Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Couple of Trips to Big Waters at the Weekend

Due to a couple of commitments I only managed 2 short visits to Big Waters at the weekend, Saturday only for a couple of hours and Sunday for the normal walk round.  The Sunday produced a Grey Wagtail, my first for some time on the patch.  It was very dull with occasional spots of rain so the camera was kept in the bag most of the time but I did manage to get a couple of pics and of course a video taken from the hide.

I was wondering why the North Scrape was very quiet when
I realised that a Sparrowhawk that had made a pass through
the Feeding Station was  sitting in the trees.  It stayed for over 2hrs

Some of the 100+ Greylags arriving

The Video was taken on Sunday as you can probably work out from the title

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Lesser Grey Shrike At The Long Nanny

Saturday morning Sedgedunum Warbler and I headed up North stopping at Cresswell to once again admire the gorgeous Stonechats when a Tinkle on the old Batphone informed us that the Lesser Grey Shrike was still at the Long Nanny so off we went.  When we arrived we were ready for a long walk but as it says on the tin the quote in Bird Guides that it was next to the Carpark was so right, I could actually see it as I opened the door.  There was already about a dozen Birders there but the numbers increased steadily and others came and went.  We stayed for a couple of hours taking in the the delights of the bird and chatting to Birders we knew and others who we did not which is always part of the fun of the "Twitch".  I took what I thought were some great shots for a change but alas when I got home and put my card in the reader it failed and after a bit of savage beating of the temple I managed to recover the files from the card but nearly all were damaged although about a dozen did manage to extract but they were from shots early in the session but the best ones were from right at the end.  Well thats Showbusiness  Photography.  So here are a couple of them.

I also managed to extract a couple of other shots from the day off the ruined card of a Kestrel and a Stonechat and about 4 of the Starling Murmuration at East Chevington again although I liked that one the best (it does look much better on a full screen)

Finally I did take a few short videos of the Lesser Grey Shrike with my "Toy Video Camera" so for your delights here are a couple of small compilation videos.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Rememberance Sunday- Birding and Memories

Managed a few hours at Big Waters last Sunday morning before heading into Newcastle
for the Rememberance Ceremony.  So here are a few pictures from the day

It was a bit of a cold start to the day

Then when I got to the first hide I was suprised to see John B had beat me to it.  Hadn't seen him for a while so a bit of a waffling session ensued and kept me there for a couple of hours.  The lighting was changing all the time as the Rising Sun was coming up between different layers of cloud, changing the appearance of the lake every few seconds.

The Buzzard was back in its usual spot being mobbed on occasions by 1 or more Crows

For a change the Great Crested Grebe came close enough to get a couple of photographs

Then after getting a couple of flight shots I headed off to Newcastle stopping off to see Alan, Ian and Keith to explain my reason for absence on the walk.

At Newcastle I bumped into a friend who I hadn't seen for 30 years, good luck Ray and thought of some of my friends who I had shared moments with, Taff, Macs, Jean, Bleep, Roger and one friend who I bumped into on and off throughout my career and have bumped into him once again on the net, must talk more Jim.

Finally, a short video of part of the departure of the parade from the centre of Newcastle

Monday, 11 November 2013

Saturdays Wanderings

Saturday had myself and John headed North stopping first at Cresswell.  It was a delightful sunny morning but with a hell of a nip in the air.  The place was devoid of humans apart from a birder with a weird accent (well any accent South of Sunderland sounds weird to me) who was looking for the hide.  We pointed it out to him then had the place to ourselves for about 45 mins (Bliss).

Some great views of Stonechats in different lighting 
situations were found

I particularly like the following one as it watched me move
left and right and seemed to just reposition itself so I couldn't
get a clear picture of it

On the pond some fantastic golden beauts

We then moved on to East Chevington and once again dipped on the Bearded Tit and the Bittern but after a while we headed down to the moth of the Burn where we had some great view of a handful of Snow Buntings which kept us captivated for over an hour.  Thanks to Davie E for tipping us off where they were and the liberal sprinkling of seed which held their attention for
a considerable time

There were also a couple of others scavenging on the beach,
at least 9 Pied Wagtails and 4 Rock Pipits

We then headed off for a visit to a certain car park in amble where I lashed out on an amazing mount of chips to keep me and my pals happy.  We then headed up to the coast checking a few spots on the way but nothing exceptional was seen so we headed back South stopping at Hauxley spending a good 30 mins in the Feeding Station/Sea Watching hide where nothing at all was seen on the mill pond we call the North Sea but the Feeding Station was quite busy with quite a few Tree Sparrows evident along with the usual culprits.  We then went for our final stop of the day back at East Chevington to observe the Starlings and their minature murmuration.  There was quite a few thousand came in although the first one was in at least a thousand and performed a small murmuration, the others were in bunches of 3-400 but they just did "a twirl" as Brucie would say to Anthea then dived straight in.  Quite a few of the smaller bunches were attached by a Sparrowhawk which didn't seem to have any success and each time it came in it was mobbed by the same 2 Crows which seemed to be acting as defenders of the Starlings.

Finally a picture from the Garden of a Starling after a quick bath

Friday, 8 November 2013

Nuts and Creepers and A Few Other Things

Just a couple of pictures and videos from last weekend.  Still can't find the time to do everything I want so have had to wait till Friday again.  On Saturday a visit to Gosforth Park before the weather turned bad and John and I ended up with Sausage and Chips watching the wildlife on Killingworth pond, which included a couple of Goldeneye and a Goosander.

These two had a bit of a vicious tussle for control of the island

Great views of up to 3 Nuthatch, 2 Treecreepers and Coal Tits in the Feeding Station

On the walk round we saw plenty of Wigeon from the Screen near the Racecourse but also spotted three Grey Squirrels.  3 Roe Deer, a Buzzard, Kestrel and lots of Cormorants with LBJs flitting around us quite a lot also entertained the two of us.  Had to get the full walk around before the weather brought the inevitable clinging mud which make your boots feel like a bag of spuds is attached to each foot.  A short compilation video of Nuthatches is posted below.

On Sunday I headed for Big Waters but once again didn't manage the walk round as I got distracted (really the wind was bloody awful) and hid observed the wildlife from the hide.  I was joined by Graeme B and then a bit later by Alan and Ian after their short walk round.  There was a couple of new visitors, a female Goosander and a Goldeneye.

This Buzzard caused quite a furor amongst the wildlife on the pond (see video)

At last the Great Crested Grebe got off its spot on the North Scrape which it seemed to have been glued to for the last two weeks

Just can't get enough shots of Wigeons flying

A Teal coming quite close to the hide

A few of the 100+ Greylags arriving

Some of the Greylags that landed in the North Field then decided it would be easier to walk to the the water but hadn't noticed that there was a fence in the way, although it looks like they sated their thirst in a small flash of water just behind the fence

Little Grebes never fail to grab my attention with their fishing antics

The strong winds mentioned before forced this plane to come in at an unusual angle (see video)

At last the Goldeneye managed to come close enough for a long distance shot

Finally a small compilation video of the day