Sunday, 29 November 2009

Should Have Listened to the BBC Weather On Sunday

Saturday off to Big Waters for a couple of hours. It must have been "Low Tide" as most of the water had gone from the Feeding Station and the lake level had dropped ever so slightly. The problem today was the mist, even when I left at 10:00 I still could only make the Island out occassionally. Plenty of birds on the lake including Goldeneye, Gadwall, Teal, Great Crested Grebe and all the normal suspects. The feeding station was absolutely alive with birds even though the Male Sparrowhawk came through twice the birds returned quite quickly. Heard quite a few geese but only saw 1 small flock of Greylags on the North Field when the mist cleared for a few seconds. The Otter was also out having a poke around quite early on also.

Went home to collect wife and she had sorted out the growing amount of feeders/tables in the Garden (now numbering 20) and when I pulled round the back of the house there was 30+ Starlings, 20+ Collared Doves/Pigeons, 20+ House Sparrows and half a dozen tits feeding. None of them moved at all so I just sat there and watched them for over 10mins. Now readers of the Blog will know that I have been trying to lure Goldfinches in with a Niger Feeder but to no avail. Last weekend we took the Feeder down and gave it a good clean and was intending to get some more Niger this weekend. Looking through all the birds I noticed a flash of red on the foremost of the pole feeders and bugger me a Goldfinch was on the fatball feeder. This brings my Garden Count (only count birds that have landed/fed in the garden) to 20 the other latest additions being Greenfinch and Great Tit.

We then went to Newcastle to top up the feeders at work and when we arrived there was a small (20ish) charm of goldfinches flying around. Carole decided I HAD PUT THEM OUT WRONG so she rearranged them. Sat in the car for about 20 mins and about 15 Blue and Great Tits started feeding with Dunnocks, Chaffinches and Robins scrapping around on the ground.

Quick trip over the water to Shibdon, not much there apart from Gulls, Swans, Mallards and a large flock of Canadas feeding on the Grass. Up to Thornley for 15mins, managed to see a few birds including a couple of Nuthatch through the 16 Grey Squirrels who were fighting to get on the feeders and chasing the birds. Even the table feeder in the Car Park was being raided by 2 Greys also. Nice shot of Robin in a Christmassy pose made the visit worthwhile.

Decided to visit St Marys for an hour but by the time we got there (14:30) you would have thought it was dusk. The Golden Plovers supplied a nice backdrop display to the Lighthouse for a few minutes. Thought I saw the Water Pippit fly in and out but the moral is always set your camera when you get to a new location so when you press the button you get "pretty pictures" not pics that look as though they were taken in the 1920s with a box brownie.

Sunday morning we set off early for Amble for the market to get some Niger and the Aniseed flavoured seed that the House Sparrows go mad for. Foolishly I had plumped for the ITV forecast which said very windy but only showers as opposed to BBC which said Lots and Lots of Wind and Lots of Rain (BBC was right). As we arrived (0830) the few vans that had arrived for the market were packing up (no sign of the feed man) or just hadnt bothered to unpack and headed home.

Went to the quayside where there were 3 or 4 trawlers and lots of crew repairing nets all speaking a language I did not recognise. They were also gutting fish and tossing the remnants into the water and the Eiders, Cormorants and Gulls were going absolutely bananas. The harbour was absolutely full of birds and the sandbank on the far side was quite crowded as well.

Decided to go for a bit of shelter at Hauxley and took a slow drive via the costal route, the fields were full of Turnstones, Gulls, Oystercatchers and an inordinate amount of Curlews. Arriving at Hauxley only 1 car in the Car Park and guess who that belonged to. We checked out pools from the reception hide but not a great amount to be seen. We then went to the little delapidated hide just off the car park and spent an enjoyable 15 mins watching the many "little birds" as the wife calls them flitting about. This chaffinch was quite puffed up to say the least.

Decided to call it a day then, rain was absolutley tipping down, wind howling and a Roast Chicken Dinner was more appealing than this.
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