Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Much Much better than I expected

Just when you think things can't get any better. I got a quick call from SH and in what seemed like seconds we were at Prestwick Carr.
The bird hadn't been seen in a while but soon after it reappeared flying high over the woodland being mobbed buy Buzzards.
It was then mobbed by a heron and I last saw it go down past some dead trees and fly left over a field.
Although my views were breif they were excellent as I watched the Juv bird being highlighted by the sun.

White Tailed Eagle - Lifer

Much better than I expected

Both the weather and the birding.
I was expecting a gale force blizzard when I woke up this morning but instead it was quite bright.
I had the chance to go with SH to Harwood in search of the GG Shrike but I had some work to catch up on.
After getting some supplies at Manor Walks I checked Arcot incase last nights rain had dropped anything on the pond.
It had rained a lot more than I thought and Arcot was heavily flooded. At first it looked like nothing was on the pond but as I approached the SW corner 10 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, 2 female Goosander and plenty of Coot swam accross the pond.
Whilst watching the Goosander I though I saw another pop up from under the water but it was a Great Crested Grebe - Patch Tick, and a crammy lifer for me!
Another 2 GC Grebes then appeared from under the water before diving again.

A GS Woodpecker was drumming in the distance and 3 Chiffchaff were in full song, also 3 Curlew were flying around. I tried to get around to the back of the pond but I sank nearly up to my knees before I even got to the metal fence so went back instead.

I put some new bird seed out on monday which I hadn't used before and already it seems to be popular as a load of Greenfinch and House Sparrows were feeding on it this morning.
Whilst watching them a pair of Bullfinch appeared and gave some brilliant views as they fed on the new seed and some plant bulbs, its usually this time of year I get Bullfinch in the garden, I would like them to be a bit more regular.
The small half a metre long pond in the garden has frog spawn in for the first time I hope they survive the predicted cold spell.

73 - Great Crested Grebe

Sunday, 28 March 2010

25 Whoops

After getting a call from SH and LMcD this morning about 25 Whooper Swans on Arcot Pond, I headed off.
25 Whooper Swans - Patch Tick, were swimming towards the south west corner together when I got there also a female Goosander and a Drake Shoveler were on the pond.

72 - Whooper Swan

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Cock Play

No I haven't resorted to Liverbirder style innuendo, there is actually a place we went through today called Cock Play.

I set off early this morning with SH and MH for Kielder. The day got off to a great start as I added Lesser Black Backed Gull to the patch list as we went through Nelson industrial estate.

On the way up I spotted a dead Badger on the roadside at Cock Play, strange place to find one as there didn't seem to be any sutaible habitat near by.

We stopped and spent over an hour at Bull Crag first where a number of Crossbills were feeding on the pines behind us. They were quite tame even letting me walk under the tree and watch them feed. More were heard everywhere we went throughout the day.

The wind was starting to pick up and so did the raptors as three Buzzard started soaring. It wasn't long until I found a distant Goshawk which circled for a while before dropping behind the tree tops.
Whilst waiting for it to reapear two male Goshawks much closer chased each other over the trees. These were my first ever detailed views of Goshawks.

We went to Bakethin Res next which was Mandarin less. 19 Goldeneye were together on the water with a few Cormorants and Canada Geese.
Sand Martins were hawking over the water also.

At an undisclosed site we had good views of a Peregrine fly over with it's prey, land on a wall and eat it.
We checked Ridley Stokeo for Mandarin on the way back and a pair were flushed from the gravel island in the river.

71 - Lesser Black Backed Gull

Friday, 26 March 2010

70 Chiffchaff

No unfortunately I didn't see 70 Chiffchaff on the patch today but I did hear at least two calling backwards and forwards to each other whilst talking to PC Wanderings in the Brockwell centre car park this afternoon.

70 - Chiffchaff

Sunday, 21 March 2010

2 Trips 2 Ticks

Had a quick trip to WH last night and this morning. I waited on the rabbit warren, ( the best rantage point at WH) until it was almost completely dark but no owls or anything else.
I did have a possible Woodcock fly over the entrance as I was leaving but it was to quick and it didn't make a sound so it could have been a Snipe.

This morning was more successful, the sun was out and it really felt like the first day of spring.
Plenty of birds on full song but no Chiffchaff.
80+ Gulls, mostly Herring were on the main pool with more Lapwing and Oystercatcher than last night. 2 Curlew - Patch Tick, called loudly and landed amongst the group of Teal at the back of the pool.
At first it looked as if there was nothing on the small pool but then a Canada Goose - Patch Tick, popped its head from the long grass to the left of the pool.
Another was asleep next to it, they were probably there last night but unlike normal Canada Geese they were silent.

68 - Curlew

69 - Canada Geese

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Last night I went for a walk around Arcot golfcourse with SH in the hope of hearing some Tawny Owls.
We set off at 6:15 just as it was begining to get dark, the wind which had been strong throughout the day had now gone.
Walking through the fields between Beacon Hill and Beacon Lane, a vocal Yellowhammer - Patch Tick, showed well in the headgerow.

As we walked down the lane a flock of 180+ Golden Plover - Patch Tick, which had been resting in a field with some Lapwing, took off.
A pair of Grey Partridge - Patch Tick, were calling and showing well in a field on the opposite side of the lane. Another pair were next to the horse field before running accross the path and into the hedgerow.

Once we were on the golfcourse we headed for the gap in the hedge that over looks the back of Arcot Pond and the fields behind it.
Nothing was on the pond but I just managed to spot a Short Eared Owl flying low over the field to our left. The light was fading very fast so we could just see the owls outline as it hunted low over the ground.

We stayed on the golfcourse for about an hour listening from different spots but no sign of any Tawnys or even more suprisingly any Woodcock.

65 - Yellowhammer

66 - Golden Plover

67 - Grey Partridge

Friday, 19 March 2010

Pheasant at last!

Yes unbelievably last night I added Pheasant to this year patch list, I don't know why its taken this long. A pair were calling behind the main pool at West Hartford.

14 Oystercatchers were at the back of the pool with a few Herring Gull and Lapwing. 40+ Teal and a few Mallard were on the water but they didn't stay long.
The pair of Shellduck flew from the small pool to the main as I past by.
I was going to watch over the fields overlooking East Hartford for a while but went back when it started to rain.

The group of Pied Wagtail were still feeding on the wasteground along with a Skylark, hopefully this area will attract a Yellow Wag or Wheatear in a few weeks.
Also I'm sure that one of the five Pied wags was a White one but they flew off before I had a chance to check properly.

64 - Pheasant

Monday, 15 March 2010


On my way to Cramlington train station this morning, I first heard and then saw two Mistle Thrush - Patch Tick, in the hedgerow next to the Nelson horse fields.
I think I'll explore these fields and the wasteground behind the factories during the easter holidays, it looks good for a Wheatear or a Ring Ouzel.

63 - Mistle Thrush

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Had a quick walk to West Hartford this evening as the sun was setting. 8 Oystercatchers and a few Lapwing were at the far side of the main pool. Teal and Moorhen were calling loudly from the marshy Field.
The only other thing of note were 8 Pied Wagtails feeding together on the road outside the entrance to the new fire station, (which looks shit by the way).

To end on a bad note, the amount of litter left by the site workers at WH is shocking. It's alright putting up a sign saying please put your litter in the bin provided but when the bin doesn't have a lid its pointless.
Also it's Northumberland and in case they hadn't noticed it does tend to be windy most of the time so the bin will blow over.