Saturday, 24 September 2016

Rosy at Roseden

Rosy at Roseden
We were going seawatching this morning but decided to first try for a Rose-coloured Starling which had been reported at Roseden on fatballs. On arrival at the site we met the local farmer and had a good chat about the whereabouts of this bird, he had not seen it and couldn't think of anyone in the village with feeders out but he did suggest trying a cottage on the other side of the A 697. This looked more promising as the garden was full of feeders with lots of birds but no Starlings, after about half an hour we decided to go and come back later. As we reached the main road a number of Starlings appeared in the hedge and one of them was very pale, on getting better views we noted the pale buffy plumage with dark wings and a pale yellowish bill, it was the Rosy, not a stunning bird but worth looking for and perhaps greatly overlooked amongst Starling flocks.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Complete Angler

The Complete Angler
I was in the hide at Branton Ponds early this morning, the island held 12 Common Snipe and there were 133 Lesser Black-backed Gulls loafing on the water, but what attracted my attention was the shrill piping call of a Kingfisher. The bird soon appeared and landed briefly on a  branch in front of the hide, the camera came swiftly into action only for the dreaded sound of the battery running out , I changed batteries and thought my chance had gone. However a few minutes later the piping was heard again and 3 Kingfishers flew into view chasing each other, luckily 1 landed on the branch for about 30 seconds and I finally got my shots.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

High's and Low's

High's and Low's
We were on Holy Island first thing this morning looking for the juvenile Pallid Harrier which had been seen on Thursday and Friday, unfortunately even though the island was well covered with birders there was no sign of this elusive bird. The island was generally quiet however a slow day was enlivened by several Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs, a Lesser Whitethroat at the excavations was a bonus, however things improved when at the half moon slack we got onto a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Red-breasted Flycatcher. Our day wasn't quite over, on returning home we received a call from a birding friend to say the Franklin's Gull was still at Whittle Dene reservoir, this resulted in a hurried dash down the road. Things didn't look good when on arrival there was no sign of the bird, after about 2 hours we decided to head home, once more good fortune shone on us as the bird appeared in a field next to where everyone's cars were parked, giving good views to all present.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The unusual and the expected...

A Lesser Grey Shrike, yesterday, (Tues. 13 Sept) at Newton Links (OS NU231 265); 17 Little Egrets at Cresswell Pond & a Great White Egret at Druridge Bay (Tues. 6 Sept).
3 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Ruff & 1 Little Stint at Newton Scrape; 1 Curlew Sandpiper & 4 Black-tailed Godwits on Monk's House Pool; 6 Little Egrets in Budle Bay (Tues. 13 Sept).

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Low Newton 10th September

Low Newton 10th September
Saturday morning saw us parking up at Low Newton, the village itself had a fly over Peregrine and the track along to the scrape held a family group of 5 Stonechats. Our next destination was the scrape where 2 Little Stints fed eagerly with a small group of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, also on the scrape were, Lapwings, Redshank  and a large mixed flock of Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. We then checked out the wooded area which proved quiet apart from several Chiffchaffs and a single Lesser Whitethroat, the beach was more productive as 2 Yellow Wagtails fed with Pied Wagtails Rock Pipits, Meadow Pipits, 3 Purple Sandpipers and a very noisy flock of Starlings. We then headed out to the Point which was very quiet, the sea being calm, not good seawatching conditions, the real highlight being the 400+ Golden Plover sunning themselves on the rocks at the Point. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fenham Flats 21st August

Fenham Flats 21st August
Today was my monthly WeBS count, the weather was warm and sunny but there was a blustery wind, not ideal for counting. However it did get off to a good start with a Greenshank in front of Elwick Hide and it continued at a pace with next a group of 19 Ruff, 3 of which were larger males and one had the remnants of his ruff. Moving further on a stunning brick red Knot was added to the list followed soon by 2 flocks of Whimbrel totalling 22 birds, breeding plumaged Grey Plover numbering 96 birds added a touch of class which was followed by 170 Bar-tailed Godwits some still in breeding plumage. On reaching Guile Point I began counting Oystercatchers and soon ran out of fingers when the number reached 699, other waders, ducks and gulls were added to the list on what turned out to be a much better day than I had expected. On the return journey I noticed something reddish/brown about 50 yards in front of me and heading in my direction, it turned out to be a Fox feeding on scraps along the high tideline, so I sank down into the long grass and waited, sure enough about 5 minutes latter it had come within 4 metres of me and only then realised I was there, at which point it shot off like Usain Bolt in the opposite direction, a fitting end to a super day.    

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Hirundines !

Today, Saturday 6th August, a very warm sunny day, I lay on my back on a patch of grass at Yearle to try and count the many Hirundines flying high! There were at least 60plus House Martins apparently randomly twisting and swirling in flight at about 200 feet - sometimes they all gathered and flew southerly only to return flying in the opposite direction...
I liked to think they were feeding on flying insects, perhaps fattening up for their forthcoming migration (does such behaviour herald their departure?) but maybe they were just enjoying the sunshine and communal chatter! (A few Swallows added to this fascinating spectacle).