Monday, 10 August 2009

The Half A Bino Weekend

What a HUMDINGER of a weekend, the weather was extremely good for a change.

Up at Sparrowsfart as usual I shot off to Far Pastures for my couple of hours solitude looking at a normally empty lake in the quest for the Kingfisher (actually the time before when the Kingfisher appeared I didnt even take any photos, just sat and watched it). As I approached the Car Park I noticed this bird land on a Gate Post, I slammed on the anchors and it never moved, took a couple of quick photos through the window then pressed the button to wind the window down. Abracadabra and it was gone, took about 3 secs to dive behind the nearest bush but when it flew away I got a look at its underside which seemed quite light (but it was quite misty).

I have decided its a Thrush, Mistle or Song Im not too sure about but am plumping for the Mistle. Cries of you silly boy or stupid pillock can be made in the comments.

The Kingfish turned up about an hour later and I took a few photos

Work kept me busy for the rest of the day and a visit by some of the offspring and a call from mother in Scotland (shes 85) to tell me she is going on holiday (call alone took up 93mins) killed the evening trip to St Marys.

Up and away very early the next morning to Big Waters, still dark when I left. Got a couple of great photos of the sunrise and the mist from the Boardwalk. There were 2 lads already in when I arrived.

Couple of hours watching, chatting and moaning about my replacement bins which hadn't arrived and scanning the lake with half a set of broken ALDI £6 binos, (if they ever come on offer at ALDI again buy a pair, they can be left in the car as a stopgap or even a proper set if your plastic is melting through constant use) cos Im too lazy to carry my Dads old 20x50s which he used for Horse Racing and weighed about the average weight of a new born child.

Quick run back home, wife waiting, quick change and off to Seal Sands. TIP OF THE DAY - always check that the tide is on its way in and not about 1hr before Low Water then you wont need an astronomical eyepiece to see the seals. We shot off to North Gare and had a walk, if you can call it that, it was more ducking, diving and swerving from the crowds (there were hundreds) and the wayward golf balls. Big signs said dogs must be on leads, of the 20 we saw not one was. Buggered off and went to Hartlepool for sustenance, quick KFC, remembered docs orders and just had a wrap and chips instead of the Family Meal (Im a martyr to my weight) - snigger snigger. Went back to Seal Sands and only 200m from the Car Park watched the seals swim up the river and then went on the bridleway to watch them from about 40m away, was worth the wait. Also there were loads of Martins around, flying furiously then resting for quite a considerable time (the ones below were on the fence for about 10mins)

When I first arrived and went to the Hide I could see hundreds of birds unfortunately the Aldi Bino was not working at peak efficiency and I said to the beloved I thought there was a flock of Curlews about 3 sandbanks away. The chap that was in the Hyde with me readjusted his minature version of Jodrell Bank and after wiping away 2 bucketfuls of sweat politely informed me that they were Godwits as he looked disdanefully at my "bino".

Next day I was at Big Waters for Dawn and was left all alone to contemplate the meaning of life and watch a couple of Herons go 10 rounds stripped to the waist. One of which nearly took out the 2 Little Grebes nest that they have been tending now for 10days. Back home and off to Amble with the wife, stopping at a Car Boot Sale and picking up a great book for 75p "The Birdlife of Britain" by Peter Hayman and Phillip Burton. Up to Amble Market, the petfood guy sells aniseed bird food, the sparrows absolutely love it on my feeders. Eventually arrived at Hauxley and there was more people there than I had ever seen, it had to be the 2nd coming.................... or an Argentinian Pintail.

Wandered round but didnt see the pintail, was even willing to get a record shot of the 2nd coming but that failed also, instead got a nice pic of a Juvenile Dunlin (thanks Al)

Decided to drop into Big Waters on the way home, nobody in the hide but loads of things with feathers around, stayed for over 2hrs, eventually got home at 20.55 knackered but happy.
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