Saturday, 22 September 2012

Black Darters at Newbiggin

John A and I arrived at Newbiggin at 07.30 and didn't leave till 14.45.  It was quite a good day with  a wide variety of birds seen.  We did an hours sea watch seeing a few Brents, a couple of Great Skua, 2 Manx Shearwater, 4 Velvet Scoter (thanks to Alan T for pointing some of them out) with a fair amount of Wigeon and Teal passing through.  There was also a fair spattering of Gannets around.  We then headed over to scan the beach and found 3 Med Gulls.  We had intended to go to Seaton Sluice but we had heard of a Yellow-browed Warbler at the Plantation so decided to have a quick look there first.  We had a look round for 30mins but no luck then we bumped into Alan T again who had no luck either.  He left but we decided to hang around for another 10mins which turned into 30 when we caught a couple of glimpses of it although the only thing we saw afterwards was a couple of Chiffchaffs.  By this time the weather was getting a bit better so we headed back to Church Point to do a bit more Sea Watching.  Graeme B was there so we picked up some invaluable tips and managed to catch good views of plenty more Brent Geese, Scoters, Bonxies, Wigeon, Teal, Red-throated Diver, Med Gull along with a Grey Wagtail in the churchyard and the normal assortment of Newbiggin inhabitants.

Brent Geese

One of the several flocks of Wigeon heading North

We then headed back to the Mound as word came to G from S that E had seen some Black Darters.
We did go via that nice Bakers in the High St where a bit of Quiche and a hot Corned Beef Pasty filled the spot till I got home.  On arrival at the pools and wandering around for over an hour we saw probably a Dozen Black Darters and too many Commons to count.  The Blacks were Ovipositing and mating then taking a break which I found to be the best for getting pics although I must admit they are probably the hardest thing I have photographed as the black is quite translucent and it is hard to focus on, even manually also.  Eric B joined us for a while also.

Black Darter
 Black Darter

Black Darter

Eric B photographing a Black Darter and me photographing
a Common Darter on his back

As we were leaving a Whinchat alighted on the top of the bushes not too far from us although directly into the Sun then Graeme shouted and pointed at a skein of Geese flying over, once again they were flying directly into the sun but I got off a very distant shot.

Graeme explained that amongst the geese were 2 smaller ones that were all white.  Eric had also tried to contact Graeme so a quick check with him confirmed that he had also seen them but there was a lack of black on the wing tips so possibly leucistic birds ?  John and I then took a stroll back and walked into a small irruption of Speckled Wood on the track

Finally, on Friday afternoon I popped up to Big Waters for a quick walk round and managed to get a nice shot of a Common Darter on the reserve sign,  There was one at either sign sunbathing but not such a good pic.

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