters where quite a gang gathered for a walk, the pond was quite quiet apart from 10 Common Terns attempting to occupy the Island.  Only a handful of Mute Swans remain but the furious chasing going on gave hope of another try at nesting.  Only 3 Mallards, a Grey Heron, and quite a few Swallows and a few Sand Martins were the other birds seen.  The walk round produced 4 Whitethroats (I think), another small batch of Lapwing chicks, a Partridge, 3 Buzzards and the usual assortment.  We then went to the first hide where one of the possible reasons for the lack of activity on the pond showed themselves in the form of 2 Otters.  Then came the highlight of the day for me, a Big Waters year tick in the shape of 2 Common Sandpipers.

Finally to the Post Heading
It Certainly Was

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Holy Island

Saturday morning and along with John A we had a 6am start for Holy Island arriving there at 07.15 and finding someone there already who informed us that the Kentish Plover and White Rumped Sandpiper had been there but had departed at about 6.45.  Well never mind, its Holy Island, there is bound to be something else around. Either side of the causeway was full of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and a smattering of Turnstone so we spent 15mins having a look (just in case something had came back) but nothing else could be seen

We then headed over the Causeway and immediately spotted Wheatears dotted around and a stopping occasionally to check out birds the majority of which turned out to be Wheatears.  I recon we saw at least 7 or 8 differrent individuals on the way over to the Island and at one stage we had 5 in view at the same time.

On to the Rocket where a Bean Goose was seen and information was coming in the that a Red Backed Shrike and a Bluethroat were seen on the Lonnens, we only met two people who had seen them and the finders as well but we dipped on them also.  We did see however a couple of Redstarts (thanks Ross) and a Pied Flycatcher.  Then on for a wander along the Crooked Lonnen and a Spotted Flycatcher was seen flitting from bushes to wire.

We then headed to have a look round the Snook, once again Wheatear was the predominant bird but Skylarks and Meadow Pipits formed part of the cast and tucked away in a little secluded, protected dip a few Cinnabar lazed around in the Sun.  On our way back to the car a Marsh Harrier flew over our heads and headed South towards Budle Bay

Back to the Causeway to see if the target birds had returned as forecast by the people who had seen it but the causeway was full of birders, some of them had seen the White Rumped Sandpiper and after half an hour a helpful birder who got his scope on it gave a couple of us a look through his scope, then as soon as I figured out where it was I got my own scope on it (that of course was the kiss of death - off it went)but no sign of the Plover.  The various waders stayed till the bitter end then took off in large chunks and headed off in a Northerly direction looking for more mud/sand/clarts.  

Once again a blog of little substance and crappy pics but what do you expect for nothing.

Final Comment:  As the tide came in over the Causeway and we withdrew there was still 3 idiots that drove right up to the water, 2 of them got out and looked and I suspect that one of them might have had a go if it were not for the 15-20 birders looking at them.

Friday, 18 May 2012

First Starling Chick

Standing at my bedroom window looking out at the world at 6am when the first Starling Chick arrived and started to be fed by parent.  A full 7 days earlier than last year.

Now off to work

Monday, 14 May 2012

A Bloody Awful Windy Sunday

Sunday and a drop into Arcot where Mr Liverbirder was watching an empty pond where only the presence of Swifts, Swallows and Martins were the only thing visible then a gadwall dropped in (WOWish).  A 10 minute whinge about dipping on the Bluethroat then Gordon left for Breakfast (or did I drive him off).  I hung around listening to the 2 Sedge Warblers which were having a "Whos Got The Scratchiest Call Competition" and watched them moving around in the open looking for the best position to outcall each other.  This enabled me to get a couple of pics.

On the way out I heard a Whitethroat and managed to get a snatched shot as it flitted around

Off to Big Waters for the Sunday Walk and the wind was really getting up now.  Alan J, Ian D, Keith  and myself set off and literally did our fastest walk ever as not a great lot was spotted.  A few Linnet, a Kestrel, several Whitethroat heard but not seen, a pair of Partridge in the same place we have seen them the last 3 times we looked and the Lapwings then Alan J spotted a couple of young Lapwings moving around in the long grass then another 2 were discovered.   Back to the 1st Hide where on opening the shutters not a great lot to be seen apart from water, water everywhere although Ian insisted it had gone down from yesterday.  The only thing visible were a couple of Common Terns, 10 Mute Swans, 1 Mallard, a Grey Heron and I think that was it.  There were a couple of other things in the form of 2 abandoned Swan nests both with eggs in which have been like that for nearly 2 weeks now.

The island is nearly covered although the 2 Terns are seem to be there for the Duration.

Finally, just as were about to leave a Sedge Warbler which had been scratching away was finally spotted so as I positioned myself for a pic of a year patch tick Alan J picked up my camera pointed it in the general direction (it was a good 40m away) and pressed the button, I then took a carefully prepared shot (by this time though the light had gone) and when I got home to check I must admit Alans snatched shot was a lot better than mine even after severly cropping them both and "Sharpening Them Up A Bit".  Basically Alans pic was pants and mine "enuff said".

Apologies for another Sedgie pic, but its a patch tick, which outranks the Arcot ones.