Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Holy Island to the patch

Last Friday I went up to Holy Island with SH. We spent a few hours checking a large part of the island with very little to show for it.

The highlights were; a pair of Stonechat and a Lapland Bunting at Chare Ends, a Brambling around the vicar’s garden and a Black Tailed Godwit on the harbour pool. A few thrushes were on the island including Redwing feeding on the lawns in the village.

Next we went further north to Goswick Sands. With the tide coming in quicker than we thought we didn’t stay that long and amongst the close in raft of Scoter we couldn’t pick anything out. 4 Long Tailed Duck were also near the raft.

Budle Bay was also quiet with the highlight being a sleeping Little Gull. It was the same at Stag Rocks and East Chevington, nothing out of the ordinary. Our final stop was St. Mary’s but we were too late and there was no further sign of the Richard’s Pipit.

Yesterday I got a call from GM saying that there was a Marsh Harrier over Northburn First School which backs onto my garden! I went straight into the garden but nothing; I was then told it was going west so I ran to the top of Nelson Hill.
Nelson Hill is Cramlington’s best vantage point so I spent an hour scanning from West Hartford over the industrial estate over to Northumberlandia. At one point all the gulls and Lapwings lifted from WH but I couldn’t see what caused them to get up.
During the hour on the hill 3 female Crossbill, 1 Great Black Backed Gull and 1 Grey Wagtail flew over south. I plan to spend more time scanning from the hill in the future.

A few hours later I got a call from SH saying there was a Snow Bunting at West Hartford! A short while later myself, LMcD and JM were watching a female Snow Bunting feeding in front of us on the path leading to the waste ground before the larger flash. It stayed until dusk not bothered by us in the slightest, happily feeding on the edge of the path and long grass.
This makes up for missing the male SB at WH last December when myself and LMcD failed to find the bird in the snow, it was well camouflaged I suppose.
Also at WH were 3 hunting Short Eared Owls and a female Goosander flew west over the substation and the larger flash.

122 – Snow Bunting

123 – Goosander

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