Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Scaups and Pretend Scaups,

A few pictures from last week in which I got out a couple of times at the weekend, Saturday with John A and the Long Walk around Big Waters with the normal bunch minus Alan F but included  Tony B as a guest Coffee Maker, minus the coffe and a couple of mornings at the Tyne Bridge and Howdon Wetlands.

Thought I had discovered a Scaup at Howdon Wetlands for a short while, thought it didn't look right but that Blaze was huge so after consulting with a couple of better birders than me (actually I just stopped a couple of people at random in Northumberland Street in Newcastle showed them the picture and they pointed out that apart from the Blaze everything said Tufted)

This is a Scaup at Big Waters taken later on in the day

One of many stunning Dippers on the Derwent

 He walked past without even noticing such a stunning bird within 10ft

Long-tailed Tit more intent on food allowing me to get quite close

A couple of different looking shots of a Nuthatch than normal

The small tree growing out of the large one is an Elder.  My expert who I keep on retainer for information on botany thinks that the larger tree is an Ash but he is not 100% sure on that.   Well, if one can only pay peanuts you cant expect 100% accurate info.

This little stunner was going at it like the clappers at Howdon Wetlands

A military bird over Big Waters

Nearly at the end now.  One of my favourite birds returned to the Tyne in good numbers just under a couple of weeks ago so here are a couple of photos from amongst the couple of 
hundred I took just for the hell of it looking for something different.  There is a 
specific shot I want but it is just so hard to get but I will persevere.

Finally, the best moment of the week was seeing our latest
 Great Grandson Evan who was born last Friday.  We also
had another arrival of our latest Great Grandaughter, Hayley 
down in the deep deep south (Portsmouth).

Monday, 24 March 2014

European Roller At Big Waters

After checking the markings through the bins I can confirm it is a European Roller (tractorus pullundflattenus) probably of German Descent

A lifetime patch tick for Big Waters for me although Alan J did say he had seen one before a few years ago

Friday, 21 March 2014

Swimming Snipe

The link below is a series of shots put into a video format of a Common Snipe which seemed to swim across a pond which I am sure is to deep to paddle or wade across.  Its the first time I have ever seen one Swim.

and a couple of shots of them

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Great Day (and the meanderings of a confused old man)

Saturday John and I just stayed local, thats if you can call venturing across the mighty Tyne for a wander round the Derwent, Far Pastures, Shibdon, Rowlands Gill and all places up the big hill.  We headed to Far Pastures hoping to beat the crowd who would be Kingfisher watching but as we went in about 7.15 there were 2 coming out.  It actually took us 30mins to get into the hide as we put a bit of food out on the stone and sat back sipping our Macedee Lattes watching the many and varied birds dropping in for a few secs then departing with mainly Sunflower Seeds.  I set my video up at the Bird Stone and let it run for more than 15mins then edited it down to a massive 7mins of constant action as the birds flew in and out feeding furiously.

If you have 7mins to spare it is extremely relaxing to sit back and watch the constant ins and outs of our feathered friends, especially full screen in full HD, (its better than watching those bloody soaps that Carole watches anyway).  Full credits for the additions to the natural Sound Track have been made at the end.

Once inside the hide 2 Kingfishers appeared but nearly always distant but you could watch them contemplating life on various perches throughout the pond area then a quick swoop and off with a catch.  This video shows them on various perches, always singly, then departing.

We also saw up to 3 Goldcrests, 4 Red Kites, Buzzard, Siskin and at least 3 calling Chiff Chaffs.

When we eventually left there it was time for dinner and I lucked into a great deal at Maguires as they were celebrating their 25th anniversary and had reduced their Fish and Chips to £1.99 for the first 100 customers.  It is not my favourite Fish and Chip shop as their portions do tend to be a bit on the small side but they are quite well prepared and for that price you can't go wrong.  I offered to buy a portion for John but he stuck with his boring (but healthy) wrap and pieces of green rabbity looking food in order to keep his buttons and zips under less pressure figure trim and fit! whereas I use other methods to keep me looking this good!!

We sat and partook in our Vittles at the Red Kite Bus Stop in Sherborne Estate and were treated to a magnificent display of flying by up to 4 Red Kites in a howling wind.  One of them carried something around for quite a while (see picture) and another one seemed to have a plastic bag caught around itself but managed to get it off eventually

We eventually went down for our final stop at Shibdon where George joined us for 45mins and with me in the middle John and him started to reminisce about "Red Kites I Have Known in Wales" and where to find them whilst I spent my time trying to get the Redshanks and a single Ruff into a line to show the differences.  Using my Sergeant Major attributes I managed to get them all into line apart from the miscreant, 2nd from the right, although the dressing could have been a bit  better.  If you don't know what I am talking about you must be a relatively young birder as looking at the average birder nowadays most of them probably did "National Service (Early versions of YTS, Apprenticeships, Youth Contract, Work Choice etc", although the only trades you came out with would not be suitable in civilian life unless you were going to become a professional mercenary.  If you are an "Ol Fart" like myself then you should read what the younger generation is getting up to nowadays at Next Generation Birders 

"Hoy U 2nd from the right, get in line U little F****** Scrote"

Well that was the end to what we thought was going to be a humdrum day which turned out in its own little way to be a right cracker .  Remember "Its not what you know but who you know (and who you are with)" that can make your life good.  Also I know Alan J who will tell me what I don't know without me even asking and then it goes into my head and out again as at my age my brain is too full to cope with new facts so it gives Alan a chance to tell me again next time we meet to try and get it to sink in.

God, don't I spew forth rubbish in a random way, well till next time 
Orivwa (couldn't be bothered to use the french spell check)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mealys, Voles, Tits, Pintails etc etc etc During the Week

A few pictures from during the week

It took ages to get a pic of this little beauty

Reminds me of a few years ago
Birds turning their backs on me

Couldn't find a Donkey to play the game on
So got the real thing

It was obviously time for pudding so it wasn't bothered about an audience then

Out of Focus, Underexposed, Can't make out Centre Focussing Object (the Pintail)
But for some strange reason I really like this photograph

Listen Guys "There are strange people in the green shed watching us so no hanky panky"

"Do you think I can get a job in the Cirque du Soleil doing acrobatics like this ?"

Two Redpolls having a Mealie

Then I decided to go over the top and edit all the videos I have been 

Vole Having A Feast At Chevington

Pintail At Druridge Pools

Grey Heron Catching Frog At Druridge

Mealy Redpolls Feeding At East Chevington

BH Gulls Displaying and Tits Feeding at Gosforth

Monday, 10 March 2014

Saturdays Wanderings

A wander round Warkworth, Druridge, Cresswell, East Chevington and Amble area on Saturday in the Sun was a pleasant event and a few birds such as Whoopers, Redpoll, Siskin, Goosander, Stonechat, Long-tailed Duck, Black-tailed Godwit and quite a few others made the day more than pleasant and it would have even been outstanding if the cold wind had been a bit lighter.  Just a couple of photos from the day as the bins had more of a workout than Mr Nikon but still managed a couple of decentish shots.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Red Kite - A Patch Lifer

A new patch lifer on Sunday for myself and the first one seen for quite a while for the others, Graeme B, Ian D and Keith B, on our Sunday walk round.  We were about an hour and a half into the walk when Graeme received a text from Alan Tilmouth (thanks Alan) saying he had just seen a Red Kite heading towards Big Waters.  We immediately turned left took a couple of steps and all raised our Binoculars and within a few seconds we were all on it, quite a distance away, but no doubt about it.  It did come a bit closer but kept a bit South but not to far to get another bad picture of a great bird for us.

There was 2 bit of bad news about the sighting, the first was Alan J had stayed in to sort out a leak in his loft, although we did keep him updated from the minute we saw it and that despite a couple of calls and texts to Peter F saying it was heading towards Prestwick, he was stuck in some sort of traffic problem and didn't get back to see it.

The island inhabitants this weekend

As mentioned previously I was In Lancashire last week working but did manage to pop in to a couple of places for a bit of light relief so here are a couple of short videos

Snipe and Marsh Harrier at Leighton Moss 

Martin Mere in Lancashire at Dusk

and a couple of associated photographs, first from Martin Mere

and secondly from Leighton Moss

Whilst trying to do the above and other things this morning I was as usual hampered by
my beloved Sox and Tigga although Tigga didn't join in till I finished videoing, maybe he doesn't like Rammstein !

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Back Home and Back To Big Waters

Just got back from West Lancs where I have been working for a few days although I did manage an hour or so at Martin Mere and a couple of hours or thereabouts at Leighton Moss.  Will look through the photos early next week but here are a couple from, where else but, Big Waters last weekend.

The usual picture of the island which was showing a bit more than the last couple of weeks

Also managed to do a few videos with my new Lumix DMC FZ72 60x Zoom 
so here is a bit of video overkill

Otters at Big Water

Green-winged Teal at Big Waters

A Pleasant Sunday with loads and loads of Ducks

Next blog will hopefully contain a few more letters and words (probably not in a coherent order) 
as I know you all like to laugh at my valiant attempts to create interest with a dash of humour.
Believe it or not its 7am and I am heading back to bed for an hour as I am a bit tired.  The cats got me up demanding food so I just had some tea and toast and finished this blog off.  Who could turn these 2 elderly (both 20) beauties, Tigga and Sox, down.