Thursday, 30 September 2010

Couple of Good Warblers

Great fall of birds this week but unfortunately the only fall that came my way was the fall of work onto my desk.   Managed an early 45 minutes at Lamesley on Wednesday where a couple of Little Egret flew in then a couple of minutes later a Drake Goosander also arrived. 

This morning I had a quick wander round the Derwent by the Tennis Club and on the Weir were a couple of Grey Heron and a few Mallard but it was very quiet.  A quick run down to Shibdon where the pond was quite busy with plenty of Redshank and Lapwing, but in the centre of the pond was a big flock of Black Headed Gulls with more flying in every few seconds

God knows how many would have come in if a Raptor hadn't flew overhead and everything in view went up with the exception of 3 Little Egret who just carried on stamping around.  Only worked till 11.30am then shot off down to The Haven where the probable location of the Yellow-Browed Warbler was indicated by the presence of Tom, Tim and a few others.  Spent nearly an hour there getting a few brief but good views of it but no pics unfortunately but there was quite a few Speckled Woods around.

Off to St Marys, plenty of Birders around looking at strange birds which turned out to be a Chiff Chaff.  Saw 3 Sparrowhawks around 2 of which succeeded in an early high tea.  Also a few Curlews went overhead, several small flocks of Golden Plover congregated, a couple of Willow Warblers were spotted and plenty of Robins flitting around.   Off along to the Butts where several people were waiting for the Barred Warbler which had been showing well earlier to come out.  After a brief interlude with all the cameras pointing at a Shrew which was attempting to pull out a worm out of the ground the Barred Warbler appeared (once again no pics but I did get a distant shot of a Black Cap which was using the same spots for purchase as the Warbler so just look at the crappy pic and use your imagination)


Great day and only 2 to go for 200 for the year

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Saturday - Big Waters

Saturday and the first thing on view at Big Waters was a Male Sparrowhawk pursuing a Kingfisher right outside the hide, it did get away but was only seen once again during the day when it flew down the other side of the pond.  Most birds were up the West end of the pond sheltering from the wind, these included a dozen or so Wigeon, several Pochard, a pair of Gadwall, 80+ Mallard and lots of Teal.  The 3 Great Crested Grebe kept their distance and even when the Otter made an appearance they just kept pottering around whilst the rest of the birds that were pottering around headed up towards the scrape.
The arrival of 36 Greylag Geese then perked things up a bit

and no sooner than I had said "this is gonna upset the swans" then they took off from the far end of the pond and landed right nest to the flock of the Geese.

The 2 Swans then singled out a Greylag and chased it over to the middle and eventually forced it to fly off.  They then returned to the flock of Greylags and just swam round them as though to say "Hey this is our pond and we are the big guys here".  Then everything settled back to normal.   A Buzzard flew over the hide so I went outside to watch it and all the birds flew out of the Feeding Station which dosent normally happen when someone walks past so after a couple of minutes I went back in and there was a Sparrowhawk just sitting in a tree in the Feeding Station.   It flew off as soon as I approached the window so off I went outside again and there was now 3 Buzzards drifting around.
Alan J and I then went for a walk round and at the public end we encountered quite a few Dragonflies, most of them were Common Darters but we did encounter a Southern Hawker which chomped away on a Bee allowing a couple of pics.
We also came across a Speckled Wood which whilst not unknown at Big Waters is not a frequent visitor.  It was Alans only 2nd sighting there and was in exactly the same place as the first.
Dont know what the following Dragonfly is - any suggestions ?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Shanks and Hawks

Early morning to Shibdon for 45mins before work where it was still a bit dark but the Greenshanks had come out to play:
Unfortunately the Spotted Crakes and the Little Egrets did not and have not done so for a couple of days now.  2 Water Rails, a Green Sandpiper and an ever increasing number of Redshanks are now making regular appearances.  An early flyer from work to Big Waters gave me some great views of a Sparrowhawk.  It came and sat on the the feeder supporting wire for about 30 secs and I snapped of a couple of pics.

p.s.  Dazza Squared - Hope you like them

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

South Gare on Sunday

Sunday morning and a very swift glance at BirdGuides showed a Wryneck on South Gare, never seen one and never been there so with flask of tea and a biccie off I went. Quite easy to find thanks to Mr Satnav but what was perturbing was all the signs says trespassers beware etc etc but when the 4th or 5th car had passed me (and it was only 07:05) I suspected it would be OK to go on. Stopped by some Green Huts and after chatting to a couple of guys with scopes who I suspected were birders (I should have been in the Observer Corps in the Army and not the Ordnance) I was getting great views of a Wryneck. Also knocking around were a bundle of Meadow Pipits, a Stonechant and a Whinchat.
Mr Wryneck and some of his travelling companions

Looks quite at home in the bushes but his quite prehistoric looks make him more a rock dwelling creature.

But this shot was definitely the pick of the bunch for me.

After a good 30mins viewing I noticed quite a few cars heading further down the Gare so off I went. Got chatting to another couple of guys who pointed out that the bunch of Birders out on the rocks were looking at a Broad Billed Sandpiper but didn't fancy a walk over the rocks with my knackered ankle and had only put trainers on instead of boots (wimpish excuse) so only went onto the beach with a few others. It was fortunate that the birds went up and said Sandpiper flew across so it was in good view of our scopes for about 30 secs then off it went North at a fast rate of knots (2nd lifer of the day - but no pics). Started wandering further along the Gare with chatting to a chap and his wife and as we went through a gap in the wall I nearly stood on a Lapland Bunting. Off it went but returned in about 3-4mins with a few mates (5 in all), they settled down although when we approached 4 of them did a quick drop down the wall but the 5th was most happy to pose for pictures for 4 of us and even walked up to one ladies feet and did not even flinch when some guys scope was blown over by the wind making us all jump.

The Lapland Bunting posed quite well but the shot underneath was definitely my favourite.

Also managed to fit in a couple of hours at Shibdon but the Spotted Crake was "very elusive" in birdie parlance "DIDN'T SHOW" much to the dissappointment of a full hide of chaps from North of the Tyne. Fortunately there was quite a few other things to see including 6 Greenshanks, 2 Spotted Redshanks, Garganey, Green Sandpiper, 3 Water Rails, 5 Little Egret, 11 Snipe and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Beat Her At Last

Arrived home yesterday evening and was gonna go for a wander down St Marys but as I was getting my gear together a shadow flew past the window and about a 100 birds lifted from the garden.  Quick grab of the camera and pumping away on the button when the shadow settled on the fence in the darkest shade for a few seconds, the beloved not to be undone grabbed hers also and fired off a shot and with it the flash and up went the Sparrowhawk.  Its the first time I have beaten her to a shot in the garden so here are the only 2 decentish shots I managed to take:

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Cresswell, Ice Cream and the Kestrel

A trip to the Cresswell area on Sunday enabled some decent views of a Ruff, a couple of Curlew Sandpipers and a Greenshank.  Also knocking around were a few Dunlin and Redshank.   It was a great 45mins spent with good company but then the call of Creswell Ices forced me to return (2nd visit of the day).  Collected Ice Cream and moved about a mile further South, parked up and ate said Ice Cream.  Whilst eating it a Kestrel came and hovered/held itself steady in the strong Easterly winds  outside the car just level with the top of the Dunes for at least 5 minutes.  After finishing the Ice Cream and extremely delicious it was I picked up the camera and managed to take a few pics of the Kestrel.

It eventually dropped down onto the ground and sat there looking at me whilst I snapped some pics that would have looked more at home in a "Thats a Pretty Bird" pose.  It just looked so cute sitting there and not the lethal killing machine it is.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Big Waters

Headed off to Big Waters on a couple of occasions this week for a few hours.   Plenty of things to see including an early morning view of a Little Egret on Saturday morning which popped in for a few secs then was hassled by a Grey Heron and was off like a shot.  Also 4 Goosander paid a quick visit as well and only had a 2-3min "plodge" before heading off South West.  Still a couple of Sedge Warblers and plenty of Willow Warblers around and an unusual drop-in of a Jay to the Feeding Station.  Heres a few pics from the week:
Just having a light snack before Lunch
Sedge Warbler heading down to the basement
Gorgeous Blue Tit jumping about all over the place
Yet another Common Darter - they are the only ones that seem to stay still long enough
Saturday Morning - Bootiful
Kingfisher makin g an appearance
On Wednesday and Friday evening ventured to St Marys to see the Greenish Warbler but failed miserably.  Fortunately I managed to see a Spotted Flycatcher.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Greenshanks at Shibdon

Had some real good close-ups of a Greenshank at Shibdon during the week so here are a few of the snaps I got: