Extremely glad the weekend had come, had only managed to get out for an hour on Wednesday
to Tynemouth but managed to get some good views of the Yellow Browed Warbler. So early saturday no sooner had I arrived at Big Waters Hide after a quick walk round the public end and managing to catch glimpses of Chiff Chaff, Bullfinch, Treecreeper and 2 Kestrel a Harrier was spotted by JB and even though it was only 07.20 all 3 of us present had a go with the cameras, why I dont know as the pic below is the
best one I got and JB and Malc binned nearly all of theirs also.
The Sparrowhawk made several appearances, occasionally just
sitting in the Feeding Station demonstrating his power
A Water Rail actually ran into the pond then realising it was a bit deep
had to fly across the pond (tried hard to think if I had seen one
fly previously but cant remember).
The Hen Harrier and 2 Otters kept the birds on their toes making
several appearances and making everything shoot from one
side of the pond to the other
During the week several good sighting were had including 60+ Brent Geese, Marsh Harrier, Pink Foot
Geese, Peregrine, 13 Siskin and a quite an increase in totals of ducks with Gadwall hitting a new record, Wigeon and Coot increasing and also, with a bit of perseverance, after going through the 100s of Gulls
Alan J managed to find the elusive Med Gull.
Today about 20 mins after Keith B left for home Alan got a phone call and immediately left the hide saying
Turtle Dove down by the beacon so off we went. I realised this must be quite a rarity as I had never seen
one and Alan had started "running", not quite as fast as a speeding bullet but faster than a pensioner on a
mobility scooter. Just before we got there the 11.20 Emirates flight came over and Alan looked at me
and said "bet thats put it up". When we got there he was proved correct and despite looking for 15mins
we couldnt find it. Keith had to leave but showed us a couple of pics and we were now both convinced
that he had seen it (I never doubted you Keith) as in the past people have got Marsh and Hen Harriers
mixed up and sent people texts, then after showing pictures only for the more experienced birders to point out their errors (or possibly just start laughing). Anyway Alan and I started looking and after 15-20mins I
spotted it flying into the scrub from the stubble field. So keeping it under constant observation (technical
term learnt from Graeme B - which translates loosely as dont take your f*****g eyes of it) I hollered for Alan. When he arrived and confirmed it several texts were dispatched and a mini twitch was on.
I didn't get the best of pics (see below) but it certainly is a bonnie bird.
Quite a while since one has been seen at Big Waters (Lifer for me) as you can see from
the data supplied by Alan J below (Thanks)