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)