Saturday, 27 July 2013

Spotted a Sandpiper

I was down in Wales visiting family last week. No chance to do any real birding but Red Kites were everywhere and even came into gardens for scraps that had been left out.
I did manage to see the Little Egret at Arcot Pond last Wednesday evening before we left. It was standing into top of a small bush in the middle of the pond.

Yesterday I had a quick look at Arcot. No sign of the showy Water Rail family but two Wood Sandpipers were on the mud in the NW corner together.

This morning I went up to Foxton Bends, Alnmouth with GM for the Spotted Sandpiper- lifer. Alongside a few Common Sandpipers on the mud bank viewing was difficult due to the long grass obscuring our view but still managed to see it a few times. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ashington area

Myself and West Hartford are not good in the heat and along with its water supply my birding has dried up over recent weeks.
This morning I was out with LMcD. We started at Arcot Pond where three separate Little Grebe families with a total of five young were. A moulting Wigeon, Teal and Common Gull were surprise finds.

With most places drying or dried up we had been reliably informed that Castle Island was good at the moment. I have been visiting Castle Island as part of WEBS for four years now and today it was the best I have ever seen it. Almost half the water in the river has gone and large areas of mud are exposed although there was no sign of yesterdays 17 Black Tailed Godwits, Greenshank or Ruddy Shelduck.
At least 2 Common Sandpipers were amongst ten Redshank on the south shore of the island. Further along the shore were four resting Avocet which eventually moved around, a good inland record.

We walked further along the path than usual and checked the river from Stakeford Bridge. Although a lot of mud there were no more waders just some juvenile BH Gulls begging to adult birds.
A few young Chiffchaff flitted around the trees bordering the path and we heard a jay and Willow Tit near the bridge.

Next we called in at Wansbeck Business Park. Two female Tufted Duck have broods of 7 and 5 young whilst a Muscovey Duck watched us from one of the islands.
Woodhorn south flash was quiet but did hold 67 Coot.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Bridled Tern

Continuing what has been an unbelievable run of lifers for me this year, yesterday I caught up with the stunning Bridled Tern on Inner Farne. No early boat trip, myself and LMcD played it cool and went accross on the 10:30 boat, a decision that nearly cost us the bird.
It had last been seen at 10:02 and there was no sign during the first hour we waited on the jetty. At one point a birder said he could hear it calling but we couldn't see it. The mass of Arctic Terns on the rocks kept flying around and at some point it must have sneaked back in as with only 5 minutes until the boat headed back to the mainland I spotted it on the rocks under a group of Puffins. It was surprisingly well camouflaged amongst the grey rocks and Terns. Eventually it took to the skies and showed amazingly well looking more like a frigate bird in flight!