Sunday, 29 June 2008

I forgot that on my way back to the car I saw 1 Grey Partridge in the meadow hill field near the bypass at Big Waters.

Pleasantly Surprised

Screw it I thought yesterday, I'm not going to let the petrol prices stop me reaching 200, so I went off to Washington Wild Fowl Park.
I hadn't been to the Park for over three years and was plesantly suprised to see that the site had moved slightly away from being a prison for exotic birds and was becoming more of a natural habitat for british birds.
After admiring the captives I went to the Waders Lake and managed to see 6 Oystercatcher, 10 Lapwing, 12 Grey Heron, 16 Mallard, 40+ Arctic Tern, 30+ BH Gull, 20 Shellduck, 2 Moorhen, 4 Tufted Duck, 3 Teal, 2 Greylag Geese, 2 Canada Geese, 20 Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed plover and 2 Avocet.
The Avocets are annual visiters to the lake and were being dive bombed by the Terns many of which had nests with young chicks of various sizes.
Next I went to the woodland feeding station hide where apart from 4 Grey Squirrels and 3 Brown Rat there were 6 Chaffinch, 4 Bullfinch, 2 great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Long Tailed Tit, 1 Willow Tit and 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker ( three young and one adult). All in all a good days birding.
Today I though I would go to Big Waters as I hadn't been there for nearly a year.
Walking around the lake I managed to see 6 Arctic Tern, 1 Cormorant, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 1 Common Sandpiper and 12 Mallard+ 14 Ducklings.
At the Feeding station I saw 16 Tree Sparrow, 1 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Yellowhammer, 2 Pheasant, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker,1 Moorhen and 1 Rabbit.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Local patch

With petrol prices rising I didn't have the luxury of going to Cresswell or Druridge ect so decided to look around my local patch for a change, something which I should be doing more often.
I had planned to go to Arcot Pond, West Hartford and Laverock Hall Farm Pond but the weather dedcided that I was only going to go to West hartford.
I spent about 30 minutes at the main flash and managed to see 40+ Lapwing some with young, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Herring Gull, 1 BH Gull, 3 LBB Gull, 1GBB Gull, 1 Moorhen, 7 Skylark and 3 Rook.
On my way home I checked the marsh field and saw 1 single tiny Moorhen chick which was swimming on a small puddle before it stopped and stared at me for about two minutes it then dissapeard into the reeds where I heard the parent calling. I also heard at least 2 Teal in amongst the reeds.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Swimming in the Rain

Yesterday I went to Cresswell pond in search of the Little Gulls that have been there for weeks now.
I parked by the side of the road and all that I saw was 1 grey Heron and 1 Shellduck with 7 humbug style chicks, so I went off to Druridge pools.
As ther heavens opened I ran to the indoor hide where an otter gave brilliant views in the water right outside the hide for about ten minutes.
I have only ever seen one Otter before yesterday and that was at the exact same place very breifly in October as it got dive bombed by a Kingfisher.
I watched the latest otter happily swimming in the rain as it caught a huge fish which it then took onto the bank and ate, but as usual no camera!
I then went to the Budge field hide and apart from the usuals there was a Little Egret fishing behind some reeds. I watched it for about ten minutes before it flew off into the tree tops where it argued with a Grey Heron for a further five minutes.
On my way home I saw a worrying sign as smoke was covering the field and roadside not far from Linton Lane. I can only hope that it was from Linton itself and not another case of arson at the reserve.
I also noticed a summer plumage Long Tailed Duck in the River Wansbeck next to Castle Island.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Wild Goose Chase

I had my first Wild Goose chase today, in search of the Bean Goose that was reported on Birdguides yesterday.

I started at Longhirst Flash where it was reported but no sign, only 2 Mute Swans and a couple of Coots.

Next to Linton Lane, no sign there either. A Mute Swan family with 2 cygnets showed well in front of the hide at the bigger pond but as usual no camera. There were also 4 third year Herring Gulls on the left island on the smaller pond as well as all the usual suspects.

The same at Bothal Pond just another Mute Swan family with 6 cygnets and some coots with there young.

On tuesday I visited Holywell Pond and took these Crap photos:
I cant even be bothered to upload the rest

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Reward

With most of the day available I decided to act on yesterdays decision and went to Druridge Pools in search of the Temminck's Stint and anything else that I could add to my list.
On my way to the Druridge I went the Cresswell way past the pond and this is when I noticed a Spoonbill feeding in the flooded field next to Cresswell causeway.
With a car behind me I couldn't stop and decided to come back to the pond later.
I spent about an hour searching the Budge field at Druridge for the Stint but found nothing.
Checking the main pool and finding nothing I had one last try at the half built hide where I had seen the Lesser Yellowlegs a few weeks ago.
After checking for about 15 minutes all I saw were a few Gadwall, Shellduck, Garganey and a Snipe this was until two men came out of the main pool hide and within minutes of them checking, managed not only to find the Temm Stint flitting around the long grass on the waters edge but also a Little Stint.
Both Stints then disappeared back into the long grass and I disappeared off to Cresswell Pond.
As I was leaving about ten people came to look for the Temm Stint and after talking to one of the people he said that he had seen three Spoonbill at Hauxley at 6:30 this morning after hearing that they were flying south of Long Nanny at 4:30.
I then thought I saw two Wrynecks in the trees next to the Budge field hide but was unaible to get a claer sighting of them before they flew off further into the bushes. So if any are reported here I know I can add them to my list as they are very distinctive birds.
I stopped at the car park next to the dunes at Cresswell as a group of people were gathered here looking a the Spoonbill which was feeding only meters away from the stone wall dividing the pond from the road.
What a bird and what good views, why didn't I bring my camera.
The only other time I have seen Spoonbills was last summer at Leighton Moss in Lancashire where I got distant views of eight feeding in the water but todays was a county first for me.
Thanks to everybody that helped and talked to me today as this was very useful.
So thats 149 and 150 back on the list and this time they are staying which I think is a reward for making yesterdays decision.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


After reflecting on my birding so far I have decided to make things harder for myself by removing 20 birds from my british birds list. I have done this because I have already misidentified five british species and included 15 species that I saw on holiday.
I would prefer to keep a clean list even if it does leave me with 148 species seen in Britain.
All of a sudden 200 by the end of the year seems a lot harder.
Well at least its honest.