Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Spoon feeding

Having had to work the Bank Holiday the news of a Temmincks Stint at Cresswell made me break off and head north mid afternoon. I joined Brian near the causeway and got some good views of the tiny bird although distant on the far shore and way out of range for my camera. Then, with the light fading and rain threatening I made the short trip to Hauxley for the Spoonbill. From the Ponteland hide the bird was located feeding in the bay, as usual, as far away from the hide as it could get! The number of rings on the leg was a bit detrimental to the aesthtics of the bird although at the range and with the poor light spectacular photographs were not to be had. I have however checked Mike Hodgsons excellent paper on the rise of Spoonbills in Northumberland (currently unavailable due to the re-vamping of the bird club website) and found this was the same bird present for 45 days at Druridge Pools in May / July 2011. Ringed as a nestling at Schiermonnikoog Oosterkwelder in the Netherlands on 26th June 2009 it is now coming up to its fifth ringing day. It visited Cantabria later in 2009 a movement of 1323km shortly after being ringed so one can only speculate how far it has travelled in the meantime.
Eventually it stopped feeding coming closer and having a bit of a preen before standing alongside the resident Heron who of course took exception to the visitor and chased it back into the far corner of the pool. Hauxley must be far enough away from Amble not to come under the umbrella of 'the friendliest port'.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A bit of sun

Swallows on the line
Whitethroat on its song post
and a pair of Jackdaws sunbathing in a most incovenient location or are they just hogging the feeder?

Friday, 24 May 2013


Despite choosing what I considered to be a nesting site highly unlikely to succeed the Ringed Plover pair I blogged earlier appear to have two young.
I kept my distance so pushing the limits a bit but with the weather being so poor there were few people about to cause disturbance to the brood.
With numerous large gulls drifting past only 25 meters away they will have to keep a wary eye out but seem to be using the grassy bank as cover.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


This years young Collared Dove hanging around the back of the house as its parents get down to brood No2. Daft thing flew into the kitchen the other day as I went out to fill the feeders and managed to knock everything off the window cill before I ushered it out. The Blackbirds are well on feeding their second brood in the nest whilst the first House Sparrows and Starlings are begging about the garden. Every time I go out the front door the Jackdaw brood in the tree start screaming on whilst the Blue Tits in the back box look ready to start feeding their young soon. Hope the weather improves as I can't see many of the smaller green caterpillars that are their staple diet surviving the deluge.
Stuck commuting between home, Cramlington and the Freeman Hospital over the last week so am looking forward to a bit of freedom at the weekend having missed all the highlights on Holy Island. Managed a try for the Ortolan Bunting at Newbiggin but couldn't find it although I got a new job in the process so no harm done.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Reflecting sheep

A day of rain and the Carr is back to flooded level. The sheep graze amongst the flashwater whilst the numerous non breeding ducks are happy with their lot. A pair of Shelduck visited and a Whimbrel flew overhead but no other waders of note. Stuck near home due to circumstance beyond my control so the good birds at the coast will have to go un-visited. Very grey turning to black.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Summers Sand

Ah the benefits of a temperate climate! Stuck inside whilst it chucks it down outside. This nice summer plumage Sanderling was lingering at Hauxley last weekend. I would imagine it will by now have departed for the breeding grounds in the north.
Its obvious to see why the plumage changes to match its environment in the rocks.
I wonder if nature will ever adapt to dealing with the background of mans crap?

Friday, 17 May 2013


Thanks to a text from Crammy Birder, prior to commencing the days torment I headed off to West Hartford and along with a few others and added life tick 277 to the list. As I walked in to the site I met the finder of the Black Kite, Liverbirder heading off to do his duties and was surprised at the excellent views of the bird perched in strong sunlight. It stayed put for a further fifteen minutes or so before being pestered by a Crow and flying briefly and putting down again. Then, it must have determined the days work must begin and started soaring, drifting across in front of us before gaining height and eventually becoming a spec in the distance. The excellent views were somewhat dampened by the malfunction of my equipment meaning I could only save these crappy images from the under exposed blackness.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Depth of field is what is missing in this Mr & Mrs shot. Doh!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Running rings

I can't remember which camp comedian had 'chase me' as his catchline but this Ringed Plover was from the same school as I checked a nest site that I've watched regularly over the last few years. It's in an industrial area on the coast and fairly heavily trafficed by dog walkers, fishermen, bikers and a variety of ne're do wells. The nest though is, or was, in a secure fenced enclosure with very rare access. On Thursday after ticking Collared Flycatcher I visited and as I walked round the enclosure was amused by this bird who landed in front of me quite close and watched me over its shoulder whilst teasing me to come closer but always walking away from the nest site. I played the game having already seen the sitting bird from a distance and got the benefit of some close shots.
I checked again yesterday to see if they had hatched young but couldn't locate them which isn't a surprise as there is loads of places to hide chicks in the gravelled enclosure. As I returned to the car I did however find another bird nearby. As I sat in the car the bird seemingly convinced I had gone walked up the side of the fence to twenty feet away and snuggled down on what were presumably eggs outside the safety of the enclosure and in a very public area! Had the first nest been lost and she re-laid in a new location or was this another pair. As I contemplated with a degree of concern about the exposure of the nest a second bird approached the first and they swapped positions the new bird settling onto the eggs. I watched a little longer before starting the car and driving away. The bird never budged and hopefully will safely be there for the duration of the incubation.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Lesser Redpoll

Nice pair visiting the Niger seed feeder morning and night suggesting they may be breeding nearby.
It's a pity their choice of meal times means there's never any decent light not helped by my zoom lens rapidly going down the pan.
More expemse at a time when things look pretty bleak in every direction. Can birding keep me (make me) sane I wonder.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Adopted geordies

On the way back from some less than thriling views of the Purple Heron I stopped off to watch the two pairs of Avocet arguing about ownership of their patch.
It's nice to see these birds back and looking to breed for the third year running. The team colours are spot on but hopefully they'll perform better than the Toon.
Such elegance for a fiesty bird.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Being a bad birdwatcher

Friday saw another bird added to the Prestwick Carr list. Water Pipit was found by PRM which sent me into a bit of a frenzy. On the 19th last month whilst photographing Yellow Wagtails I noticed a Pipit which I thought was a Rock Pipit. Then I thought again, come on now Peter this is your inland patch so ignored it. Just in case I took some shots and returned to the Yellow Wags. The report now had me searching the images for that day but the few I found were not in the order I recalled so I sent them to the finder for comment and of course I had some poor shots of Meadow Pipit. Must make a note in future to observe rather than just look.
Never mind the PC list is now 196 and the double ton is in sight with 157 in the bag for me. In hope of more have spent the weekend searching but in vain as the flash water dries up by the minute. Today as I got out of the car I met Nigel and we headed up the road where the Wheatear were at rest rather than hopping around in their usual manner.
Scanning the pools no Pipits at all and few Wagtails but Linnets sang overhead and the weather was set fair. Up the bridle track for better views of the remaining flash water only one White Wagtail was the highlight along with more Wheatears and a single Lapwing. Then a familiar call. Common Tern and there it hove into view with fish in beak heading east toward Big Waters. Ton up for the Carr with Blackcap heard at the golf course on Saturday.
At the sentry box views up the hedgerow in the hope of Pied Flycatcher produced pairs of Redstart, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Long tailed Tit. All the warblers (Willow, Sedge, Grasshopper, Whitethroat and possible Blackcap) were in full song and Buzzards called in the distance. Chris joined us telling of Osprey at Whittle Dene a possible for this afternoon although unfortunately I have work planned.
Also pleasant were the first multiple butterfly sightings of the year three Small White, two Tortoiseshell, Peacock and my first Orange Tip were all ticked. It must now be spring.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Snatched shots

Down at St Mary's after work on Friday a good number of birds flitting round the few tourists braving the cool winds. Wheatear looks like it has eyebrows.
Plenty of sub adult large gulls mooching around always on the lookout for a free meal............
and still some Turnstone and Sanderling on the beach many getting near summer plumage.
I spent a while trying to find the most developed Sanderling which is a totally different bird to the winter plumage silver grey birds we are familiar with.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A blue post

Well everybody else has so a belated Blue headed Wagtail posting
Pornography at it's best!
The youngster there when I took this was disappointed it wasn't a proper Yellow Wagtail. Nice to get the rarities out of the way before the commoners.
and more porn............a white arse. For those not familiar, translated from Norse............ Wheatear. It's Bank Holiday and a busy week. Can't tell my arse from my ear either.