Sunday, 27 March 2016

Ok it is Spring.

A quick return to Chev and AMc and BB told me of a House Martin with the Sand Martins, but warned me that they had all gone SW. It was getting very breezy and there was a chill in the wind. To my surprise the Sand Martins had returned but with a Swallow.

Then a blustery shower passed over whilst I took refuge in the car. It only lasted five minutes but I headed back to the n to corth pool to check if the Martins were still present. Yes they were, but also,  right in front of the hide this smart Wheatear. It flew to the fence, allowed a couple of grab shots before dropping into the long grass and out of view.

Almost Spring

Insects in the Sun

Grey Partridge

The ancient forest appeared at Hauxley only to disappear under sand two days later.

New Marsh Harrier over the reedbed. No missing feather, smaller wing patches and very distinct, faded primaries on right wing.

I love seeing returning migrant birds. What a  journey these Sand Martins must have had and they arrive at a cool windswept pool in Northumberland (4 on Friday per AS, 12 yesterday with a Swallow ( per AC)  and 30+ today). In addition a Chiffchaff has been near the hide at Chev for over a week but finally started singing yesterday. Today another two birds arrived and were very busy feeding near the dunes.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Colour Ringing (more finds)

Budge Screen
Pintail in fine form soon there'll be Garganey?

Warkworth Lane
Ideal Penduline habitat?

I expected this chap to be showing some colour by now, but apparently they may not achieve the orange colouration until their second year?

Real geese at the 'Goose Farm'.

Buff-tailed and Orange-tailed seen today. The Orange one was trying to pollinate a BMW badge.

This Herring Gull was ringed in SE Scotland I believe. Waiting for details. Today it was in Amble Harbour.

This Great Black-backed Gull also at Amble today was a Norwegian bird. 

Nils Helge Lorentzen (and team) have set up a great website. Type in details and you get immediate feedback.

copy and paste into browser

Last CR-Code Black ring with white code: JU527 LBNW(JU527);RBM
Ringing Centre Stavanger Museum (Norway) Ring number 3020779
Species Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus    

Date  Place Coordinates    Days    Distance Direction
20.07 2015      
Jarstein, Nord, Karm√ły, Rogaland, Norway 59°09'00"N 005°10'25"E ----- ----- ---
21.03 2016     
Amble, Northumberland, Great Britain 55°20'02"N 001°34'04"W 245 587

Friday, 18 March 2016

Rock Pipit ... update

This colour-ringed bird was feeding on the beach at Hauxley yesterday. I think it was ringed in Scotland (Aberdeenshire) but I'm waiting to hear from the ringer.

Hi David,
thanks very much for reporting your sighting, which is indeed from my project in Aberdeenshire. This is a very interesting record, hence the number of people copied in.

Ringed on 19/03/2015 at St Combs, just south of Fraserburgh. I thought it might be a Scandinavian bird, as St Combs seems to be a final stop-over before they head across the sea in spring, with not many there for the rest of the year. The bird was feeding frantically (I caught it three times that morning, & it must have eaten about 5 mealworms), and had rather pale outer tail feathers. I think it was just starting its pre-breeding moult, so the other features that distinguish the Scandinavian littoralis race birds were not yet very obvious.

It was not seen again until 19/12/2015, when it was photographed in Ayr Harbour, south of Glasgow, a movement of 296km. This was the first bird reported any distance south of Aberdeen, after 7 years of colour-ringing them. This was closely followed by a chick turning up in Fife, 2 years after ringing.

Little is known about wintering Scandinavian birds, since it is nearly impossible to distinguish them from British birds until in breeding plumage.

Your photos show that this bird is in the middle of its moult: grey feathers coming through around the head, pale eyestripe appearing & breast spots disappearing, with a possible pink tinge showing on just one of the photos. This will likely reaffirm opinion that this is indeed a Scandinavian bird.

I will keep a lookout for it back at St Combs over the next few weeks, and hope that it will be seen during the breeding season. I imagine that it will head north soon, but if it stays around for a while, more photos of it further through its moult would be great.

Many thanks once again for your valuable record and great photos.
Best wishes,

Grampian Ringing Group.

Monday, 14 March 2016

I Love Mondays

Thanks to STa  for finding this Great White Egret and the news was put out quickly. As I was at Lynemouth Power station car park, it was only 10 minutes later and I was watching the bird (at Bothal Pond). It had a loose feather to spoil the aesthetic effect but it had no problem flying.

Earlier this morning I noticed a report of Avocets at Cresswell. Again I was nearby and arrived to find 10 present. I have been  checking Cresswell every day in hope. The nine stuck together but weren't too happy with the ringed bird? This, I'm sure, is the regular returning bird. Ringed in the first brood at Cresswell 10th August 2012.

Other highlights over the last few days: Peregrines, Buzzards, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl and Sparrowhawks.

Little Egrets at three sites, two amazingly bright male Crossbills and lots of birds in full song.

Hoopoe Lark at Chev
Maybe not ... just an overgrown upper mandible.

Even a pair of Redpolls lingering at Chev.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Third Time Lucky

Siskins in garden this week (first this winter) and Goldfinch numbers up to six. Around the bay still plenty of owl sightings and the massed rank of photographer are back at Cresswell. Great Crested Grebe at Chev, first a winter plumage bird then a stunning breeding plumage bird. The Slavonian Grebe has also reappeared. The Marsh Harrier continues to hunt around the bay sometimes as far as Cresswell.

News of the Shorelark at Alnmouth came too late for me to visit on Monday (builders expected). Tuesday I had a brief visit, but as little information was give about location, this proved unsuccessful. A call from AC and we gave it a second trip armed with slightly better info.Two hours later we were still 'Shorelarkless' but at least we were looking in the right area. This morning AC sent me even better directions and I braved the rutted road and at last success. 

Better than expected it gave good views feeding in the light drizzle.


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Cormorant Conundrum

29th February added two new year birds. LBB Gulls (1st migrants of the year) at QEII country park and Red-legged Partridge at Druridge.

This Cormorant has the look of a Newcastle manager?

Just had another look at the Cormorant photo and remembered an article about 'Gular Pouch Angles'. this one appears to be about 90 degrees suggesting Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis.
Let me know what you think!

Chevington burnmouth is a great place to watch displaying Ringed Plover. Lynemouth flash field has 20+ Ringed Plover

Penduline Chat?

No just Stonechat with a penchant for perching on Reedmace.

Chance encounter at Druridge

Scaup (above) Tuftie (below)
Druridge Pools