Monday, 1 March 2010

Jack Who ? (Maybe)

Picked up Segedunum Warbler at 0800hrs and off we went to Far Pastures for a quick 10 mins before continuing another one of my quests to find a Dipper. The 10mins went by run relatively slowly as we didnt leave till a few minutes to 12. Basically we spent about 50mins to an hour in the hide having a great time trying to figure out how many there were on the little island in front of the hide. Eventually we (or I) came to the conclusion there were at least 8 and 1 of them was doing a fair bit of bobbing up and down, I will call him Jack to preserve his anonymity, although we didnt get a full view to confirm who he was (when we were leaving we bumped into another birder heading down to the hide who was going to see if the suspected "Jack" he had seen yesterday was unmasking himself). Below is a picture of a number of them, if you have an idea how many there is (a clue is that not all 8 are there) answers can be submitted on a Tenner, although going by the GMTV competition rules anybody who was with me can also enter enter the competition and win.
There were some other distractions there also, a couple of Barnacles with a Canada although when the Canada came over towards the Hide one of the Barnacles followed and a little, dare I call it Courtship began and I wish them lots of happiness. I've seen a Canlag but never a "Barcan ?"
Also present in the pool were a few Teal, couple of Mallard, several Moorhen and a couple of coot which by Far Pasture standards from last year was great. Unfortunately no Kingfisher had been seen recently was the story from the lone phot in the hide whilst we were there. When we left the hide it was about 9.30am and the next 2 and a bit hours were spent in the Car Park and the first 50m of the track. A Dunnock treated us to some great tunes on and off for 30mins.

Several Coal Tits moved around making it hard to spot the elusive Willow Tit, unfortunately I didnt get a decent shot of it, I did get a video of it but that wasnt good enough either so heres a pic of one of the Coal Tits instead.

We also saw a Kestrel, couple of Red Kites, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Robins, Chaffinches, Greenfinch, several (or probably the same) flock of Corvids, Mute Swan. Also present just as we were leaving was the most pumped up Blackbird I have ever seen.

Next we popped up to Thornley Woods, with Nuthatch, Yellowhammer, Chaffinches showing well in the Car Park. In the Hide I was amazed to find no Grey Squirrels, mind you that only lasted about 15mins and by the time we left there were about 5 running around.
Quite a few species around including another Kestrel and a couple of stunning Red Kites which we saw as we approached the hide and in the Feeding Station were, Mallard, Yellowhammer, Chaffinches, Dunnock, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Robin, Blackbirds. Unfortunately the bird we went to see, the Jay, failed to make an appearance.

The star of the day for me was the Grey Heron who was having a late lunch of 2 Frogs. The poor Frogs had no doubt just woken after hibernation but I suppose one has to have sustenance.

We then moved on to Clara Vale stopping at Sled Lane and watched two Golden Eye Drakes competing for the attention of the lone female. At Clara Vale not a lot as the weather was beginning to get progressively worse and by the time we left it was "hissing down". We then eventually headed for the Dipper spot (remember the 1st sentence above) and when we got there it was after 4 but at least I now know where to go. Took a slow drive along the North Bank of the Tyne, it was still lashing down and the High Tide was at an unbelievable height so nothing apart from a few thousand Gulls to see. Even with that another great day was had. Thanks to John for the great company.
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