Monday, 31 October 2016

Izzy in Shields


Newsmallin at Newbiggin

Waiting in the car at South Shields, an early start.

Isabelline Shrike

Located very quickly a few slow shutter speed  pictures and then out for a walk with my Mum. After a good coffee at the beach cafe a walk back along the Leas. The light was much better now but there was a bit of bird/photo chasing going on. We walked straight by, so I'll have to be satisfied with my early morning shots.

A small fall of birds early today.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Tricky Birds

Thank Goodness!

Soon be free of migration madness and I'll save on my petrol bill. It has been a long time since I visited Holy Island so many times in one Autumn.

Huge Starling roost at the Lough, here a small number departing past the Castle.

Fieldfare in the early morning gloom.

Long-tailed Duck, Lough.


Now this was a different matter.
Plain Rump

Head pattern reminiscent of Whinchat.

Pale rump and I would have thought 'Siberian'

Several claims of 'Easern' Stejneger's made us look very closely at this one. (Us= AP finder, AR, JS and DE)

Who knows?

Great White Egret (Nice find by GW at Druridge on Sunday)

Today MN's Swift was still present. The light was terrible but it always looked dark. My camera isn't up to flight shots, especially of a very fast small bird.

Wings look really pointy = Common
Tail deeply notched = Common

However, as I type this AG is looking at his images and will no doubt be able to be more confident about his identification.

Interestingly I saw two Swallows in Amble yesterday and a House Martin was flying nearby this Swift today.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

£4:40 Well Spent

My first proper twitch in ages! I even parked in the car park and paid my £4:40 ticket from 'Rip Off NCC inc.'.  First views distant in poor light, second view 10m range but brief ... THEN stonking views down to 3m no need for cropping the photos!

X marks the spot where it disappeared in very little cover but it obligingly returned to feed on rocks near the sandy path.

Having had a brilliant time I decided to pass on the Firecrest at the Snook and head home ahead of the high tide. Driving off the Island I noticed SR heading back on to the island. I pulled in to check phone messages and with the help of JD and AC I headed back to the Snook to get good flight views and a very distant through the branches photo. Well worth the u-turn.

Whilst watching the Isabelline Shrike an interesting conversation was taking place between HG and others about a funny Wheatear. Sadly the tide was rising so I headed home.

Tuesday evening and photos appeared on Twitter showing Isabelline Wheatear! I hedged my bets and waited until today (Thursday) before returning. I was in luck. After an anxious wait, it duly appeared and gave very good views. 

It is a very bright bird but the tail pattern is spot on. Several photos by other birders show the tail, underwing and allula are perfect. I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to call it, but well done to those with keener eyes on a great find. (Also to Peter Monroe (spelling?) for finding and reporting the Accentor, which I must remember is pronounced Aksentor.)

Oh and the Firecrest had lingered and allowed one quick snap today.

The supporting cast over the last week haven't been too shabby either.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

I Need a Break

Apart from the 'not so nice' person that crumpled my front wing today at Chevington, it has been a good few days birdwise.

I'll just list them: Brambling, Redstart, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Woodcock, SEO, LEO, Siskin, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Kingfisher, Chaffinch, Wheatear, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Sparrwhawk, Merlin, Marsh Harrier, Pomarine Skua, Manx Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater and Velvet Scoter.

Oh, and Pallas's Warbler!

Best I could manage of this mobile little Pallas's Warbler (E Chevington)

Lots of these flying over the reed bed pretending to be moths.

A Fall of Rock Pipits

With the migrants we also get migrant predators. Don't think this was the Hawk Owl though.

Finishing the day with a heart-stopping 'big yellow bunting'!