Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Grus Grus

No! Not my normal Grouse Grouse.

The morning didn't start too well when I arrived at Chevington without my phone. Fortunately there was little to report. The long staying, Long-tailed Duck was the best on offer. So Plan B, back home for phone, Ashington for some shopping, back via Linton to try and relocate the crow (no luck). Plan C QEII country park to search for Smew (no luck). Plan D back home via Cresswell and Druridge.


The resident Barnacle was at QEII. I also had another with Canada Geese at Cresswell this week.. Just as I was driving past Cresswell I decided not to stop, until I saw the unmistakeable shape of a Crane approaching low over the fields

 

A very quick record shot a few frantic calls and I watched the Crane walk out of sight into the dip to the West of Cresswell Pond. I noticed someone in the hide at Cresswell, he must have seen the bird. Then RF drove past but clearly didn't see me shaking my gloves at him and he continued on. My next sighting of the bird was as it flew low over the fields heading South. %&**£"


I spoke to HG and informed him I was going to try further South. To my amazement it was right by the road at Lynemouth. RBA must have been fed up with my on off messages by now. Using the car as a hide I tried to get some photos. The trouble with little cars is that fences get in the way.


As a car passed on the other side the Crane flew but landed again in the middle of the field.


Just as I was going for another flight shot this car passed me.


Then it landed right where a post obstructed my view.


Finally it walked into an open area and I got my photos. ;-)


Suddenly the Crane took flight again and through the fence I could see it pas the turbine at Lynemouth. Seconds later HG arrived. Fortunately the bird was seen by  HG and other observers at Newbiggin and Cambois later.

Friday, 12 January 2018

More of the same ...


...dodgy shots that is.


This Hooded Crow was nice to see in the horse field at Linton (11/01/2018). Looked for it again today but no sign. It was probably close by and  guess someone will see it this weekend. Also good to know my wintering warbler has survived the freezing temperatures in the reed bed on my patch.


When the fog started to clear today I set off from Druridge Bay Country Park to visit Chevington (the chev track is a bit of a mess). First bird in the car park Treecreeper (I don't get many sightings during the year despite them breeding in the CP.).



A wander  down the beach to the burnmouth where the burn has dramatically changed course. A Snipe flushed from the pool was interesting if it had been September I would have been thinking big, but I'm not sure if there has ever been a winter record.

Returning to the car park I heard the distinctive wheezy call of Willow Tit. Sure enough it popped out into the open immediately. Like Treecreeper, fairly difficult to see on the patch despite being present all year round. A rough guesstimate and I'm comfortably past 100 species for the patch and it is only 12th Jan.


After a lunch break I headed to Cambois. Just as I reached the pier a small fishing boat arrived.


Along with it this Iceland Gull.


Although not good photos, this is nice for a size comparison. A Glaucous Gull would be the same size as the GBB Gull.

I think 2018 promises to be a record breaker?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Dodgy Photos ...


January is normally a quiet month for posting photos; not much light and little new on the birding scene. However, after failing to find White-wingers for two days running I wandered back to my patch to find Glaucous Gull on two consecutive days.


BSBI re-awakened my interest in plants and this is one of my favourite flowers. Overlooked by many, but worth taking the time to find. (Take a hand lens to really appreciate it.)

Hazel



Two Bitterns put on a fabulous show. Wish I had chosen video rather than try to capture a snap in such poor light.


This BH Gull is at least 5 years old. It returns to DBCP every winter. First ringed in Norway.


Teal

Monday, 8 January 2018

One of Four


I set out yesterday with a plan to try and see four birds.


The Tynemouth Firecrest was target number one. After a thirty minute wait it showed well, although my photography skills were not good enough to capture its true beauty.



Fish Quay next and a quick scan revealed no Iceland or Glaucous Gulls (targets two and three). Tynemouth Yacht Club and the North Pier searching for a Black Redstart (target 4) failed miserably. On to Cambois and another chance for all my target birds. This visit was very brief because of the wind chill.


Large numbers of Fieldfare, a smart Buzzard and an early morning Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in Northumberland Park made for a very pleasant day despite the target failures. Oh well, there is always another day.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Pipits, Pipits and more Pipits


Grey Heron
Amble Harbour


First Stonechat of 2018 ... won't be the last. Very hard to resist snapping a picture.


A walk along the River Breamish was rewarded with a lovely dipper plunging into the fast flowing water.



New Year Plant Hunt
This year was less successful as the harsh frosts had killed off many late flowers. The Green Alkanet which is normally still in flower late in the year was a carpet of soggy black leaves and only one plan had flowers on. Gorse (of Course) is a plant that can be relied on for a splash of colour all year.




Lovely collection of Pipits at Amble. The hail showers and freezing temperatures made scanning the flock a little uncomfortable. Eventually I spotted a colour-ringed bird and it took many attempts photographing the bird before I got some snaps where the ring could be read.



P77

This Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus) was ringed 14/09/2017 at Giske Ornithological Station, Norway. I saw it at Amble on a roadside flash with 20+ Meadow Pipits, 10+ Rock Pipits (of varying plumages) and 1 Water Pipit. 06/01/2018 NU278038 10:15. Thanks to Kjell Mork Soot for replying so quickly!







Sunday, 31 December 2017

Another One Bites the Dust ..


.. Year that is.



December is always a favourite month. Time to appreciate the Natural World we  often forget as we are chasing or hoping to find, rarities.



The Sea Buckthorn at East Chevington has become the early morning feeding area for Bullfinches and up to 8 other species of birds. Always makes a cracking start to the day.



Shorebirds with their various bill shapes and feeding habits are always a joy to watch.




A closer look at the garden birds reveals their subtle plumages.



The once rare Tree Sparrow is now becoming a common sight again, but will we start to overlook it as many have started to do with Little Egret (now also common).


 Highlight of the Year

 It has to be watching the sheer delight on the face of a fellow birder. After years of cycle visits to Chev, every weekend by GW, I was in the hide when a scream of BITTERN followed by leaping and dancing announced to the world that GW had finally caught up with this secretive species. Pure joy for GW and a magic moment for me to witness.

Just to show the rarities can sill be found. BS  rounded off the year with a Ross' Gull. Probably he same bird RA found on Holy Island many weeks ago. It must have been hanging around the Northumberland coast all that time, undetected.


Happy New Year!