Monday, 29 September 2008

Patch Tick

I kept my promise and had a quick walk around Crammy today but stayed mainly at Beacon Lane.
A flock of about 40 Geese went over head but I couldn't identify them as they were to high up and I didn't have my binoculars. On my way back a Grey Wagtail flew over head calling, (Patch Tick).
I haven't had a chance to upload the rest of my photos from saturaday yet.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Back with photos!

Went to linton Lane and Cresswell Pond today, not for any particular reason just because I wanted to use my camera.

Not much at Linton, Mallard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot and a Magpie overhead but I did manage to get some good shots.
Not much at Cresswell either apart from Peregrine that flew past the hide. I was going to upload more images but as you can see they will not move so I will have to post them seperately.



Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Around Crammy

I haven't posted anything for a while now because the blog seems to be very temperamental and only lets me on at certain times, hopefully this will stop soon and I will get back into the habit of regularly up dating the blog.
I haven't done much birding recently as I have been busy and instead have been taking a closer look at the birds on my door step.
I am dissapointed that I haven't seen a Honey Buzzard during the recent influx or the Wryneck at Seaton deleval which I hoped would at least move to east Crammy Nature reserve.
Since I came back to school three weeeks ago I have seen a small female Sparrowhawk most days in trees at the front of the school or being mobbed by Carrion Crows.
I have seen Robin, Dunnock, Wren and blackbirds in the bushes also and a good number of tits on the feeders in the bushes towards the housing estate, this is before last week when the feeders were smashed at the school gates. At least the seed that fell out were feeding the local rats, gotta love rats.
House Sparrows are everywhere as usual, so are Starlings but there is a serious lack of gulls around at the minute.
I have seen a few BH Gulls on the playing field behind D block plus one unidentified species which looked like a strange hybrid but it flew off before i could see it properly.
By this time in past years I have seen loads of BH Gulls, Common Gulls along with some LBB and GBB Gulls but not this year.
Everybody always complains about the gulls crapping on them and stealing there food around the campus, both of which have never happened to me or anybody else I know. I hope that the school leader, the mighty MR. Wise, ( all hail) has not payed some body to kill off the feathered terrors to stop them attacking the recent influx of small helpless childern which are now in the schools Junior learing Village.
Oh well I can feel another Cramlington Learning Village rant coming on so I better go before the Crammy secret service snipers pick me off like an innocent Gull.
Next time I go birding I can finally guarentee that I will return with pictures.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

If Carlsberg did birdwatching it would probably be like today

What a day.
With the water levels being lowered earlier in the week I had been itching to go to Cresswell Pond but school got in the way as usual.
When I arrived there today, after avoiding the puddles which were still surprisingly deep, I saw that there were at least 25 bird watchers on the road side at the north end of the causeway.
After about 5 minutes and my second little Stint of the year, some dog walking arseholes decided to walk across the causeway and scare off almost everything. One of the walkers even came up to me and said, ''will this effect your bird watching?'', even when I said yes she still carried on.
Most of the now fairly pissed bird watcher packed up and drove off or like me, went to the hide.
The hide was as good as it's ever going to get with some mud flats appearing and held, 4 Wigeon, 50+ BH Gull, 7 Common Gull, 1 Little Gull- Lifer, 19 Lapwing, 4 Oystercatcher, 10 Bar tailed Godwit, 18 Knot, 9 Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 6 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 7 Dunlin, 17 Snipe, 1 Cormorant and 1 Water Rail- Lifer!!!
I have always wanted to see a Water Rail today was finally the day. Another birder spotted it first, it was running next to the reeds in a amongst the snipe group and stayed out for about 5 minutes, cleaning itself with its foot before disappearing back into the reeds.
If the water levels had not been lowered I don't think that I would have seen the Rail and if that isn't a sign to the NWT that the water should be lowered at the right time of the year then I
don't know what is.
I then checked the bank on the left side of the pond where there were a large number of ducks one of which was a female Pintail- lifer.
A Black Tern- Lifer then joined the crowd of gulls on the mud flats and cleaned itself for a while before flying off.
A Redstart was flying about in the dunes next to the car park.
I went back to the causeway about two hours later and met one of the bird watchers that I met at Newbiggin last week, who kindly let me borrow his scope where I saw, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers- Lifer and 1 Buff Breasted Sandpiper- Lifer amongst others.
On the way home I stopped at Newbiggin where I saw 1 Guillemot riding the waves, 6 Wheatear and 1 Female Velvet Scoter- lifer.
All in all probably the best days birdwatching of the year or even ever.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

End of the World?

As the Swiss open their black hole in an attemp to find out about the big bang theory and end the world, I am looking back on what has been a very good year for birdwatching for me.
I have seen both spring and autum migrants as well some good summer watches at Cresswell and Druridge.
Highlights have been:
Palla's Warbler- Rising Sun Country Park
Lesser yellowlegs- Druridge Pools
Rose Coloured Starling- Long Nanny
Spotted Crake- Swallow Pond
Red Backed Shrike- St. Mary's Island
There is probably more just I have forgotten at the minute.
I would say that I am hoping for a good winters birdwatching but the world is about to end...very
inconvenient, I wish I had at least seen a Wryneck.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Migrant Mission 2: Red lifers

Crammy Birder in an all star cast featuring Redstart, Pied flycatcher and Red backed Shrike.
With only a half day today, the migrant hunt was back on. Whitley Bay Cemetery was the location today. After a two hour spell I saw:
4 robin
6 Spotted flycatcher
3 Pied Flycatcher-Lifer 173
2 Redstart- Lifer 174
There was no sign of the Red Breasted Flycatcher, Wryneck or Barred Warbler, which had moved on by the time I got there.
I then went to St Mary's to see the Red Backed Shrike which was on the island in the cottage garden.
When I got there John malloy was watching a flock of House Sparrows, one of which turned out to be a Juv Red Backed Shrike-Lifer 175 which flew around the bushes and ran accross the wall for about half an hour.
The last two lifers I had before today began with Spotted and today started with Red, hopefully next time it will be Semipalmated or Icterine.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Migrant Mission

Ok so this mornings post was a little premature and at two o'clock I finished the boring tasks and with the sun creeping out headed off to Newbiggin.
I could have gone to a number of different locations but when I saw that a Dotterel was on the Golf course that swayed it for me.
There was no sign on the golf course so I headed off to the mound where the Red Breasted Flycatcher and Greenish Warbler were.
I met a number of other birders today off which I know none of their names, sorry.
There were about five birders scanning the trees just off the track when me and two other birders arrived.
Someone said that the RBF hadn't been seen for about an hour but we were in the right area.
there were also a few pied Flycatchers and Spotted Flycather around.
After about half an hour my time was up and I had to go home. I didn't see the Red Breasted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher or Greenish Warbler but did see 2 Spotted flycatcher sitting in the tree tops, Lifer 172.
Not as spectacular as my last lifer begining with Spotted but never the less a Lifer is a Lifer.
Small Warblerish bird where flitting about just out of sight which made it more frustrating, one was a Goldcrest, I think it was too quick to see.
On the way back to the car I saw a Whinchat in the graveyard and 26 Wheatear , 11 on the golf course and the rest on the beach.
I really like Newbiggin and can now see how it's got such a good migrant reputation.
I also found out that the Dotterel was about two miles away from the golf course nearer Alcan but I didn't have enough time.

Wake me up when September ends

I knew yesrerday when I saw the heavy rain that this spelt only one thing, Migrants.
There everywhere this weekend and I can't get out to see them.
I wish I didn't know anything about these migrants as it is just making boring house hold tasks even more painful.
Hopfuly the roads will get a little better and allow me to do some migrant spotting but the clouds outside are ready to spoil those plans.
Why can't Cramlington be further towards the sea then I wouldn't even need the car.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Garden Keeping

On my list of birds that I have recorded in crammy I am now going to put a G next to the birds that I have seen in my garden, as this has been a major source of sightings in Cramlington.
I feel like a fraud at time calling myself Crammy Birder as I do little bird watching in Cramlington but I am going to change that from now on...I think.
My garden was the first real place I started watching and have been lucky enough to see some better than avarage garden species over the years.
On another note I am still confident in my sighting of a spotted Crake last Sunday and I know that it was not a juv Coot or Water Rail. Water Rail... I wish I still haven't seen one despite hours of trying, freezing half to death in the Cresswell hide over the winter.