Monday, 25 August 2014

Marsh Harrier at Big Waters

Out on my lonesome on Saturday so just stuck local with a quick trip to Shibdon where Ruff and Greenshank were the highlights, up to Far Pastures where the highlight was the banter with a quick flythrough also of a Kingfisher.  Suspect some of the dedicated Kingfisher Paps were testing the place out with the upcoming closure of the hide at Gosforth and as they were bored watching nothing I treated them to a dissertation on my favourite subject, myself, so if you want Part II, be there next week at the same time.  Then moved onto Big Waters where a couple of hours in the company of Ian D and an extremely tame Snipe was very pleasant.  Also had an Emperor Dragonfly outside the hide and on the pond were 25 Coot.  On Sunday I headed to Howdon Wetlands as I had missed last week due to other commitments and it was very quiet.  The Coot family seemed to be down to 1 young with the adults still paying very close attention to it as there was still a few large Gulls around.  No sign of the Swans or the Tufted but a couple of Teal and a few Mallard with quite a few Moorhen on the larger of the ponds.  On the trees at the North side I counted at least 17 Grey Herons although there was a bit of movement so there could have been more.  On my way out I did bump into 2 Foxes which departed quickly down the cinder track startling most of the birds as they tore along the berm.  I then headed up to Big Waters again for the regular Sunday Saunter Walk and there was a record turnout of 5 with only the Auditor missing, (good job though as we saw 6 Buzzards at 9.30 and another 5 at 10.45 which is a total of 11 to my reckoning but the Auditor will no doubt insist that it is only 6 because.....blah blah blah).  We also managed 4 youngish Sedge Warblers, Migrant Hawker, Meadow Pipit and as we neared the end of the walk I was lagging behind (for a change) photographing Dragonflies when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large bird so shouted Buzzard to the others who were 15m ahead they turned around and within a couple of seconds the shout Marsh Harrier was heard from Alan J, thought I had better start looking through the bins now.  We had some views of it as it flew around for a while but just a couple of distant (6 actually Alan) photographs were taken as I was more interested in watching it.  In the hide the tame Snipe was again having its dinner outside along with the ducks and the Coot who had also been pushed onto the scrape by the appearance of the Otter.  Well done to Alan J and the Auditor Graeme B for giving the North scrape a well needed haircut and muddifying it fantastically, now we just need the Waders to notice it.  As Alan F was leaving he spotted a Nuthatch (Big Waters Mega) and a Treecreeper outside the hide, out we all went, got the Nuthatch and glimpses of a bird that was acting like a Treecreeper but hard to tell in the darkness of the woods so no definite ID but plenty of Long-tailedTits were moving through.  

Great time over the past couple of days so here are some of the pictorial results:

Distant Ruff at Shibdon
Young Willow Warbler having a stretch at Big Waters
 Snipe partaking in a 2hr Lunch outside hide at Big Waters

A video of the Snipe feeding with
chatter from the guys in the background

 Some of the Grey Herons at Howdon Wetlands
Sedge Warbler at Big Waters 
Some of the 11 6 Buzzards at Big Waters


Got lots of pics of Red Admirals but you can't resist another
shot, bit like the Kingfisher Paparazzi
Southern Hawker 
Migrant Hawker 
Marsh Harrier 
"Run Lads, the Otter is behind us"
Back at home the Starlings are massing in large numbers with up to 150 coming
into the garden at feeding times and along with the 2 big flocks of approx 50-60
House Sparrows are devouring the food, particularly the Suet Balls





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