Managed a wander round Big Waters last Sunday with Ian D and Alan J. It was pretty cold and the wind certainly chilled ones bones on certain bits of the walk so we decided on the short walk although on bits of it more time was spent looking at the ground as the wind blasted into our faces. We didn't see any Greylags in their favoured fields but substituting for them for our viewing pleasure was about 30-40 Fieldfare with the same number of Starlings feeding on the ground. A couple of Partridge were also spotted, my first for a few weeks. A large flock of mixed finches were spotted in 3 or 4 locations as they moved about the area with quite a few of them feeding along the boardwalk on the way to the hide. The pond was FULL of wildfowl and I vaguely remember Alan saying something about another record Wigeon count of over 400 although I could be wrong (as I have been on many occasions). The large amount of Wigeons and Mallards is added to by a smattering of Gadwall, a fair amount of Teal when they come out of the reeds, the Coot count increasing also, a fluctuating number of Mute Swans (not above 10) amd high single figure Cormorants which seem to dominate the small island (there is just a few inches showing now with the rise in the water) although still no view of Tufted Ducks or Pochard for a while. A couple of Grey Herons are regulars with a Bittern putting in odd appearances (spotted last Tuesday and Friday). A female Goosander was a suprise drop in on Sunday as it landed quitely then within 30 Seconds was out of sight then a couple of minutes later off it went doing a circuit of the pond then heading off in the direction of Killingworth (Once again I though Alan mentioned something about it being the first female for ?????? (think it was a while). A not bad morning out if you can dismiss the nithering wind and the mud/slush.
Whilst waiting for my fellow walker I put out a few bits and pieces which attracted the odd bird or two
The light coming through the trees makes it seem warm - Photos Lie
Hey You, Who Me, Yep, Get Offa My Pond
(Thanks to the Rolling Stones)
A few of the mixed Finch flock flying around
(Lift the camera, dont use viewfinder, point roughly, press button several times)
Another free photographic tip
I think its Big Waters that needs an extra Landing Strip, not London
This is where the 3rd picture should have been as the Cormorant landed gingerly on the end of the island
(but Mr Nikon ran out of buffer puff as I had taken several shots previously)
For a good flight sequence shot see Twelve, Twelve, Twelve but dont believe that 100m rubbish,
I reckon it would have taken Usain Bolt at least 14 Secs to run the distance
Now for the Anorak Wearing WannaFlyBees: Note Alan on the left hand side, the Emirates on the right and the dot in the middle is a C130 Hercules. Have you ever seen such 3 fast moving objects in Big Waters
at the same time
(ps. Alan, I did get them in and I didn't know it)
Is it the Wind or the Bittern that keeps causing all the wildfowl to move to the middle of the Pond ??????
Down for a few Seconds then Offski
Finally the Willow Tit that Peter From PCW reported on is still in captivity although it is being fed and watered appropriately and will be released in due course but in Big Waters when we say 30 Days Food and Water we mean 30 days and you dont get 25 days remission cos your a good boy.
Note: Face partially obscured as we must protect the criminal and the leg chain has been removed (after complaints) although the shackle is left on as a deterrent
Finally using a bastardised sign off from a well known Ex-Blogger (or is he ex) would say
"Blogger from Howdon Out" (see you soon)