Sunday, 29 March 2009

Some good sightings at Wallington Hall 29/3/09

Today, all the family decided to go out to Wallington. As we parked the car and went to pay to get in, a nuthatch was feeding right at our feet. Got some shots and then moved to the feeding station. When we arrived at the hide, we knew that we wouldn't be able to see much as there were about 15 people in the hide. Luckily, after 5 mins, some people moved off so we grabbed a spot. There was 30+ chaffinches in front of us. 10+ greenfinches, 2 coal tits, and 6-7 blue tits. As the time moved on, a GS Woodpecker came and starting feeding. It was a lovely sight so close to us, but it soon went back to the trees. Just as it left, a buzzard flew over the hide so I ran out to get some photos. A bit later on, we had a fantastic surprise. A pair of brambling came out of the trees and starting feeding. The male on the ground and the female on the seed feeder. After those lovely spots, we left the hide and went over to the gardens to see if we could see the kingfisher. No luck, however a robin was feeding about a metre away from me so I couldn't resist some photos!!
GS Woodpecker Brambling: Top - Male. Bottom - Female Robin Common Buzzard
GreenfinchCoal Tit

Thursday, 26 March 2009

St. Mary's and Holywell Ponds 24/3/09

Went to St. Mary's on Tuesday to see what waders were down there. We got down to the north bay I noticed a group of white waders on the point. I went in for a loser look. There was: 20 dunlin, 30 sanderling, 5 redshank, 5 turnstone and 10 knot. On our way back to the sand, we came saw 2 purple sandpipers right in front of us which was a good opportunity for a photo. Back on the bay there were 20 sanderling running with the waves and also 3 turnstone. As we pushed on further along the bay, a fulmar flew over which is a new sighting at St. Mary's. I was very surprised to see no pipits what so ever in the bay. There are usually rock pipits at the least. Anyway onto Holywell. When we got in the hide there were plenty of greenfinches on the feeders, mallards and tufties on the pond and a great spotted woodpecker in the feeding station. Later on a little grebe popped up in front of the hide but it soon went away. No sign of the water rail unfortunately but some nice views of the woodpecker.
Purple Sandpiper The group of waders Sanderling GS Woodpecker Fulmar

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Pipits at St. Mary's 19/3/09

After school, we went down to St. Mary's to see what was there. On the bay we saw lots of pipits flying around but I managed to get photos of two different pipits and think one of them could be the water pipit. Has anyone got any ideas on it?
Water Pipit?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Bothal, East Chevington, Druridge and Cresswell 14/3/09

We decided that we would visit all the ponds today. First stop was Bothal. After scanning the water for 15 minutes, we gave up as there was no sign of the green-winged teal despite a report on Birdguides that it was there - we must be looking in the wrong place. However, there were 4 whooper swans along with the ducks on the far side of the pond. Next was East Chevington for the Glauc. When we went into the first hide, a gadwall swam straight in front of us but too quick for a photo. While we were there we saw: 2 shelduck, 3 more whooper swans, and 4 gadwall. Unfortunately, that was all of interest so we set off for Druridge. However, we soon stopped again as there was a common toad in the middle of the road risking life and limb! I went back and took a photo of it then we went to Druridge. As it was so windy, we couldn't really see what was on the ponds but we did manage to see a heron and 20+ whooper swans (yet again!) in the field on the far side of the pond. Then off to Cresswell. We sat in the car for 10 mins waiting for the barn owl but due to the wind, we decided that it wasn't going to come out so we went to the hide. But on the way on the smaller pond there was 2 shelduck with another heron. In the hide, there was lots of ducks on the pond but not much of interest. On the way out we saw a pair of stonechats on the wall.

Whooper Swans at Bothal

Pair of Stonechats at Cresswell Common Toad at Druridge

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Killingworth Lake

Today after school, we went to Killingworth Lake to look for the Barnacle Goose at the far end. As soon as we arrived, I saw it straight away because of the head colouring and it was much smaller than the Canadian geese although it was grazing with them. After searching the lake for any rare ducks we left after finding none. It was still light so we called into Swallow Ponds for a quick 20 minutes. When we got to the hide, we saw a little grebe straight away in front of the hide. There were many ducks such as pochard, teal, wigeon and mallard. Later on, we saw a great-crested grebe crossing the pond but it was to far away for a photo.

Barnacle Goose

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Some unusual sightings at Blyth Harbour 10/3/09

At 5 o'clock we went to Blyth Harbour for the glauc that is meant to be there. On our way in on the path there was some little birds which turned out to be linnet. Further on, we saw the two Iceland Gulls straight away on the pier again. As we went on we saw many black-headed, herring and great black-backed gulls but no glauc. We went to the very end of the far pier looking for the glauc. We had two unexpected sightings of creatures in the sea. The first we saw was two common porpoise jumping up. While we were watching them, a seal popped it's head out the water for a look but we didn't see it again when it went back down. They were good sightings and some relatively good photos as well. Blyth Lighthouse
Seal Linnet
Common Porpoise

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Glaucous or Iceland?

I am now thinking this is a Glaucous gull because of the colouring of the bill and the shape of the head. It certainly looks different to the Iceland gull photos that I took in January. Here are the two for comparison.
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull?

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Black Lough for the Shrike

Today we decided to go to Black Lough to see the Great Grey Shrike. On our way there we called in at Bothal Pond for the GW Teal but nothing to be seen except mallards, coots, tufted ducks and pochard. So we went to black lough. After a mile walk (which felt like 5 miles!) we got to the lough and met another birder who pointed us in the right direction for the shrike. Sure enough the Great Grey Shrike was there! It was sitting on a fence-post about 300m away but then it came for a closer look. I digiscoped it and got some reasonable shots. After that we headed back home and on the way home we saw a red-legged partridge and 3 buzzards on a hedge. We called in to Blyth Harbour after to see the Iceland Gull. I wanted to see it standing so we went to have a look. I was lucky because as soon as we went in to the harbour we saw it standing on the first pier you come to. Excellent views!
Iceland Gull
Great Grey Shrike digiscoped

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Green Sandpiper?

I was flicking through some old photos when I came across this one taken at Washington Wildfowl Centre in July 08. I think it is a green sandpiper. Can anyone confirm this? Just been out for half a hour around Red House pond in search of the kingfisher but no sign of it although we did see a goldcrest and some long-tailed tits.