Monday, 23 April 2012

Its A Ruff Life But Not In The Garden

Saturday and at last a chance to get out after 5 days of work.  Unfortunately on Friday I had left my phone at work so went to Shibdon for a wander round prior to going back into Newcastle to recover my phone.  I was glad I did go as I bumped into George S on arriving who told me the Ruff were directly in front of the hide so shot straight along there before going around for a walk around.  The 2 Ruffs were a lot "bonnier" then when I had last seen them and really stood out although they were getting a bit of hassle from one of the Mute Swans but just flew 10m back and forward to the 2 little mounds of earth that were visible in the vastly increased height of the water.

I then went for a wander round, a few Chiff Chaff and a couple of Willow Warblers were calling away incessantly throughout my walk.  Also plenty of Sand and House Martin over the pond and the odd Swallow.  I did see a small wader fly in and land on the far side of the Island opposite the Hide from the Boardwalk but only got a quick glimpse of it on the ground but presumed it to be a Common Sandpiper.

Then headed off to pick up the phone, then the wife, then the shopping, then a mature lady who fell over in the centre of Blyth (why do old people (and I'm 61) always insist they are alright then fight their way up even though they are obviously hurt) then a nice meal in Blyth (Sambucas) where for a change I had the Fish Platter (dont normally go for them as they tend to be loads of stuff deep fried from the freezer) but thoroughly enjoyed Salmon, Cod, Mussels and Squid in a not too overpowering garlic and onion sauce) and not a bit of batter in sight.

Back to the house to empty the car so decided to do a bit of Garden Watching rather than head out again.  There are now 2 Blackbird nests in the hedge although the next door has built a 6ft fence around his property which gives the cats of the neighbourhood a place to practice their balancing act (including both of mine) and sit only a couple of feet from the nest looking down into them.  The Blue Tits are still both taking material to the hole in the wall of the house opposite and the Coal Tits are somewhere in the next garden but feeding regularly on Carole's Coconut Shell.

The house opposite attracts the 3 Herring Gulls where the resident puts his scraps out at the same time every day so they turn up quite regularly and start calling when the food is not put out on time.  The pair of Lesser Black Backs haven't been around for a couple of weeks, probably off doing better things.

The Collared Doves have increased from 4 to at least 6 although they tend to only come in 1 or 2 at a time now instead of altogether.  When Carole goes into the garden they and the Stock Doves tend to hang around but the Pigeons are off like bullets.

Have seen at least 4 Great Tits at one time although I suspect there are more as there is just a constant stream of them.

I still cant estimate the House Sparrow numbers at the moment as their constant movement makes an accurate count impossible but c40-50 minimum

Plenty of Starlings around although the number will no doubt  vastly increase in the not too distant future as they bring their offspring into the garden and leave them in a sort of creche being watched over by 3 or 4 what I presume to be females.

Recent additions to the Garden List include Mistle Thrush, Grey Heron, Greylag and Mallards (all overflies)

The other regular visitors, Robins, Dunnocks, Goldfinches, Wrens, Common Gulls, Jackdaws were all seen although didn't manage to get snaps of them
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