A youngster all alone apart from his two siblings swimming alongside at Hauxley. Fast food for the gulls and where is Dad?
Oh...just a few hundred meters away and not a care in the world. I've been reading an interesting article in July issue of Bird Watching magazine regarding Shelduck who appear to be not the best of parents. They produce copious young but as most birders will know, most fall foul to predation. Two reasons.........one, that pairs remain antagonostic throughout breeding often to the detriment of the young.
These two without young were displaying to a pair with four young for no apparent reason other than jealousy. The other pair defended their brood but put them at risk during the process. However pairs steeling young may be quite acceptable in Shelduck society.
Most Shelduck in the North west of Europe decant to an area in Germany during July to October to fraternise and moult. This is Grossen Knechtsand between the Weser and Elbe on the northern coast. Unfortunately many are too keen to get there so creching of the young often takes place allowing some adults to absolve their responsibilities to reach their favourite place early. They return in the new year and Budle Bay has numbers in excess of 1000 in January as they disperse. The youngsters meanwhile have either grown to adult or succumbed to lifes pressures. It's a hard life being a young duck.
I called in at Hauxley today on the off chance that the Spoonbill would be there but as on my last three visits the bird had flown. I guess it must roost there and fly off to feed elsewhere mid morning and so a third dip but, having just settled in the tern hide a bird flew into the grass to the right of the hide. It fluttered up a couple of times and I was fairly sure it was a Cuckoo but for the next ten minutes it stayed pretty well hidden with just the odd glimpse of evil eye.
I waited on 1600 ISO ready for the fly past and duly the bird appeared flying toward the hide. I missed my first two shots in flight but as you can see it had the good manners to settle and pose for a moment just twenty yards away. Nice when they do that!
Obviously aware of my presence it gave me a good looking over before flying off in front of the hide south.
Off on the long trek to Africa, I wished it luck, good speed and thanked it for the photo op.
A brief trip up the coast calling at Cresswell which was very quiet then Hauxley where Gadwall families were the order of the day. One female with five youngish chicks fed constantly below the Ponteland hide..........
and another with seven older young paddled by. (Yes I know there's only six in the shot but there's always one). I didn't find the Marsh Warbler but heard a Quail whilst watching the big birds at East Chevington. Now back to my latest relaxation..........watching Veg's (Never Seconds) counter go round and round. 5,700,000 and counting.
On the kitchen roof in the rain this morning two young Woodpigeons. Not a bird we really need many more of but nice to see all the same.
Another ubiquitous species although not quite so as in the past is the Starling who are now feeding their second brood of the year in a nest above the bathroom window that has produced at least two broods every year for the past six.
You've got to fear for the breeding success of many species given the continued deluge. I see the Ospreys at Kielder appear to be struggling much the same as the Springwatch birds did.
Just the chattering and churring of Whitethroat, the willowing of Warbler and the briefest flash of Redstart to report. No Groppers or Sedgies, the Curlew have fallen silent and even the corvids seem reluctant to make a fuss.
What's that racket?...................Spain have just scored. Excuse me for a moment.
A trip to the bank then a walk in Ponteland Park to raise the depression. Not much around other than a pile of dog walkers. The river was running full and whilst watching a Dipper prospecting a still pool under the roots of a tree a young Blackcap gave me a wary eye from the trees above.
Nearly always guaranteed a Dipper in the park although you generally flush them before you get a good view and with the river rapid, murky and overhanging trees making it dark not the best conditions.
Later on Prestwick Carr I managed to locate the Willow Tit family being fed by the parents at two locations abouit fifty yards apart. Probably at least five young although visuals were fleeting so I was relying on counting squeeks and churs.
Mission accomplished. Work finished and straight up to Hadston where a small crowd had gathered around a very vocal bird. Not immediately obvious other than by song it gave many glimpses before eventually popping up into full view.
Pale edges to primary feathers clearly visible although ident not really needed given the repeated song unfortunately not captured due to the strong breeze.
Reeds often got in the way as it stayed low although on a couple of occasions it came within ten feet perching briefly on brambles in front of the assembled throng.
Much mimicry of other bird song and a cracking little chap. Check out Birding sometimes for quality shots.
Work and weather has meant little in the way of photography. Two brief moments of sunshine earlier in the week produced these but it's been dire since. Haven't even been tempted by the Marsh Warbler at Hadston Carr although was almost there on Thursday. As I left Blyth after a site visit I was just about to turn up the road when the heavens opened so I aborted the mission.
Maybe later today although I've got a meeting in foreign parts (Sunderland) at 1.00 to attend so possibly a quick trip back through the tunnel and up the A19.
I was watching this beauty and his missus at the weekend as they mooched around their reeded pool not really doing much with intent. During one preening session though he got his eye on something and headed off with determination.
A Crow was the object of his ire and a tussle ensued although the Crow gave as good as he got. Amazing how folk taking in the country air can miss a lot of the action.
Further up the coast this juvenile Heron was hiding in amongst the reeds as every time he ventured out onto the main pond an adult set upon him. Lifes like that.......nowt but hassle.
First task of the week to get back on line. Computer and associated bits dis-connected and re-assembled in the bedroom. It seemed a good idea 20 years ago to ask the telephone engineer to install the master socket in the bedroom rather than lounge so that I could distribute extensions seamlessly throughout the house. Now that telephones are all wireless and the one place I need a good connection is the computer, its all a bit of a hassle. Here I am kneeling by my bed as if praying to the great god Int'net. Anyway looks like I've found the problem in the shape of a loose orange and white wire. Reminds me of a joke......Kenny Rogers walking down Hollywood Boulevard when he trips and falls into the ample bosom of Ms Parton upon which he was heard to sing....'you picked a fine time to leave me loose heel'
As you see, I managed to catch up with the Redstart who posed nicely if a little backlit
Now to fix that wire, replace said computer in its desired location and muck out the house now I've disturbed all this dust!
sad old loner totally p****d off with life, work and modern society hence the propensity to head off into the wilds to escape.
Photos taken with Canon 500D and (from 14.06.13) Tamron 70-300 zoom following the demise of my Canon zoom.