Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A Canny Weekend

Here is a few more bits and pieces from the weekend starting with Saturday when my Latte Drinking Compadre joined me for another scintillating day out in the wilds of Tyne and Wear.

It was still dark when I picked him up so a quick visit to Macydees and off we went to spend 15mins in Gosforth Feeding Station sipping our Lattes and although the sound track was superb we could see little as the sun was still tucked up under the Duvet.  Thirsts quenched and the events of the week discussed we now concentrated on the birding and headed to Holywell.  From the public hide there was only a few Mallards in view when I spotted a duck in The Toons colours coming in to land, Tufted Duck I casually mentioned to John and then looked away.  John replied "I dont think it is" and looking again we both agreed it was a Long Tailed Duck.  It never came really close to the hide so great pictures were not the order of the day (for a change LOL).

Continuing on towards the Wagonway we spotted first 1 Short Eared Owl on a Fencepost, then another hunting and finally another hunting with all 3 viewable at one stage.  They never came really close (like most birds nowadays so suspect a change of smellies might be required - now what should I do with all the bottles and cans of BRUT) but a superb hour was spent watching them.

We then headed for Prestwick Carr where some distant views of the Little Gull were had, a couple of Curlews, lots of Lapwings and some Redwing moving up the Sentry Box road then across to the West onto the tree line on the North of the Horse Field. A canny first venture out for a couple of weeks without a sore throat or a blocked up nose although I am sitting here at 5am typing this with my nose blocked up again and Carole now suffering with the symptoms I have had for the last couple of weeks as I sort out my gear for a few days in Dumfries and Galloway starting tomorrow.  (Just noticed that is 4 lines I have typed without punctuation as I recheck to make sure I haven't typed anything stupid, but cant be arsed to restructure the sentence/paragraph)

I also did the Short Walk round Big Waters on Sunday with the normal crew where the unbelievable highlight was the sighting of the Bittern (see previous post).  I must finish now as have a few things to sort out  for our trip to "Sunny Scotland" so here is a couple of pictures of one of my favourite places in the early morning mist

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Its A Bittern, No We Are Not At Gosforth or Cresswell

Its a Bloody Awful Picture but its the first Bittern
at Big Waters for quite a few years.

Well done to "Young Graeme" for spotting it  Another few years learning 
the trade and he will have forgotten more than us Wrinklies can remember.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sparrowhawks In My Garden Also

Tim that's a great pic of the Sparrowhawk in that tiny bit of greenery around your small abode but here is one the wife took yesterday in our Northern 40 Acre Field whilst it was chucking down with rain as she  hauled the staff out of their tied cottages to pick up the leaves.

For all those budding photographers here is a tip from my beloved to obtain pictures of this outstanding quality.  Keep it on automatic, press the lens up against the kitchen window, half press the button so the flash comes up then take the picture.

Thank God she dosen't read my blog

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Hero Dragged Himself From His Sick Bed and........

The "Man Flu" hasn't got me holding up daisies yet but for a few days and nights it certainly felt like it.  I have been going to work (first week in a new office) then coming home and dosing till time for bed, then waking up at between 1 and 3 and coughing and sneezing so much I couldn't get back to sleep.  I still feel bloody awful but last night (Saturday/Sunday) I actually slept for about 6hrs and felt a bit better.  Back to the Birding  of which I have done bugger all apart from a wander round Big Waters with Alan J, Ian D and Keith last Sunday morning then went home and thats when it all started.  Yesterday, Saturday I wandered down to St Marys at a very late hour for me, 07.45, and was straight into a Yellow Browed Warbler although thats all I saw and was feeling tired by 9 so headed up to Big Waters and placed my bum on a seat in the main hide and stayed there for a couple of hours, I then headed home and fell asleep.  Sunday at 8 I was off back to Whitley Bay to see if the bird that I dipped on (would have been a lifer for both) was still around but there was more birders than birds to see but I did manage to bump into John A, we chewed the fat, he left at 9 to give Margaret the car so she could get to work and I went home 15 mins later.  I have now summoned up enough strength to type a few words and chuck a couple of pictures onto the Blog.  Here's hoping that I will be in better fettle next week.

Arrived early at Big Waters last Sunday, the water had receded a fair bit from the flood the previous week

The walk up the Boardwalk early morning was a delight

A gorgeous Dunnock and a Female Blackbird only a few feet apart but the light is so different

A Pile of Shite
On the walk round Big Waters this Pile of Shite has appeared, the tree behind it has one of those 
geo caching hides which will now be even more awkward to find

This is a pic of us staring at the Pile of Shite which was one of the most interesting things we saw on the walk even though we had set our sights low as the target species of the day was Pied Wagtail which we dipped on

Then a gap till Saturday (Yesterday) when I was back at Big Waters where the water had risen a bit as you can see from this pic.

There were plenty of Greylags about and after several counts I got up to 106

The Wigeon Duck Display Team need a lot of practice to get up to Red Arrows standard

Finally a short video of a few things that were paddling round the pond

Thats it, although I fell asleep at the puter last night (its now 5.48 monday morning) so the wording above might be a bit off but with a hearty breakfast of Toast with Honey and a cup of LemSip the world is starting to look a bit better.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

No Migrants But A Pleasant Day

Saturday John and I headed up to Holy Island again for the Autumn Migrants Walk arranged by the Natural History Society of Northumbria, unfortunately it was a week out for the migrants but these things can't be helped as you have to arrange them quite a time beforehand.  Ian Kerr led us round and although no real migrants were seen Holy Island is just a great place at any time.  Lots of waders, lots of ducks, a few divers, a Short Eared Owl and 2 Barn Owls and some pleasant company during the walk.  We also visited Fenham Flats prior to arriving at Holy Island where we had some great views of 5 Roe Deer then we also spotted these birds on the edge of the mud.

There were 15 of them and they had been placed there by the 2 chaps below, although when we arrived there was only 1 in view but after about 10mins in the hide the guy with the hat on stood up from amongst the foliage with his libido booster in his hands about 150m to the left of the hide.  We stayed for about 15 mins (talking loudly) whilst they talked outside hide, fortunately the Wigeon which they told us they were after kept way to the North.  

Bar Tailed Godwit, plenty of them around especially on the Sand Bars

Curlew were plentiful and seemed to be everywhere

The 2 Barn Owls that were being harassed by Kestrels

We bumped into this chap on several occasions, obviously new at the birding game as he was wearing new coat, new trousers, carrying a new bag and his walking stick was scratch free but being a newbie he had forgotten to put a rubber grommet on his "point".

We did see quite a few Red Admirals, including this one in the
centre of the village

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Too Much Work, Not Enough Free Time

Haven't been out much since Saturday but here is a few recent pics:

An early morning walk before dawn along the Tyne always perks me up

A Gadwall at Big Waters

Spent ages waiting for the Little Grebes to come a little closer and eventually they obliged

The Feeding Station at Big Waters last Sunday, hope it has gone down a bit by now.  The Pictures I missed were the 2 Pintails on the main pond at Big Waters and after hearing a Kingfisher call a couple of times but unable to locate it I went to the Feeding Station windows and it was sitting on the post nearest to the window (bottom left of the picture) and before Mr Nikon could operate away it went.  

A blurred snap of my first ever Blackcap in Big Waters Feeding Station

Bath Time in Chez Hall's country estate gardens