Monday, 13 February 2012

2 WEBS and too many good birds to count

First WEBS count, River Blyth, Saturday with LMcD:

A huge number of Dunlin were on the river at low tide along with a few Grey Plover and Bar Tailed Godwit. The highlights of a quiet count were a pair of Gadwall and a fly over female Goosander.
We checked the stubble field at Gloucester Lodge on the way back. Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting were in the surrounding hedgerow and a group of 14 Snow Bunting landed I the middle of the stubble.
At West Hartford there were 4 Short Eared Owls and a flock of Siskin flew south.

Second WEBS count, Castle Island, Sunday with SH, DMcK and IFo

Not much of note at Castle Island. We headed north after the count, stopping at Maiden’s Hall Lake first. An adult and Juvenile Bewick’s Swan were very close to the roadside in a field just south of the lake. Both pools at East Chevington were quiet with the highlight being a Slavonian Grebe on the north pool.

Next we stopped at the new site near Warkworth Gut. If anyone hasn’t been yet I strongly recommend you do as it looks like one of the potential best new sites in the county.
It is a series of fresh water scrapes with a large phragmites reed bed, situated between the caravan park and the dunes at Warkworth. Also part of the River Coquet flows through and floods around the channel at high tide.
With the potential to attract anything on the River Coquet, in Amble Harbour and coming off the sea, this place is really exciting.
From the path near the car park, which looks really good for migrants, we could see the Spotted Redshank with a few Commons in one of the scrapes.
We walked the length of the path until we crossed the wooden bridge and scanned from the viewpoint near the car park.

Next stop was Stag Rocks but first we stopped at Monk’s House Pool. Not much on the pool but a pair of Stonechat were on the fence opposite the pool in the dunes.

With our usual spot at Stag already taken we scanned from the bench half way down the hill instead. A vocal Stonechat was flitting around the grass in front of us.
At least 6 Slavonian Grebes and 4 Red Throated Diver were spotted on the calm sea along with Common Scoter, Fulmar, Brent Geese and a Harbour Porpoise which I missed.
A Merlin was sitting on the rocks below us before chasing the Purple Sandpiper flock up and down the beach, almost catching one in mid air.
The best find of the day though was by Steve as he spotted a Black Guillemot just off the foghorn. This was my second sighting of Black Guillemot in the county in the last two years almost in the exact same spot.

Before heading further north to Fenham flats we stopped at Budle Bay where despite the large number of Carrion Crows there was no sign of a Hoodie. A Greenshank in the main channel was nice to see at this time of year.
As the tide got further in at Fenham a group of over 5000 Geese took to the air andf began landing on the flats. 2000-3000 were Brent Geese and the rest were mainly Pink Footed. Whilst scanning the geese I pick out 4 Barnacle Geese and a Eurasian White Fronted Goose. 50+ Pintail were also on the flats and a few Tree Sparrows were near the hide.

Our final stop of the day was back on the patch where we finally caught up with the female Green Woodpecker at Bassington N.R. It took a bit of finding but once found it showed well in the Beech trees.

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