Sunday, 22 April 2012

Around Cramlington

Another early mornign trip to West Hartford this morning after the rain. On my way 3 Linnet were sitting on LiverBirder's fence before flying off. Nothing much to report until 8:05 when I heard a distant Greenshank. It soon appeared and landed on the main pool before flying off north. I say pool but WH is so flooded at the moment the whole area is one big pool.
2 Swallows and a Sand Martin (my first of the year) were hawking over the pools and three Short Eared Owls were in flight.
I went and checked the bushes behind the substation hoping that a migrant had dropped in with the rain but unlike this time last year nothing. No Wryneck .
When I got back to the pool 1 Shelduck, 3 Canada Geese and a pair of Gadwall had appeared and were being watched by LMcD.
We went to Arcot Pond next and did a circuit of the pond. 5 Tufties, 2 Little Grebe and 2 Coot were on the pond and 2 Lesser Whitethroat were calling from the hedgerows surrounding the highland cow field.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


I was at West Hartford at 6:30 this morning. Amongst the Teal were 5 (1 female and 4 drake) Gadwall, which soon flew off towards the river.
Next I went to the stairs by the river and sat there for an hour. A couple of Jays were calling as was a GS Woodpecker and 2 Treecreeper, which got very close. Again I heard a possible Marsh Tit but never saw it. A Comorant flew down the river and landed on a trunk in the middle of the river before fishing.

2 Short Eared Owls were still hunting the fields as I walk around. My first Willow Warbler of the year was singing away from the plantation behind the substation as were a few Blackcap.
I decided to walk along the fence line behind the pools leading towards the farm next. Another Cormorant with more white on it flew over the river and in the hedgerow along the fence line a Yellowhammer was singing.
As I was leaving 4 Canada Geese circled the pools before flying off SW.

The first stage in combatting the mice invasion in the garden shed was a success last night. It seems Mars Bar covered in Nutella was too tempting for them as 3 Wood Mice were in the humane traps this morning.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


On Sunday morning I went out for a couple of hours with SH. We headed north to Warkworth Lane to try and find the elusive Common Crane, which had been hanging around.
After our initial scan produced nothing we walked down the lane past the caravan site and through the woods. Numerous Tree Sparrows were calling around us and three Buzzards soared over the woods.
After noticing a distant group of Whooper Swans we soon spotted the Crane standing amongst them. Although we were a long way from the group they looked very nervous and kept standing up and moving further away. There were a lot of people and dog walkers up and down the lane and it looked as if the Crane would fly at any moment.

We quickly checked Cresswell Pond next which was dead. 5 minutes after we left to go to Druridge Pools Steve got a call saying that just the Crane had flown over the hide at Cresswell before flying west.

Druridge pools wasn’t much better than Cresswell with the highlight being a pair of Pintail on the Budge field. The ponies (I don’t know if they are Exmoor or not), on the Budge field have done a good job of grazing around the pool; I hope the ones at Arcot can do the same.

Yesterday it was back to the drawing board, literally, doing my final work for university when I got a call from JM saying that he was watching an Osprey circling over the Holiday Inn between Seaton Burn and Arcot!
Rather than rushing there to find that it had gone, I headed to West Hartford on the off chance that it would follow the River Blyth like one did a year ago today.
Soon I was at the brick building with my scope scanning over the river. I stayed nearly 2 hours but there was no sign although Grey Heron, LBB Gull and Lapwing were doing their best Osprey impressions as they flew over.

Not much was on the pools but 2 Short Eared Owls hunted over the marshy fields and a Buzzard flew west. The highlight though was a male Peregrine, which landed on the top tier of the pylon behind the WH farm. It stayed for 10 minutes or so before gliding down out of sight. I then spotted it later on chasing Wood Pigeons west over the river.

Through the week Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Magpie, Dunnock and House Sparrow have all been collecting nesting material in my garden and the shed has been invaded by mice.