Monday, 24 August 2009

3 Day Weekend

Took Friday off and headed down to Saltholme for my first proper visit. It was extremely windy but us Northeners (thats North of the Tyne) are Tough. With only 3 layers on the Mrs insisted I carry something to keep my light frame (nose grows uncontrollably) on the ground. That turned out to be a haversack with tripod, scope, big flask, 2 towels etc etc. After 5 mins in the Reception I was quite sticky to say the least. The reception is quite impressive and stood and watched the Little Gulls having a snooze only 20m away. Then saw the Black Necked Grebe I had come to see. Didnt bother with pics through the big glass viewing area but used the various scopes that were knocking around. Eventually got out into the reserve, another first was the Little Egret, I was using my binos and at quite a distance I noticed this white head bobbing up and down, not wanting to look a complete numpty I whispered to the wife that I thought I had seen a Little Egret and then when I turned around about 10 scopes were looking where I was and a posh voiced person turned around to his wife and said "Darling, you can observe a Little Egret behind the Taupish Green Bush". Little Bubble appeared above my head saying I think you will find that books and language has evolved since the 1880s.

Found a Greenshank, well I think its a Greenshank and there was absolutely no one around to try and impress with my knowledge but on second thoughts maybe the absence of people was a good thing.

Next bird that stood out was the one below (bet you cant guess which one I am talking about). I stared at it for quite a while but couldn't decide whether it was one of them or one of the other. Eventually plucked up the courage to ask the question in a room where the cost of the scopes on view was more than the remainder of my mortgage. Anyone know what that white thing is in amongst the Canadas said I. There was about 100 Canadas and this white thing had stayed with them for over 30mins taking off, flying, having a dip then lying down. A quite voice whispered Hybrid, within 30 seconds 10 people were talking at the same time trying to figure out who Mammy and Daddy were.
Saltholme is quite good but there was a bit too many loose ends, tatty signs, red and white tape blocking access, the map whilst adequate could have been made a lot better for such a big organisation. Having to go through the restaurant to get a decent outside view of the Swallow Wall, whilst a good way of tempting you to buy their food is not a good idea. Lot of litter lying around, picked up 3 soft drink cans myself.
Saturday we went on our first visit to Washington Wildfowl, what a great place with exceptionally friendly staff. Only 2 complaints about the place, the cost of the food and once again the map took a bit of figuring out (thinking about it maybe Im just a crap map/diagram reader). It tooks us nearly 6hrs to get round and we still didnt get to look at the Sandpiper Pool. Took loads of piccies of strange and beautiful looking birds but the one below made me think. On our way to Washington there was a news item which said Mike Ashley was going to make an announcement about the Clubs future on Monday. The following pic summed it all up for me. The aptly named Magpie Goose and as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It was strikingly Black and White walked with a bit of a limp (Lame Duck) and all the other birds were hissing at it. Remind you of anyone???????
Cant recommend Washington enough, great day out for Birders and for the Family but bring a packed Lunch.
Sunday we visited Big Waters and St Marys, wasnt going to put a picture up from Big Waters but when I was flicking through I saw this lovely shot of a Robin and decided to put it in. Bugger me, it was one of the wifes, she is more of a point and click merchant than me but somehow keeps getting better whilst my Learning Curve has flattened out into a straight.
At St Marys there was too many people around, combined with a massive tide there was little to see unless you went right out to the low water mark (Didnt want to cause the Lifeboat to come out for a rescue so stayed on the promenade except for a trip down to the wooden staithes and the little beach there - didnt see a thing apart from the 3 7/8yr olds in wet suits playing on body boards. Hey, the beach is for everyone. Managed to get a couple of pics of one of my favs, the Starling.

Bath Time after the Match

Beautiful Colours.

Monday morning dropped into Thornley Wood, read that a Redstart had been seen there. Once again my text to him didnt get through to arrange the appointment cos it wasn't there. Instead the light was bloody awful but because of that got what I think is a great pic of a Chaffinch

Well thats it for a few days, back to work, lots of students to enrol and budgets to sort.
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