Saturday, 31 January 2009

Confirmed Lifer

Was out with Steve Holiday at St.Mary’s to try again for the Water Pipit. It was there today on the rocks in the North Bay with a Grey Wagtail.
I am 40% sure that I saw one here was winter but today it was confirmed.
Next we went in search of White winged gulls at Blyth harbour.
There were no sign of any Iceland or Glacous but there were GBB Gull, 56 Eider, 1 female Red Breasted Merganser, a Juv Shag and a Grey Seal which was eating a fish and giving us very good views.
Onto the Blyth Estuary, and there were 60 Golden Plover, 10 Bar tailed Godwit, 150 Lapwing and 19 Shellduck.

At Arcot Pond there are now a pair of Mute Swans as well as the Gadwall pair, 10 Mallard, 7 Tufted Duck, 26 Teal, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Coot, 4 Snipe (flushed by the bread hungry Mutes) and 3 Pochard- Patch Tick. That takes my crammy total too 60 for the year.
We also checked the marshy field between East and West Hartford, which I should do more often. It held 200+ Linnet, 3 Grey Heron and 70+ Teal.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Waxwings at last!!!

On the way back from St.Mary’s we were driving past the roundabout at the bottom of Brockwell and I noticed the long row of Berry trees and thought, Waxwings will be on there one day.
As if by magic we got around the corner and I saw 7 Waxwings feeding on the berries in between the entrance to the new school development and Jane Percy House.
We pulled up in the bus stop and I ran home to get my camera, hoping that they would stay. They did and when I came back there were now 10 of them feeding on the berries and posing in the trees next to them.
Another car pulled up and a man and his friends came over who had also spotted them.
I managed to get some photos but most of them were blurred, due to the fact that I can’t seem to keep the camera still.This is the first time I have seen Waxwings in 10 years, I don’t know how I keep managing to miss them. They were one of my first ever bird sightings and one of the reasons why I became interested in birds, so I have always had a soft spot for them.

Plenty of Pipits but no Water

I had a walk around ST.Mary's today with my parents. The trip only lasted an hour because the tide was coming in, so I checked the north bay for the Water Pipit. There were 8 Rock Pipit, 3 Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail but no sign of the Water Pipit.
On the shore line there were 20+ Turnstone a couple of Redshank and 8 Purple Sandpiper.
On the way back I saw 20+ Pink Footed Geese in the field right of the Beehive flash.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Mute Swan

I was at Arcot Pond this Morning as a Goosander and GC Grebe were both there on Thursday.
They were not there today but I did see 4 Skylark overhead, 6 Bullfinch, 3 Carrion Crow, Robin, Wren, 800+ Jackdaw flying over the golf course, 30+ BH Gull, 3 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 2 Grey Heron, 26 Teal, 1 Coot, 1 Cormorant, 1 Mute Swan and 2 Goldeneye.I tried to take some photos of the Cormorant but it get diving so I settled for the Mute Swan.
Also the LBB Gull has moved to the welcome to Cramlington roundabout.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Last Hour of Light

Had most of the day off today so I went to West Hartford for the last hour of light. The resident (and worlds laziest) Kestrel was asleep on one of the lampposts on the roundabout.
21 Goldfinch flew over, as did a Grey Heron, Magpie and a Meadow Pipit. Only three Juv Mute Swan were on the pool. Two Fieldfare were in the dead trees to the right of the main pool. The resident hunter with his bag of Rabbits and balaclava was walking through the smaller pool. At one point I was caught between him and a Boxer Dog, but I was ready with my Chuck Norris skills in case things got nasty.
As I watched the Fieldfare, I saw a Drake Goldeneye fly low over the pylons from the north; I lost sight of it as it flew southeast. Still it was a good West Hartford tick.
On my way back I checked the fields to the right of the power station thing and saw a Grey Heron circling over the main road, it landed on the other side of the road round about where there burn is, but there was no sign 5 minutes later. Also 60+ Jackdaw flew over Northburn first School.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Crammy Speciality

I was on my way to Arcot pond before the rain started this lunchtime when I noticed one of Crammy’s specialities, a wintering Lesser Black Backed Gull.
It was on the piece of roadside grass between the Southfield roundabout and the Barns Park roundabout.
I usually see it in winter on top of the lamppost between ST. Peter’s and the High School, sorry, learning village.
It was doing that running on the spot thing that Gulls do to catch worms, it took me a minute to notice it but I saw its slightly darker than a Herring Gull back and bright Yellow legs.
At Arcot Pond there were 10 Teal, 1 Goldeneye and a pair of Gadwall- Patch tick, at the back of the pond. It was very quiet apart from that, not even any Gulls or Grey Heron.
Waiting for the bus this morning 8 Goldfinch flew over and there was a large number of Gulls on the ploughed field opposite Nelson Hill along with two Lapwing, which takes my Cramlington list for the year too 59.The feeders in my Garden have been busy over the weekend with 8 Long tailed tits being the highlight.

Friday, 16 January 2009

The digging has started

I won’t get out this weekend due to a build up of coursework so I spent some of this afternoon at West Hartford from 3:25 until 4:15.
When I was walking up to Hartford there were 3 Bullfinch, 1 Robin, 2 Blue tit, 2 Blackbird, 6 Greenfinch, 5 Long Tailed Tit and 14 Starling in the bushes around the burn.
When I got to West Hartford I found that the digging for the new fire station due in March, had started and most of the front field had been ploughed.
I knew that it was only a matter of time before somebody built on West Hartford. It’s about the only bit that can be built on as the rest is marshland and part is protected due to its historical importance.
Hopefully this development will stop at the fire station and not effect anywhere else on the site.
Anyway as for birds I flushed a Meadow Pipit near the pool and a Reed Bunting flew overhead. On the pool there were 5 mute Swans (4 imm 1 adult).
1 Kestrel was in a tree at the entrance as was a Robin and 8 Bullfinch (4 Male, 4 Female), the largest number I have seen in Cramlington and my first at West Hartford.
Also Blue Tit, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Magpie, Pheasant Calling and a Goldcrest Calling.
Also today I had a Goldcrest with the House Spuggy flock at Shanklee.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Arcot Pond today...

Spent about an hour at Arcot Pond this afternoon, not much around. On the pond there were 2 Mallard, 2 Grey Heron, 7 Common Gull, 6 BH Gull and a Water Rail calling from the far north west reeds, thats three in under a week now.
70+ Woogpigeon, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and a Skylark flew over.
On the way back I saw two men with a Greyhound, Ferrets and a Harris Hawk near the dirtbike mound.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Holywell Brambling

Out early with Steve today, first stop was a frozen Holywell Pond which had 40 Pochard, 14 tufted Duck, 6 Mute Swan, 4 Canada Geese, 5 Greylag and 2 Pink Footed on the un- frozen water.
It was better watching the feeding stations from the members hide rather than the pond today, as to the left of the hide there were 20+ Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 4 Bluetit, 1 Coal Tit, 2 Great Tit and 1 Female Brambling- Lifer.
The Brambling was on the back feeder and kept going between the feeding table and the bushes to the left.
The birds then flew off as a Sparrowhawk flew in and caught something, hopefully not the Brambling.
A pair of Pheasants and four Moorhen were also flushed. On the feeders right of the hide 2 Dunnocks, 1 Robin, and a Water Rail were feeding on the ground. The Water rail only came out in the open when running between the spilt seed and the reeds, the rest of the time it hid away from my camera under a bush next to the feeder.
We scanned the Gulls but no sign of the Iceland Gull.

Next was ST. Mary's where we looked for the Water Pipit in the north bay but there were only 3 Meadow pipit, 8 Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Dunlin, Redshank, Sanderling and 2 Brent Geese.

No sign of the Waxwings in Benton Cemetery. Had a few Crammy year ticks around Arcot today as well GS Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper (both quite hard in crammy) and 15 fieldfare.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

First Mega, First Twitch, First Time on Teeside

I had to go to Middlesborough for an interview today, but that wasn't until 1 so to kill time I thought I would go twitching at Saltholme.
I have never been into Teeside before so didn't know where anything was, despite directions, but I managed to find a long row of people in a layby looking at a gull flock on a pool, so I presumed it was Saltholme.
I found out it was but that there had been no sign of the Glaucous Winged Gull.
I stayed for an hour and saw Gadwall, Shellduck, Pochard, Goldeneye ect as well as 1 Bean Goose, adult Glacous Gull (not winged) and a Water Rail (again) which was only meteres away from me and the road, wading through a ditch pecking at everything as it went. I went to the interview and when I got out had a text from S.H (thanks again steve), which said it had been seen on Dorman's Pool 20 minutes ago. The traffic is really bad in Middlesborough at the minute due to a diversion and pissing traffic lights, I then got another text saying it had flown off towards the tip.
After another half an hour and direction towards Dorman's Pool, I came to Saltholme where the previously packed layby now only had two people. I went over and asked the guy who was packing up what the crack was (thinking it had flown off for good) and he said it's on the pool now!
The other birder had it in his scope and kindly let me see. The light was starting to fade so it's primary's didn't look as striking but never the less it was there partly behind a mute swan which later moved giving me better views.
My first Mega, and what a way to start 2009, first siskins in my garden then excellent views of water rail (my favourite bird) and then the GWG all in the first week.
I have seen the design for the new Saltholme visitors centre and I will definetly be coming back, I got the vibe that it is a site I will see another mega on one day. I liked it as soon as I arrived.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Garden Patch Tick

Once again I have proved to myself that coming home at lunchtime is a really goood idea if I want to see new birds in my garden.
At ten past two today I noticed two birds in the plumb tree which were too yellow for a Greenfinch and too dark for a Yellowhammer, it must be Siskin- Patch Tick!
The first bird stayed only for a couple of seconds before flying over the fence but the other stayed in good view long enough for me to run up stairs and get my bins, before flying off over the fence as well.
I thought it was only a matter of time before I caught up with one in Cramlington but to have it in my garden is even better. It's the Plumb tree again, everytime a good or new bird is seen it is in the plumb tree.
I also had some other additions to my patch year list today which takes my total to 37 so far, not bad concidering I have only spent about an hour in total at Arcot, West Hartford and the rest. I still haven't seen some of my garden regulars yet but it is only the 5th.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Year

Was out early with Steve Holiday and D McKeown on thursday. We started at Cresswell where the highlights were 2 Scaup near the causeway and 59 Whooper Swan.
Hempscott hill links, Twite and a Buzzard being mobbed by a Carrion Crow.
Linton roundabout had 5 White Fronted Geese- Lifer fly over towards Linton Lane, where we caught up with them on the larger pond.
Newbiggin had 4 Med Gulls on the beach. At West Hartford we flushed 3 snipe and a moorhen in the area where we heard the Water Rail a few weeks ago.
A Cormorant flying over and a Goldcrest calling at the entrance where good additions to my patch list.
At Arcot pond 2 Goldeneye - patch tick, flew around the pond and a Woodcock was flushed.
Next at Dinnington our first owl of the year was a Little Owl sitting on a fence post.
Not a bad start to the year with 74 species in total.