Saturday, 29 March 2014

Why won't my Chiff chaff?

Present along the bumpy road now for twelve days now this chap has been feeding furiously but only the oo-ee contact call is uttered. Perhaps it's got something to do with the bleak weather. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Polling station

It's hard to avoid all the talk of polls at the moment
These are the only pollsters I would give my vote to
The Gorbachev of the bird world or is that cruel (to the birds)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Also at Hauxley on Saturday whilst chatting to LJM and searching a huge flock of Pink footed Geese for a Bean Goose this chap appeared who I first saw on the 16th. Bigger than a Greylag with a big gnarly black beak it has features of Swan Goose / Chinese Goose but doesn't fit in with any of the images I can find so maybe an interbreed.
Despite its size the Greylags did not look favourably on it and was chased off on the occasions it ventured near them.
Also present a pair of Barnies, a Whitefront and a few Canada Geese for almost a full house.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

If the boys want to fight

Moorhens at Hauxley yesterday
this battle lasted almost five minutes before one gave up
eventually being pushed under by the victor
and all along the female stood by and watched even joining in with a cry of conquest at the end.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Springing forth

Underneath the tree at my back door this morning some newly discarded egg shells indicating the two eggs in the Collared Doves nest had hatched. The pair have chosen a slightly better built and more discrete location than previous years but just visible from the back window.
This would be the sixth consecutive year they have nested at this location and sometimes have three broods although the latter ones are normally a single.
I assume it's the proud father mooching around the back garden whilst her upstairs settles down for a two-three week brooding session.

Monday, 17 March 2014


I caught this little chap crossing the range bridleway on Saturday. Those of my generation will recall Tufty Fluffytail who taught us all how to cross roads safely. Actually invented by Elsie Mills MBE in 1953 the road safety campaign began in 1961 and the Tufty Club ran into the eighties but was superseded for road safety by Green Cross Code in the seventies. Countless books were published with thousands of clubs and over 2 million members at the peak. As is often the case with British publicity campaigns of the 20th century there appears to be little in fact that supported using a squirrel. In my experience they are pretty abysmal at crossing roads and tend to walk with the flow rather than across with a tendency to stop every so often and have a look around like this one.
Other than the addition of Siskin to the PC list for 2014 the weekend was pretty much blown away by the foul wind with the first displaying Meadow Pipits battling against gale.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Normal service resumes

After a poor showing this winter for Short eared Owls and two weeks of watching a bird that steadfastly refused to hunt until after dark......
Finally some action this afternoon
Things are looking up

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sing out loud

Spring appears to have sprung

Saturday, 8 March 2014

sin or car

There I was in Blyth harbour the other day snapping away at Cormorants as they rounded the jetty returning to their roost on the other side of the river, as you do when it's bleak and cold. On comparing photos I wondered whether I had captured a Continental (Phalacrocorax sinensis) race bird above.
Compare with this one which is the nominate British race (Phalacrocorax carbo). Not being any sort of expert a check on BWPi gave the distinctions sinensis ID of gular patch angle greater than 85 deg, slightly smaller in size especially the bill and tends to reflect green blue in the feathers rather than purple blue for carbo.
Size appears right but poor light for reflection so the gular comparison. 85 degrees? 

Friday, 7 March 2014

And two come along together

Having battled for feeding rights most of winter my Robins are now paired and waiting for the off.
Meanwhile the Prestwick Road bus incident of March 2014

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Crest Fallen

Mid morning Sunday I returned home having walked the patch with good numbers present and nearing sixty species for the weekend so I dumped my kit at the door and headed upstairs with a coffee to do some work. It must have been unusually engrossing as I didn't return downstairs till 1.00pm when I remembered my mobile was still in my jacket pocket. The screen illuminated to reveal four missed calls and two missed texts. My Dad being ill the old ticker skipped a beat but on examination all the communication was from birders. 11.22 John says Red Kite over Big Waters heading your way then reported over the White Swan (100 yards from my house). Graeme said likewise and Mike said bird flew across the Carr disappearing over Prestwick.
Now Red Kite is my bogey bird on the Carr and to have one fly over my house having been well fore warned left me looking like this Goldcrest.
Nice little bird very active on the Carr at the moment but actually sat still for a minute to allow the shots which should have been.........Red Kite but many thanks for your efforts chaps.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A bit of blue sky

After pounding the Carr Saturday morning off which more later, I dropped some papers off at Cramlington and headed on to Blyth where Snow Bunting had been reported. No sign of snow but a nice day all the same.
Almost looks Mediterranean and warm doesn't it although I had to photoshop some rubbish out of the foreground.
As such the harbour attracted a better class of boat which I bet cost a few bob. The Cormorants at their roost looked on with disregard.
As I stood on the pier numerous groups of waders flew overhead and on the way back to the car I found them on the roof of shed 17. A mixture of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Redshank as far as I could see.