Monday, 11 October 2010

A lifer weekend

My weekend started on Friday at Tynemouth with the great grey shrike very fleetingly. It was on the priory for a couple of seconds then flew off and I didn't see it again. The goldcrests and other warblers were putting in a performance as well but nothing unusual.
On Saturday, we went to Hartlepool to see the woodchat shrike which was a new bird for me. A very handsome and approachable bird along with a lot of other things: redwings, goldcrests and a lot of other birds. Unfortunately I didn't get any birding in on Sunday because I was ringing all day which was also a success. 2 GS Woodpeckers, Redwings, Stonechat and a pied flycatcher were all ringed. There was a lot of other good birds ringed too. See the photos for details.
And yesterday, I was at St. Mary's getting my second lifer of the weekend, the red-flanked bluetail which was showing very well on the fence posts and stiles. There was plenty of other things too, goldcrest, redstart and a garden warbler which is a patch tick. I think it is a garden warbler but I have aphoto of it on this blog so feel free to tell me if it's not.
Overall, I think that is a pretty impressive weekend, shame about the light though.
Woodchat Shrike Garden WarblerRed-Flanked Bluetail
Redwing Meadow PipitGS Woodpecker Stonechat SiskinWillow Tit

Saturday, 2 October 2010

A Dark-Bellied Day

I've just come back from St. Mary's Island, there was quite a bit there. In the north bay there was a Dark-Bellied Brent Goose, 2 bar-tailed godwits and plenty of ther waders like redshank, dunlin, sanderling and ringed plover. The golden plover numbers were higher than I've ever seen. Then as I looked round, there was a merlin that I just caught sight of as it flew over the rocks and out of sight. I've never seen a merlin there before. That's about all really, the merlin was the highlight with the brent goose a close second!
Brent Goose Bar-Tailed Godwit

Friday, 10 September 2010

Yorkshire Trip 30/8/10 - 1/9/10

I have been busy lately so I haven’t had time to do a blog of the holidays! But I do have time now.
Me and my dad went down to Yorkshire during the holidays to visit some of the reserves there. We left early on Monday and went straight down to Fairburn Ings RSPB. My membership had run out with the RSPB so I went and got it renewed while I was there. While we were waiting, the warden showed us some of the best sights on the reserve. The hides on the reserves didn’t produce a lot, so we went to the place where the warden had told us there had been some rare waders seen. We went along and just on the roadside was a pool, we stopped and got out. When we looked at the waders I saw a new bird for me, 3 curlew sandpipers, a ruff and greenshank. After a while, they flew over to our side, producing the best view I have ever had and some great photo opportunities. After spending an hour there, we went onto Far Ings. We went straight to the main hide which had had reports of water rail, bearded tit and marsh harrier. When we got there, we were told that the water rail had been out earlier but not seen since. But after about 20 minutes, we saw a little red beak pop out of the reeds, and soon it was walking around, brilliant photos again! It wasn’t long before the next bird showed up; a bearded tit appeared just under the reeds. Eventually showed a bit better but not great. Still good to add to the list though! The next hide was good too, another new bird, a lesser whitethroat in the trees next to the hide again, great views! So many great views on this trip! We were staying in South Cave, next to North Cave wetlands, so just before going the B&B, we went to see what was around. Not a lot on the reserve, although a first-winter male redstart in the trees was a bonus. Not such great views but not bad! We went to Blacktoft Sands for the last day. Not a lot here, spotted redshank was the highlight, 7 little egrets and a few ruffs. But the marsh harriers were out and there was a few, 6 in the air at a time! One came very close, never seen them that close before! A nice male showing off the grey wings! Fantastic! Spurn Point and Bempton Cliffs on the way home were good as well. Thousands of waders at Spurn, whimbrel was the highlight on the beach reasonably close, and grey plover flocks were around but very timid. There was also a nice roe deer on the hill quite close but was scared by a dog just as I was getting close. Bempton was just the usual really but some fulmar were coming close on their way past which was a very good end to the holiday. In total, 97 different species, well worth the visit! Curlew Sandpiper - The Highlight! Ruff Lesser Whitethroat Fulmar Cormorant from Far Ings Marsh Harrier Bearded Tit Whimbrel Water Rail
Redstart Roe Deer

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ginger Dunlin at Tynemouth

We went looking for the mandarin at Tynemouth today. We didn't see it but we got another surprise. A dunlin flew in from the sea and landed on the grass. It had a lovely plumage and I had been looking forward to the dunlin returning. This marks the start of the wader season! Dunlin

Friday, 16 July 2010

2 surprises in 1 hour! 15/7/10

The Med Gull at Brier Dene car park has returned after only being away for 3 months! I photographed it in March and then again yesterday after the breeding season. After photographing it for a while we went onto Gosforth Park reserve. Amazingly, as soon as we got to the hide, there was a kingfisher sitting just outside it about 5 metres away! The luck was definitely on our side! While we sat there watching the kingfisher and the tern colony, there was a reed warbler feeding chicks very near the hide which were very photogenic. Some nice surprises which some great pictures to show for them.
Kingfisher at Gosforth Park Med Gull at Brier Dene. Top - July 2010, Bottom - March 2010 Reed Warbler

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Druridge Pools 24/6/10

Yes, I'm still here! My school work has left me no time at all so this is my first blog for ages! Me and my dad went to Druridge Pools on Thursday to look for the male ruff that had been reported. After talking to someone who had just left the hide who said it was there, we were pretty confident. When we went in, we couldn't see it straight away so we waited and after 10 minutes it popped it's head out from behind the plants. It didn't move from there and it wasn't in a very good place for photos so I moved to the other side of the hide for a better view, but just as I did it began to walk out from behind the plants and it walked straight in front of us providing great views and photo opportunities. We watched it for 30 minutes before moving on. As we went past Cresswell, we stopped and watched a sedge warbler next to the road in the reeds. Again providing brilliant views. Last stop was St. Mary's. Very quiet at the moment with just sand martins providing any sign of life. However, it was a good day none the less. Ruff
Sedge Warbler

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Black-Headed Med Gull and St. Mary's

Because my school finishes early on a Tuesday, I went to St. Mary's with my dad after school. As soon as we arrived we spotted a kestrel sitting in a tree and went to see it. It let me get amazingly close to it to get decent photos of it (it must be used to people). We had the weather, we had the birds but we didn't have the most important thing... the tide! It was right in so no chance of knot but we did get two lovely rock pipits on the rocks on the path to the causeway. Unfortunately not much else so we went to Brier Dene to check on the Med Gull. Success! It now has half a black-head and because I don't think it will be here much longer, we got plenty of photos. Med Gull
Rock Pipit Kestrel

Saturday, 27 February 2010

A bit of everything. Feb 10

I have been away for a while so this is my first blog this month.
Here is a little update of the things I have seen this February:Nice Chaffinch in Kielder
Waxwings from Ashington
Sparrowhawk from Shiremoor Pochard from Killingworth Lake

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Knot Flock Return 24/1/10

Been all over today, we started at St. Mary's. On the rocks in the north bay, we had 3 oystercatcher, 1 redshank, 2 ringed plovers and 1 knot. When we went for a closer look at the knot, we saw a flock of 30 grey birds flew in which turned out to be knot as well. We were excited to see that the knot had returned to St. Mary's after we thought they weren't going to. After a good start, we headed for big waters. The feeders were packed with chaffinch, siskin, reed bunting, blue tit etc. The siskins were very happy to stay on the same feeder for almost a hour and a half. They were not letting the goldfinches on in a hurry! After spending a lot of time there, we moved to Killingworth Lake on the way home. 5 goosanders were present, along with 3 pochard and a goldeneye naming a few. The usual stuff was there too of course! A very good day birding!
Knot Goosander
Common Gull SiskinChaffinch