Friday, 30 December 2016

Wallington Halll

 River Coquet

Wallington Hall (National Trust) is one of my favourite inland sites, so expect a few more posts in the coming months.(It'll stop when my membership expires of course.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find five Goosander n the rather small 'China Pond' and hear Green Woodpecker in the background.

Lots of Robins everywhere.


A healthy population of woodland birds.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Very good numbers of Nuthatches (easy to locate because of their loud calls).

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Turnstone ... yellow flag

After discovering a colour-ringed Turnstone at Chev I tried to locate the project. Later that day TC contacted me via Twitter and arranged to meet up the following day (Tuesday 27th).

The transmitters on the birds are Radio Transmitters (not Satellite as I thought). The project is with Newcastle University and is studying the 'home range' of Turnstones. All the birds have been ringed at Bondicarr, Hauxley. Three last week and eight yesterday.

After the rockets/net were in place it was a waiting game (3 hours). The Turnstone proved reluctant to play the game favouring a feeding area just 30 or so metres from the nets. Shepherd IR did try to encourage them to move but they simply looped around and went back to the original area. (Maybe this answers some of the projects questions?)

Eventually a number were in range and the net was launched over the birds. Eight Turnstone and several starlings were caught.

The colour rings include a yellow flag (right tibia), metal ring left tibia and a combination of three more colour rings on the tarsi. These will remain in place and it will be good to see how many, and how often they return to Northumberland.

As you will see some of the rings are orange. These might be difficult to see in the field so double check or better still get a photo if you can.

Head, Bill, Wing length and Age were recorded.

Transmitter tested (the aerial can detect the signal up to 1km  away).

No not more nail varnish, this is the glue to fit the transmitter. I believe these will fall off in about three months.

Finally the birds are released to continue feeding.

The first three, ringed last week, seem to be staying near the ringing site. Although the one at Chevington did wander further before returning later that day.

If you notice any of these birds (especially away from the Hauxley area) I'm sure TC would love to hear from you. Easiest to contact via Twitter @TomCadwallender

Thanks to all those involved or letting me gain an insight into the ringing process, hope I didn't get in the way.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Bling ... and more (+ update)

White-winged Blackbird

White-throated Blackbird


Well, corking morning on the beach. Before I had finished putting down the seed two Sanderling flew in calling and started eating it! HG had previously seen them feeding on crushed 'fat balls' so maybe they have turned fully vegetarian now?

Then the two Carrion Crows which were waiting nearby joined in and ...

According to BWP vol III plant material is eaten by Sanderling specially when there is a shortage of invertebrates. Seeds have been found in a number of dissected Sanderling stomachs. (Puccinellia sp and Najas marina are examples.) So maybe be not surprising they are waiting for me to throw out seed on a morning.

... finally the Shorelarks

Thirsty work eating all that dry seed.

Despite a very close flyby in good light my togger skills weren't up to it.

Then this!
Four rings, one flag and a radio tag? 

Finally got news of this project and it is a local one. Thanks to TC for the information. I will post more information soon. This bird travelled less than 2 miles (I was hoping it would have a more interesting history!)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Goose is Getting Fat ...

... aren't we all?

Shorelarks and Toggers have returned to their morning visits. Good flock of Pipits lingering around the patch.

Steady movement of Geese this week. The presence of White-fronted and Bean Geese a bonus.

Always distant, but with heavy cropping they are identifiable.

Darker plumage a bit of a clue here.

Quite pleased to identify one small flock (7) by a subtly different call as they passed over Chevington.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

WeBS and more..

Well I returned to doing the WeBS core counts for a few local ponds this weekend. In the near future I'll look back on some data and might produce a nice graph or two.

Good movement of large gulls over the past week. Over 400 on the beach at Chev one morning and managed to find an Iceland Gull. I think it is a 3W (3rd Winter) but I'm happy for someone more expert in these matters to correct me.

Long-tailed Ducks at Druridge and Bothal.

Stag's Horn Fungus (Candle Snuff Fungus)
(Xylaria hupoxylon)
Fairly common

Foggy morning in Rothbury last week.

Shorelarks are becoming 'afternoon birds' at Chev. But I had the brilliant luck to watch 20 (yes TWENTY) fly over me heading South this week near my home.

Lots of other interesting birds about; 30+ Meadow Pipits on Thursday, Hen Harrier, Velvet Scoter (Cambois) and Grey Wagtail (Burnmouth Chev).

20 Twite on the beach make up for the missing Shorelarks.

Finally as ATh was telling me about 2 Waxwings flying South from the Coal Road when another two flew past us a Chev. Later I had a flock of 12 at Stobswood.