Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bothal Todd's

After failing to once again to locate the Todd’s Canada Geese at QE2 this morning with LiverBirder despite scanning every goose and field in the area, I had another go this afternoon.

I was on my way anyway to visit family in Morpeth so we had a quick detour to Bothal Pond. 150+ Canada Geese were on the edge of the pond south of the farm. After scanning through I could see 3 obvious Todd’s Canada Geese- lifer. The main ID points were that they noticeably smaller than the surrounding Canadas, had thinner necks and longer bills, the back was nearly all brown and there was no white neck collar. After checking through again I think there may have been four birds in total but the flock was constantly moving and feeding so viewing was difficult at times. Also a leucistic Canada Goose was present amongst the flock.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

On our Todd's

I never thought I would see the day that I would be enthusiastically searching through a flock of Canada Geese but yesterday along with Holywell Birder, that’s exactly what we were doing.

We started our search for the two pairs of reported Todd’s Canada Geese at Woodhorn. The stubble field they had been in was goose-less when we checked so we quickly moved onto QE2. The only Canada Geese were a group of around 70 birds near the car park. After scanning through we realised how variable Canada Geese can be, some birds showed features of Lesser Canada Geese but none had all the correct features.
Next we checked the fields with the new turbines in Linton Lane, both Woodhorn flashes and surrounding fields but there were no Geese of any description at any of these sites.
The flock probably either joined the larger inland groups or flocks at the new open cast sites around Widdrington or Bothal Pond.

On our way back Cain had some business to deal with at Gosforth Park NR so we spent an hour on the reserve. The 8 Waxwings which had been feeding along the main path had disappeared by the time we got there but the woods were alive with tits crests and especially Treecreepers including 5 singing within the space of three trees. I have heard Treecreepers singing before but never for so long and I had never heard the endnote, which sounds similar to a Little Grebe.
From the hide we could see hundreds of Wood Pigeons and Jackdaw going to roost along with some very vocal Jays. The pools were quiet but a Water Rail was squealing from the reed bed left of the hide.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

No Owls

Spent an hour at West Hartford from 3:30 until 4:30 yesterday. No sign of any owls as dusk turned to night but a pair of Goosander flew south over the pools and an impressive sight of 200+ Carrion Crows gathered on the pylons before going to roost along the riverside.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Bees Wax

It seems I’ve done most of my birding of late on housing estates. Last Sunday I was in Seaburn with SH and DMcK. After half an hours waiting the Bee Eater- lifer, finally showed. Over the next hour we got amazing views as it perched in some trees before hawking insects over the streets and then landed on an aerial. Also whilst we were waiting a Crossbill flew over.

Last tuesday by chance I was passing the Moor Farm roundabout between Cramlington and Annitsford when 30+ Waxwings were in the dead trees on the crammy side.

Later that afternoon I went down to West Hartford just in time to see 20+ Waxwing fly over the roundabout in front of the fire station. These were probably the same birds JM had the day before which I missed by a 5 minutes. Anyway that’s another one on my WH list and another first for the site this year.

On Sunday I was out locally for a few hours with SH. The highlight of the morning were 40+ Waxwings (not on a roundabout this time) on the Beaconhill estate. They were in the trees outside the community centre and commuted between the trees and the berry bushes opposite and down the street. They also fed on the ground and visited the puddles on the centre’s flat roof. More Waxwings were later seen near the windmill site and on the Bassington Industrial estate.

It was also the first time I had been to Arcot Pond in a while and the first time I had seen the wildfowl numbers, which have been building up over the last few months. No diving duck but plenty of dabbling duck with over 60 Wigeon, too many Mallard to count and the Coot count was almost at 90! I have never seen the numbers so large here lets just hope it continues over the winter and pulls something else in.