Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Big Waters - Last Couple of Visits

Just a few shots from the last couple of visits to Big Waters on the 27th November and 4th December. I hardly took my camera out on the first one and on the second I couldn't be bothered to take it out as I was just enjoying the dry but cold weather, the wildlife and the chatter.

 This was taken on the 27th November but if you had been there 3 days earlier  when the
 heavy rain happened you wouldn't have seen the island or got into the hides at all

This one was taken about 8.30am when a lot of the pond was still frozen
and all the ducks had retreated into the weeds

Lots of Swans around trying to land and take off with the ice causing them problems.
I think there was around 30 there although no doubt Alan J will correct me

It was quite dark as we walked around although occasionally the
sun did get through a few holes in the thick clouder layer

Right at the end of the walk the sun came out although still with
strange levels of dark and light

Onto 4 December and a quick stop off at Little Waters where ZAT and ZAS seem to be spending their nights (the pair that have raised two families in the last two breeding seasons) probably for a bit of peace and quiet from the myriad of Swans that seem to be passing through on the main pond although I did see them leave and head through the tunnel towards the main pond

A few of the several hundred Greylags that are around Big Waters atm.  I remember Alan J saying that there was more than 500 counted a couple of days ago

Once again my favourite view on the walk round although I did take the pictures using the Bracketing Function then combined the pictures together to make a basic HDR image

A Grey Heron just passing the time of day

Can't go without putting up a video but this one is in the form of a question
(for those of you who don't like watching videos I have put up 2 pictures 
first taken with my box brownie so if you stop it after 14 seconds you will
not see those evil moving pictures which capture your heart and soul and 
rip it out of your body - wonder if any of these people watch Richard
Attenborough's Planet series?)


Finally a note for all of  those brainless dog walkers who leave their dog's doings in plastic bags hanging from tress, gates, bushes or just dumped



Sunday, 13 November 2016

Howdon Wetlands in November

Visited Howdon Wetlands 3 times last week and each time the weather was different, dreadfully cold, tipping down with rain and the last visit on Friday was unbelievably bright sunshine.  Nothing out of the ordinary was seen although Colin J did have some Blackwits in the first few days of November.  It still is a delightful place to go where peace reigns and you will never bump into people and therefore no uncontrolled dogs.  Here are a few pictures from my visits, probably boring for those who have seen accentors, shirikes and rare warblers recently but absolutely bliss for me.

Gorgeous Rainbow very early morning
 Looking Upriver towards Newcastle about 8.30 in the morning
 Pleny of Stock Doves around
 One of the numerous Cormorants dropping in for a fresh water wash and brush up
There are at least 4 Wrens who visit the reeds in front of the Hide

 Plenty of Curlews but sporadic depending on tides
 You can nearly always see Snipe but usually tucked against and in the reeds

 Most of the white dots in the trees are Grey Heron 
(Think there was only about a dozen around when I took this picture)
 Plenty of Redshank and loads of Teal

Shelduck are in and out like yoyos

Finally a short video


Friday, 4 November 2016

Big Waters - 30 October 2016 - Crossbills

Sunday walk around with Alan and Ian had us seeing quite a variety of species but for me the highlights were the Crossbills and the Greylags.  We saw 3 lots of Crossbills but the best views were the 7 that landed on the tree about 30m in front of us, managed to get a few shots before they were off again.

Short video followed by a view of the island after a Good Cleanup

Plenty of Greylags moving around the pond then back to the field, there were in the mid 200s but no doubt Alan J will send me a message giving me the exact amount although I do remember him saying there were more during the week.  Plenty of other things but didn't take a lot of pictures so here a few I did get.
The colours this time of year are brilliant


The island has had a short back and sides

 A couple of the 30+ Adult Swans that were on the pond
 Don't you just love the Greylag call ?

Monday, 17 October 2016

Big Waters 16 October 2016 - Lots of Deer

Arrived at Big Waters a bit late and Alan J and Ian D had already departed so I headed round to Brighton (Brunswick) Beach to wait for them where there were lots of birds just chilling in the Autumn Sunshine.  Alan and Ian arrived and the first counting started and the most surprising fact for me was that there were 25 Adult Swans and 12 youngsters.  After all the counts finished 3 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Little Grebes, 3 Shoveller, 2 Pintail, 10 Cormorant, 94 Coot, lots of Wigeon, 11 Tufted, Bucketfulls (the non-technical term) of Gulls, ? Teal (forgot the total), a handful of Gadwall and the lonely Grey Heron.  Probably missed out a few but didn't go the main hide as it was hissing down and I didn't have a waterproof so skedaddled to the Car Park.  On  the walk round we saw Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Treecreeper, Grey Wagtails, Redwing, Siskin and Chiffchaff and after I left 24 Snipe put in an appearance,  Many other regulars were also seen.  We did the Short Walk which was lucky as we just got back to the first hide before it started raining.  There were 8 Deer in one of fields also.  A really good walk with some great views of wildlife although on the downside there were a lot of bikes without bells (was nearly taken out twice) and lots of dogs not on leashes which adopted aggressive stances when you were in confined spaces, with the owner, in some cases shouting, but the dogs were completely ignoring them and having been the victim of 2 Dog Attacks, one of them quite serious, I feel that something must be done.  Anyway here are a few pictures of the wander round and the inevitable video.

Great view from the Public End
 Tremendous Autumn Colours

Plenty of cows keeping the grass short and creating some lovely mud patches
 Lots of Deer

 "Look a Jay", points camera at where Alan is looking and press the button twice
This photography lark is easy 
The Chilling Beach
 Haven't seen one on the tree for a while
Too full of fish to hunt anymore

Inevitably the Video