Sunday, 26 May 2013

Grey in the sun

I had an hours wander around West Hartford early this morning. Nothing new in the way of birds but a Speckled Wood Butterfly was near the sub station.

On my way  back I took a detour into Nelson Industrial Estate. I took the path near the NE corner of the estate just off the WH roundabout. I could hear something moving in the branches above me and unfortunately there was a Grey Squirrel looking back at me. This is the furthest north  have seen one in Cramlington and perilously close to the Plessey stronghold. It soon moved off and out of site near the road.
Not much else of note on the estate but another Speckled Wood was taking advantage of the sun.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Purple to Black to Purple

With what seemed like any chance of seeing the Kite sp. found by LiverBirder at West Hartford on Tuesday all but gone, imagine my surprise to see LMcD at my front door at 7:15 last night saying he had a Kite sp. back at Hartford.
We went straight back just in time to see it land in a tree in the plantation north of the small flash. With the light fading and all of the main ID features obscured by branches we stood and waited on top of the mound inside the metal compound.
Eventually after being mobbed by corvids it flew low to the west then higher over the river but still the ID couldn’t be confirmed. It then disappeared into the trees along the riverside next to Bedlington Golf Course. The rain soon came as did some other birders but there was no further sign.

I was back there early this morning with a few other birders. With no sign we stood at the same point inside the metal compound and at 6:55 the Kite appeared from roughly the same area it had gone down in last night and landed in a tree near where we had seen it last night.
This time it was not obscured by branches and the light was much better and at last it was confirmed as a Black Kite, a patch, county tick, lifer etc all rolled into one!

There was some questions that could this not be the supposed hybrid seen at Hartford Hall four years ago but this was defiantly not a hybrid and crucially had none of the multiple rings that the hybrid wore.

With many people connecting with the Kite as it sat in the same tree for over an hour it then took off and soared overhead gradually gaining height before flying off over the river and towards Morpeth.

As always with birdign no matter how good the morning was the edge was later taken off when news that a Purple Heron had flown NW over Arcot Pond broke. Oh Well at least it wasn’t over WH.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Awash with waders

Well by West Hartford standards. 4  nice summer plumage Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plover this morning. Still not managed to catch up with the LRP that has been seen throughout the week.  No sign of the Wood Sandpiper this morning but it could have been hidign in the long grass.

Had a quick trip to the Cresswell area with SH this morning. The usual stuff on Cresswell Pond and the highlight of a Ruff on the Budge field at Druridge Pools. No sign of the reported Garganey or Wood Sand.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Makes a change from Doves

Not much to say really apart from amazing views of an amazing bird. The Collared Flycatcher at Low Newton was an unexpected end to a good weeks birding.

Strangley enough with the light drizzle that covered Cramlington for most of the day, I had been hoping to find a Spotted Flycatcher at West Hartford. I checked the good looking areas behind the sub station but no sign. The Wood Sandpiper in the SE corner of the main pool was a nice bonus though.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Purple Reigns

Cramlington’s recent Purple Patch continued over the last few days. I missed a few of the sightings but saw the Greenshank at West Hartford on Friday evening.

Yesterday evening I headed up to East Chevington with Cain for the Purple Heron. We got to the second viewing point on the south pool just in time to see it take off from the water and fly over the reeds before landing around the corner just out of sight.

Sine I began birding Purple Heron has been top of my list of birds I want to see and it didn’t disappoint. No heat haze or wind, which had obscured views for some people earlier in the day, we could see the maroon patch under the winds and down the neck as it flew around. The presence of a nearby patrolling Marsh Harrier may have encouraged it to fly.

We moved down to the south end of the pool and spotted it on the edge of the reeds where for the next 45 minutes it fed and even stretched its neck upright like a Bittern.
As well as the Heron Pied Wagtails and Reed Buntings came to roost in the reed beds, Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Warbler sang and Buzzard and Short Eared Owl were hunting over fields to the south.

As we left we stopped and listened to a Sedge Warbler, which mimicked Tree Sparrow, Song Thrush and Swallow. The Grey Herons that had been very tolerant of their Purple cousin but eventually chased it around but it just turned back and landed in the reeds out of sight.

With light fading fast we quickly stopped at Cresswell Pond in time to see a flock of 23 calling Whimbrel fly north over the dunes and south car park. Also a single Whimbrel had been calling over the south pool at East Chev.

Friday, 3 May 2013


At last this morning after 7 years of birding West Hartford I finally added my longest overdue tick, House Sparrow. Whilst watching the new flash pool in the farmer's field east of the substation a pair churped overhead before landing in the hedgerow opposite. They stayed for about five minutes collecting nest material before flying back towards the Northburn estate.

At last I could die a happy birder!

Nothing much else around this morning, no waders on the pools but at least 3 Grasshopper Warbler and a Sedge Warbler reeling away.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Two posts in one morning!

Its that time of year. Shortly after writing the last post I went to back to West Hartford with LMcD to check for the Little Ringed Plover. No sign on the main pool but instead I spotted a stunning breeding plumage Wood Sandpiper well camouflaged on the near shore. It soon moved into the open water and began feeding. At least two Wheatear were in the ploughed field behind the football pitch at East Hartford on the way back.

Also I forgot that I heard a Yaffling Green Woodpecker on Beacon Lane this mornign and a pair of Curlew were displaying in the fields behind the farm.

Little and lots

On my way to West Hartford early this morning I met LiverBirder who had earlier seen the Little Owl on Beacon Lane and was now on his way to Arcot Pond.

I didn’t bother checking the pools at WH and instead went straight to the riverside woods. Two Grasshopper Warbler were reeling away as I passed. As I reached the woods I got a call from Gordon saying that he was watching a Scaup at Arcot Pond.

Kindly picked up by him minutes later I was watching the dapper drake swim across the pond with the Tufted Duck, its silver back making it even easier to pick out. This is the first one I have seen on the patch but it is a rare Cramlington species. Also at least two Sedge Warbler were singing from the reeds.

Next stop was Beacon Lane where eventually I found the Little Owl perched high in the tree on the bend in the lane. It watched me the whole time turning its head as I moved.

On the way back I checked Brockwell Scrubland where plenty of Blackcap, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were singing. I also heard another Grasshopper Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat.

As I am writing this post a pair of Blackcap are on my feeders in the garden, never had a pair in the garden before. I think I should have checked the pools at WH this morning as I have just seen the there is now an LRP!