Friday, 15 April 2011

Back online

Finally my I.T. problems have been solved thankfully with no lasting damage to the PC. Since my last post I have slowly added a few more ticks to the patch list after a visit to West Hartford last Friday. 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Swallow, 3 Sand Martin and 2 Linnet were the new additions. Last Saturday I tried for the Shorelark at Druridge but there was no sign, the 8 Avocets north of the causeway at Cresswell were nice to see though. I got back from boro on Wednesday and with not much work left to do I was able to go up to Bamburgh with JM for the Black Scoter. We had just gone onto the A1 north of Morpeth where the road goes into single file near Fenrother when I spotted what I thought was a large Buzzard. As we got closer we could see that it wasn’t a Buzzard but the White Tailed Eagle which had previously been at East Chevington. It flew low west over the road being mobbed by Jackdaws as we stared in disbelief. If that wasn’t a good sign for the rest of the trip then I don’t know what was. I have since heard that the eagle was see a by a few others on the same stretch of road further south on the border of the patch! When we arrived at Bamburgh the Farne Islands wardens were watching a close in raft of Scoter only 100m offshore from the lower car park at Stag Rocks. One of the wardens let us look through We stayed for about two hours with excellent views of the Black Scoter as it swam amongst the raft of Common Scoter. At one point the raft was only 50m offshore but kept occasionally disappearing into the swell making photographic opportunities for John very difficult. Apart from preening and swimming the Black Scoter also put its tail up in the air before scooting across the water with its bright yellow beak open when other scoter approached it. In profile it seemed to have a thicker neck and rounder head but that could just be my eyes. This afternoon I has back up the coast with LMcD for a couple of hours. We checked Cresswell from south car park but there was no sign of any Avocets. Druridge Pools was quiet but there were two Grasshopper Warblers rattling away in the scrub between the road next to the dunes and the main pool. Instead of going back to Cresswell we checked East Chevington instead. 10+ Sandwich Terns were on the north pool as were Great Crested Grebes. We were both surprised to hear an early Reed Warbler singing away from the reeds at the south end of the north pool. As we were leaving I spotted a male Marsh Harrier quartering a field near the entrance to East Chevington. All in all it has been quite a good week on the birding front. 79 – Willow Warbler 80 – Swallow 81 – Sand Martin 82 – Linnet

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