Friday, 19 December 2008

The Buntings at Blyth

Me and my dad decided to go and look for the Iceland gull in Blyth Harbour. We knew that it hung around with the great black-backed gulls so we went to see them. After a good search through lots of great black-backed gulls, cormorants and eider ducks we decided there was no Iceland gull. We were on our way to the car to go to Whitley Bay golf course to try and find the Mediterranean Gull, when we asked someone what they had seen and they said the snow bunting was on the post and we looked on the little pier and it was sitting there. I got a photo but not a very good one. Then it flew and joined it's partner and I got some photos then. Great Black-Backed Gull Eider DuckSnow Bunting

Sunday, 14 December 2008

7-12-08 Back to Cresswell

A nice day for it... but very cold! After reading about the Merlin and the bittern at Cresswell, I decided to go and look for them again. When we got there, we noticed that the little pond was frozen and there was a pied wagtail on it. We hoped that Cresswell wasn't frozen. Luckily it wasn't and we scanned the water for any rare species. Sad to see, no waders there execpt 10 sanderling and 1 curlew. There was 2 Red-Breasted Mergansers to the left of the hide and in the middle there was some ducks and there was 10 teal, 10 mallard, 2 wigeon, 2 shoveler and 1 goldeneye. After that nothing of major interest for a while... that was until, I noticed a big brown bird flying in and I asked my dad if it was the bittern and sure enough it was but it flew in too quick for a photo and went in the reeds. Unfortunately, there was no Merlin so after an hour we left. On our way back to the car we saw the famous Cresswell barn owl! I got some shots of it and we left for back home. On the whole, a good day birding!

Barn Owl Curlew calling

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Photo Competitions

I entered 3 competitions: Chronicle Extra Competition, Wetlands Trust Competition and a British Waterways Competition. I found out recently that I had won 2 of them. The Chronicle Extra and the Waterways. My winning photo for the chronicle was a wren which is a the top of my blog. I won a pair of binoculars, a wildlife in Britain book, a toy frog and a trophy for a year. I haven't got a prize for the Waterways one but here is my photo of a mallard duck that won that one.



Friday, 28 November 2008

Big Waters and St. Mary's Lighthouse

Today I went to Big waters then to St. Mary's. What a day! At big waters we went in and wandered around and we flushed out a fox in the field and it ran away. I got a photo of it as it looked at us. After that we looked on the lake. There was some wigeon and some teal but they were miles away so I couldn't see how many. As we were looking a kestrel flew over the top of us. We cracked on to the bird feeders and saw chaffinches (6), blue tits (4) and a great tit. We left there and on the way back we noticed some little birds in the trees and there were 3 Siskin. There was also female reed bunting and a sparrowhawk being chased by crows. After that we left and went to the lighthouse. We started by going to the lagoon but only the teal and wigeon again... or so we thought. As we moved around the lagoon, out flew the Brent goose! We decided to follow it but it flew out to sea and out of sight. Then we went down to the beach and found some extraordinary waders such as: turnstone (10+), sanderling (20+), redshank (2), oystercatcher (1), dunlin (10+) and 1 amazing purple sandpiper. Nearby, on the rocks, we saw a big black thing which was the brent goose and it was very close. I managed to get really close and got some amazing photos. On the way out we saw 2 bar-tailed godwits and 20 sanderling and the beach. So a fantastic day!

Brent Goose looking at the camera!

Brent Goose looking for food

Purple Sandpiper Great Tit at Big Waters

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Kestrel Rescue at Budle Bay

Today, after reading about the waders at Budle Bay, we went to check it out. On the way in we saw a kestrel lying in the middle of the field which we thought was dead. So we just carried on and had a look in the bay. There we saw shelduck (20+), oystercatcher (20+), Lapwing (100+), Redwing (4),redshank (10+), dunlin (5+), a dunnock and a robin. While we were watching the waders, a flock of geese flew over but we are not sure what type they are! After that we came back and noticed the Kestrel again. In got the binoculars on it and noticed that it's eye moved so I went into the field and saw that it's beak was moving. I shouted to my dad that it was alive and he came over and picked it up and wrapped it in a blanket in the back of the car. I tried to think of a place with a warden to take him and ask him what to do and I thought of Hauxley! When we got there, Kelly, as I called the Kestrel!, looked much better and was awake and looking around. We went in and asked what to do and he said take him to Ulgham Bird Reserve. We had a look around Hauxley while we were there but nothing except 5 tree sparrows. Since we were near we decided to head for Cresswell to see if the mud was back for the waders. When we got there Kelly was opening her beak and called a "kee-kee" shout. I thought she was hungry. We went to the hide and sure enough the mud was back and there was golden plover (70+), lapwings (70+), a curlew, sanderling (10+), Whooper Swans (7) and redshank (3). We also saw a beautiful water rail in the reeds as well. Then we left back for the car and I saw a worm and I thought Kelly might like it saw I picked it up. However, we drove to Ulgham and she hadn't eaten it but luckily they took her in and are going to look after her and she should live hopefully!
Kelly in the back of our car
Kelly in the middle of the field
Shelduck Flying
Cresswell Mud Flats

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Harrier Delight at St. Mary's

Today we went to the lighthouse again to see if we could see the Brent goose for the first time and the sanderling again. As soon as we got there we were greeted by rock pipits (4), starling (10+), turnstone (5+) and a pied wagtail all on the beach. As we ventured further on we saw a curlew, a redshank and some oystercatcher (5+). That was all however down on the beach. So we left and we noticed a big black goose on a bank at the opposite end and it turned out to be the Brent goose we were looking for!
So we left the beach and had a look on the lagoon. There was loads of different ducks such as: Teal (40+), Mallard (40+), Wigeon (5) and one rare duck... a gadwall. We looked away from the lagoon and had a look across a field where we had seen a kestrel flying overhead and hovering so we went and look. No sign of it today. But, we looked across the field and noticed a bird of prey which at first had us baffled. It was about the size and shape of a red kite but without the forked-tail. I took a picture as it came closer and when we got home and had a look on the RSPB website we found out we had been watching a female Hen Harrier!
Rock PipitHen Harrier

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

St. Mary's Lighthouse

Tonight, I decided to go to the lighthouse to see if I could find some waders. I like waders and I was looking for a curlew which is my favourite. However I found something much better down on the sand. I saw turnstone (5+) and next to them was some sanderling (15+). It was dark and on the photo it looks like it could be 9pm but it was only 5pm! However that is all there was exciting.

Sanderling Sanderling in a group

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Wallington Hall

As it was such a nice day, we decided to have a day out. After remembering that there was a feeding station there I said that I would like to see some little birds. So when we got there we asked someone what there was to see. She said that there was blue tits, coal tits and things like that. So we went to the hide and sure enough there was a feeding station. We went in a sat down and there was blue tits (10+), coal tits (15+), chaffinches (5+), great tits (2), a nuthatch, a greenfinch, a bullfinch and a robin. Also there was a red squirrel. There was quite a selection of birds until they all scattered. Me and my dad knew something was bothering them and alarm calls were being made. And sure enough, 10 seconds later a sparrowhawk flew right between the feeders but it was unsuccessful in seeing anything.
10 minutes later we left the hide and headed for the gardens. On the way back we saw a bird fly across the path and when we looked up there was long-tailed tits (5+). We left there and went into the garden where was nothing of interest. Moorhens (10+) but nothing else except on the way out when we saw a flash of blue and there was a kingfisher flying away.
Greenfinch on feeder
Great Tit on the ground

Monday, 27 October 2008

Rising Sun Country Park

First day of the school holidays, I decided to go and visit Rising Sun Country Park at Benton. It was sunny but a little bit windy and I wasn't really expecting to see anything of interest. However, within a few minutes of arriving, I spotted a little Goldcrest in the hedgerow. It was totally oblivious to us being there and I managed to get within a few inches of it. Nothing further of interest until we got to the hide. There we saw Shoveler (15+), Pochard (5+), Wigeon (5+) and the usual Mallard, Coots, Mute Swan and Black-headed Gulls. As we left the hide I manage to get this shot of a Robin. Further on, as we were leaving, we heard a bird which turned out to be a Coal Tit.


Robin Shoveler

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Cresswell Ponds

After recent good sightings at Cresswell, such as black-tailed and bar-tailed godwit, greenshank and many more fantastic waders and ducks, we decided to go back. Just before we got to Cresswell we spotted another little pond and on it, next to a redshank, was a dunlin. After getting a photo we moved onto Cresswell. As we got there we were greeted by 2 kestrels hovering over the fields. We made our way up the path towards the hide greeted by sounds of lapwings as we went in. We had a look out on the lake and the water level had gone up. There was still Lapwings (50+), Golden Plover (20+), 2 curlew and lots of black-headed gulls. No sign of the godwits but when we had a look on the whiteboard to see what there was out we noticed a bittern on the board so we sat down and waited while watching a little grebe (dabchick) diving. 20 minutes later we were just leaving the hide when the bittern flew right in front. We left the hide happy after seeing the bittern and went to try some other reserves. The first one, Druridge Ponds, had nothing at it. Then we went to East Chevington and no sign of life there either so we moved on to the last reserve which was Hauxley. There we saw some snipe (7+) but nothing else of interest so we went back to Cresswell. When we got there "Kingfisher" was written on the board which means it must have been spotted sometime. We waited and eventually someone said "Kingfisher on the post" and sure enough there was a beautiful Kingfisher.
Dunlin Bittern
Some More Sightings at Cresswell in September 08.
Greenshank looking for food.
Black-Tailed Godwit in Summer Plumage
Little Gull Flying
Bar-Tailed Godwit with Greenshank Merlin flying away after chasing some Lapwings