Saturday, 22 October 2011

Owls and Harrier

On Thursday evening I spent an hour watching 3 Short Eared Owls at West Hartford with JM. From the brick building we could see one of the owls being mobbed by crows before gaining height and dropping back into the centre of the field. The other two hunted along the fencerow nearer the farm.

Yesterday we went down to Dorman’s Pool for the Pallid Harrier – Lifer 270. During the two or so hours we spent it showed briefly twice.
The first time was when it flew out from the triangle of scrub next to the pool; this was our closet view as it weaved its way through the trees and out of sight.

Ten minutes later it reappeared at the opposite end of the pool, high above the reeds before going down to tree height and out of sight again near the Long Drag.

It’s a shame it didn’t show for longer but still it was good seeing it so close.
Also 2 Water Rails were calling from the reed bed and a fly over drake Pintail and Little Egret went past.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Blyth Riverside

After coming back from the vets in Blyth this morning we stopped and had a walk along the river Blyth. It was low tide and as a result Bar Tailed Godwit, Redshank and Ringed Plover gave close views.
A Grey Wagtail was flying up and down the small stream between the factories as we walked to the Kitty Brewster end.
Walking along the new path behind the riverside workshops I noticed two waders on the edge of the shore. When I got my bins on them I could see that they were two winter plumage Spotted Redshank. I watched them for about ten minutes as they preened and waded through the river.

There was no sign of the Little Egrets under the road bridge but a single juvenile Whooper Swan was swimming west along the river near the widest part of the estuary.

A quick stop at WH on the way back and I could only manage a Buzzard being mobbed by crows. About 150 gulls, mostly BH and Herring were on the main flash.

Friday, 14 October 2011


Whilst rushing around in the garden before taking my rabbit to the vets yeaterday afternoon, 8 Crossbill went over SW, ''chipping'' as they went, shame I have already had one on the patch this year, but still a good garden tick.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


After arriving in Middlesbrough on monday I soon found out that a Lesser Scaup had been found on Tynemouth Boating Lake.
Trying to put it to the back of mind I got on with my work and after coming home last night I was able to get a lift down to Marden Quarry this morning.
After talking to JM he soon pointed out the Lesser Scaup - Lifer, which was behind a group of Tufted Duck near some willows. It stayed in the same area occasionally diving but not associating with the tufties.

On my way to Marden Quarry a group of 5 Redwing flew west over and there were at least 12 Blackbirds in the garden this morning. I'll have to keep an eye out for Fieldfare on the patch now.
Also a Merlin was hunting along side the train just outside of Seaham yesterday on my way back.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Geese, Parrots, Ducks and Turtle

I went out with PF this morning for a half university work half birding trip. After seeing what I needed to in a few villages in north Tyneside we ended up at St.Mary’s.
400+ Golden Plover flew high above the wetland and 90+ Barnacle Geese flew over in separate skeins.
Also a nice female Wheatear preformed well next to the car in the Briar Dene car park before flying onto the golf course.
28 Teal flew from the sea to the wetland where they joined the Wigeon and Gadwall.
Next stop was Prior’s Park. No sign of the Yellow Browed Warbler despite seeing a few different tit flocks including a tribe of 13 Long Tailed Tit.
On our way back to the car from the allotments we heard the Orange Winged Parrot calling from the trees above the haven car park.

We then stopped at Northumberland Park where the drake Mandarin swam from behind the reeds and began preening amongst the Mallards, one of which took a swipe at it.
A very confiding bird, which unfortunately never came into the light for Peter to get some clearer photos.
Whilst we watched the Mandarin a Parrot/Parakeet sp. was calling from the trees behind us but never showed itself.

Whilst looking for the mystery bird I got a text from SH about a Turtle Dove at Big Waters! We were there within 10 minutes to see this county mega but there was no sign when we arrived.
Ourselves and the other birders present spread around the first car park where it had been seen as some seed was put down.
Soon Collard Dove after Collard Dove appeared and it wasn’t long until the Turtle Dove (an excellent county tick), joined them feeing on the ground opposite the car park next to the radio mast.
Every time a plane flew over the flock got spooked and landed in the trees before feeding in the field further down the road.

Not at all what I was expecting to see today but well worth the trip out.

Friday, 7 October 2011


My all time patch total that is. After getting a text from SH saying he had 20 Barnacle Geese fly over Seaton Burn this morning, I went to Arcot Pond on the off chance.
I had scanned all of the pond and the mud islands and banks then the flock of the gulls on the island at the back took off revealing a lone Barnacle Goose. It seemed to be holding out its left wing which looked bent and was drooping, it could be around for a while.
2 Roe Deer were crashing through the reeds in the SW corner so nothing else was around apart from a lot of Teal.

So thats 120 on the patch with still a few more birds to see potentially.

120 - Barnacle Goose

Monday, 3 October 2011

Wild and Fowl

When I arranged to meet someone in Duns regarding my university work a couple of week ago, I had planned to go by myself but it worked out even better as I was able to stay with friends who live in Jedburgh so had a few days in the borders at the end of last week.

I didn’t do much birding up there but on the way we quickly passed Monk’s House Pool where 2 Ross’s Geese were with 8 Barnacle Geese behind the pool. Although I can’t tick them yet it was still nice to see them even if it was a little strange seeing geese in the unseasonal warmth. I was suprised at how small the Ross’s Geese were, I’m sure the ones I looked after during my volunteering days at Washington WFP weren’t that small.
A few times they disappeared behind small tufts of grass surrounding the pool but never strayed far from the Barnacles.

I got a text on my way to Scotland about the Sandhill Crane over Newbiggin so I kept a close eye on any fields on my way home on Saturday, I even stopped at Catcleugh and Colt Crag Res as we were passing, I didn’t know it was in Lincolnshire at the time.

Yesterday SH had to drop his wife off somewhere in Durham so whilst in the area we spent the morning at a wet and deserted Saltholme.
Despite spending the best part of an hour in the rain looking for the Blue Winged Teal on the Allotment Pool (which is very hard work), it never showed itself. 2 Water Rails amongst the Moorhen on the pool were the highlight.
No sign of Pectoral Sandpiper on Back Saltholme from the hide just a Black Tailed Godwit and some Dunlin and a Little Egret.

Today is my first day back at university and I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw that a Blyth’s Pipit was seen earlier in Middlesbrough!!! WTF I don’t know the area where it was seen and it headed off SW.