Friday, 27 March 2015

Who you looking at? 

Found five of these fab birds on the beach yesterday. A bit sunnier today so I had to take a few snaps.

Nice to get some of the commoner birds in good light.

This poor bird seems to be stuck on the pond dipping pool outside the country park.

Mr Rat has found the Chevington Feeding Station, as has the sparrowhawk (blackbird today's victim).

Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl and Bearded Tits have put in daily appearances so all we need now are the spring migrants to swell the reedbed population. What a great patch to visit!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Patch Magic

Memories of my membership of the YOC (many years ago).

Yesterday another wave of whooper swan migration was evident (10 even had their rest stop on the sea at Hadston).

Followers of vagrancy theory will all be aware of carrier species. So it was no surprise to find this genuinely wild Black Swan with its carrier species at Bothal ;-) 

Eventually Mr Harrier returns and boy did he put in a stint today. Every minute for over an hour he took a twig into the reeds. At first I thought they were broken reeds but closer examination revealed they were more woody, which was why at times he struggled to separate them (Stems of Meadowsweet or similar.). Even when I returned in the afternoon he was still going strong (hope he had a lunch break).

Need to re-write my dog owner moan, now that I've calmed down.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Pipits and more ...

Always a tricky species I find. But three types here ... get out your field guides if you're not sure. The weed at Hauxley beach was teeming with insect life and amongst these pipits were at least 20 Pied Wagtails.

Finally I managed to get one of my friends on to the tricky chev bird, so my day was complete but I couldn't stop there. Whooper Swans were on the move again (30 Cresswell, 30 Widdrington, 60 Chev), Avocets were chasing each other and Chiffchaffs singing.

I love this time of year as you never know what's going to turn up next. 3 Sand Martins together and news of Great White Egret. I Will be out early every day for the next couple of months so who knows what I will find?

Friday, 20 March 2015

Eclipsing the Birding

Well what sight!

Now this was one day I would have liked to be back at work. All the kids on the field waiting to see if it was gong to be visible. Clear skies would have been terrible unless everyone had filter/glasses but with the cloud cover varying there were times observation was easy and when it got a little brighter it was OK to view through a blank CD (anyone else try it?).

There were times when the light was too strong and  especially when it passed under 70% cover. The sequence of photos is chronological. Showing the moon passing from right to left (or anticlockwise around the Earth).

Also the fact that the moon was not visible for the rest of the morning despite being there! All to do with the sunlight being so bright, the tiny speck (it's all relative) of the moon was reflecting so little light in comparison.

Aah ... the outdoor classroom, nothing better!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Waiting for Wheatears

An early start looking for Wheatears proved fruitless. However the cold night left some interesting ice forms on the plants.

Then a walk to the feeding station proved to be a good decision. Watching the comings and goings until all the birds left ... Sparrowhawk perhaps? However this turned my attention to the reeds in front and immediately three long-tailed birds dived for cover. On scanning the reds I found them moving upwards before all three perched in view!

Classic Moment.

I know the photo is rubbish, but it is mainly for those that didn't believe my sighting last week! The exciting extra detail is that the one on the left is a female.

Little Grebe

This Lesser Redpoll and its mate visited the feeders. All winter the Redpoll flock have avoided the feeders, favouring the wild seeds instead, so it was nice to get a close-up of this fine male.

An excursion across Stobswood and Hares, Kestrels, Buzzards, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were everywhere.

These well marked Greenland White-fronted Geese were at Hauxley amongst a rather cosmopolitan mixture including 2 Bar-headed Geese.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


Early morning at Cresswell and crowds have been forming to photograph the spectacular Barn Owls. Sadly my little Sony isn't p to the job so you'll have to settle for this grainy image.

The feeding station is still drawing in the birds and the feeders at Druridge could easily spring a surprise soon.

The Lesser Canada Goose at Chevington doesn't seem to be getting much publicity? Maybe because it is paired with a typical Canada Goose? Looks likely to stay all year.

Finally ... Sand Martin ... first of the year. Migration always amazes me, tiny little birds flying thousands of miles to visit Northumberland before retuning to Africa in September Everyone is awaiting the return of the Harriers and so far a few passage birds have been seen. Of course we should also expect that one year they may not return. If that happens I'm sure a pair of birds passing through will take advantage of the habitat.