Saturday and off to straight to Big Waters arriving at 07.00 with lots of Whoopers and Mutes being the most obvious thing in the mist as the sun started to rise (well somewhere it was rising cos not much light was filtering through here). Sat at the picnic table for an hour scanning the pond, brought some Hovis Wholemeal and I was the Mutes best friend whilst I was still chucking it out for them but just like in the real world when you have nothing left everyone buggers off. I did manage to collect 2 ring numbers I hadnt seen before so will wing them off to the BTO this week for checking. I have received 2 sighting reports back this week.
Ring Number: W11480 Species of bird: Mute Swan ringed by Coleman & Coleman as age 2nd year, sex Male on 31-Jan-2004 at Killingworth Lake.
Ring Number: ZZ7285 Species of bird: Mute Swan ringed by Coleman & Coleman as age Nestling, sex Male on 18-Aug-2008 at Wallsend, Rising Sun Country Park.
So it looks like these 2 hadn't travelled far but could have been round the world and back again but doubt it very much. In the bushes next to the picnic table I did spot 5 Goldcrests just sitting there and left them alone for 10mins but when the first walker appeared I decided to try and get a pic but as soon as I moved from my scope they were away. There was also a small flock of about a dozen or so Long Tailed Tits moving around and the number of Thrushes was much more than usual on top of the trees and scurrying across the grass under the trees. Up to the 1st Hide for an hour and things were starting to get better. The Swans were now getting more active.
The Cormorants, only 8 which is not as many as usual, doing their flying low and straight across the lake towards the tree then pulling up hard and waiting for another bird to take off creating a space on one of the more popular perches but this one failed on more than one occassion.
From the main hide 5 Male and 3 Female Gadwalls were easily visible.
These 2 dragged themselves up onto the scrape and canoodled away for more than an hour hardly moving, another 2 new BTO numbers were scoped for checking.
Then from the North West came the sounds of shooting which resulted in a mass exodus of the birds from the Scrape (with the exception of the 2 Mute Swans) and they all flew across to the other hide which had just occuppied by Alan JJ who stayed there for another hour.
Eventually I have managed to get a few more shots of my favourites of the moment, the Whooper Swans and the 2 new arrivals, the Bewick Swans.
The difference in size is quite obvious in this picture
Finally an unusual view of the Emirates arrival at a different angle than usual, managing to get quite a bit of Big Waters in.
Did pop up to Prestwick Carr in the afternoon where some more stunning view of the Great Grey Shrike were had and 8 SEOs in the air at the same time. No pics were taken as was too busy admiring them through the optics (Bloody Stunning)