Saturday, 29 May 2010

An Abridged Week

Hooray, back on line at last.  Came home Thursday and no Internet, suspected modem was Kaput and sure enough when the guy arrived at 1600 today he just put another one in and off it went.  My problem with the uploading of pictures seems to have been fixed also (touch wood).  Anyway heres a couple of pics from my various trips out this week.  First of all from Breamish Valley a couple of hares:
It then ran straight into the stream then seemed to swim across and out out the other side:
Bit on the wet side side (didn't know they liked water)
Other birds of note I/We  (went back on Thursday) saw were Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Sandpiper, 3 Buzzards and an unbelievable amount of Willow Warblers. 
We also heard a Cuckoo several times but never found it, also tried on Thursday (only heard it twice) but still couldn't find it.   There was also plenty of Swallow and Swift action although I still haven't got a decent pic of of a Swift in action.

A trip to Cresswell produced another first for me, a Little Gull.
At Shibdon John and I were given a guided tour of the Butterfly areas by George, what a nice chap (think I have said that before).  As usual there were plenty of  "odd" looking birds there.  This chap just tagged along with a Canada and its 7 young but I havent got a clue:
Whilst at Shibdon came across this flower but none of us knew what it was, any ideas from you keen pansy guys out there (Davy) ?  LOL  BTW no flowers were hurt in the taking of this photo.
Also had an early morning trip to West Hartford (no stint unfortunately) but thanks to Birding Sometimes I got to see my first Garden Warbler of the year, also got some decent pics but unfortunately my left thumb went into overdrive and god knows how but I deleted them.  My favourite shot of the week is entitled
"Cmon Lad Your Not A Member, Out"

Kittiwake to Control Tower "Can someone talk me down, Ive had a Bird Dirt Strike"

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Farne Islands

Last Friday I had my first trip to the Farne Islands. On the way over a couple of Gannets flew over the boat, my fist ones this year (actually most of the birds I saw today were year ticks).

Next to cruise by was this Razorbill, this wasnt just a year tick it was the first time (knowingly) I had seen one.The Seals must have heard I was onboard Glad Tidings III as they were waving to me as I arrived.

The amount of Shags sitting on eggs was amazing as were they were positioned right beside or in a couple of cases on the pathway.

There didnt seem to be as many Puffins as last year although I got some great flight shots but this little colony was just too nice not to blog

Back to the Shags, there were this couple passing an object back and forward to each other and I didnt notice it was a Bic Pen (bit out of focus, long story, wont bore you) but couldn't figure out why !

Spent a great hour on Staple Island and only managed to take 500+ pics which took me hours to go through deciding which ones to keep. On the way back Tom (one of the Wardens), who was returning to Seahouses to see relatives for a day gave me running commentary on the birds passing which included a Fulmar and he warned me in time so I could get this pice of a Sandwich Tern

Even though it was a Friday the place was absolutely packed and the boat was chokker also. It seems if you want less people then catch the 10.00 boat.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Long Nanny

Last Friday was up and away early, arriving at Newton at 06.35. A quick walk along the beach and was at Long Nanny for my first visit by 07.00. It was quite a site. Mainly Artic Terns but I could also see a few Little Terns. Also spotted 3 Roseate Terns which was confirmed by the Wardens saying there was 3 not 2(anyway what I said was those 2 look a bit different (size actually) and when they eventually turned around you could see the beak then) and also they pointed out straight away the longer tail which I didnt know about. Took a couple of photos of the general area so think they are on the pic below (somewhere).

This chap was obviously on the pull flashing his big one about as I doubt if it was for consumption (too big)but just to impress the gals

The shy retiring you female

This chap or chappess sat on top of the Wardens Hut and screeched continously at the goings on

Eventually the Gentleman and Lady had their first romantic encounter (not)

After a few minutes of argy bargy the lady finally accepted the big one (fish that is)

Could have stayed for ages but had to go to the Farnes so after a quick 2.5hrs I set off back along the beach only to come across this Pipit sitting on the fluorescent rope they use for marking the out of bounds areas - I just thought it was a great pic

"The Sentinel"
P.S. Thanks to the 2 Wardens (Lady and Gentleman) who were an absolute font of knowledge

Monday, 24 May 2010

Broken, Fixed, Broken (Bloody Unbelievable)

After taking days to fix my comments box (I didn't fix it actually, just tinkered with it and one morning when I got up it was working again) my import photos is now stuffed..... Every time I press import it starts loading up every pic from my blog. When I get it to stop (eventually) it is just impossible to do anything with. I have changed it to the old format of importing which works for 1 night then next morning the whole bloody blog has changed settings and it dosent work again.

Anyway here are my pics from last Wednesday and Thursday. Shibdon Pond early morning and snaps of Miss Barnacle and Mr Canada possibly returning from an illicit night together. On several occasions now the 2 have been observed out on the reeds.
Later on that morning this young Dipper was observed flopping around from stone to stone and diving (well falling) into the River Derwent but managing to stagger out. Proof of Age to be out on the river at this time of the morning alone could not be supplied (and never will be since Mr Cameron has cancelled the ID Card Project - Hooray) so words in Ma and Pas shell-like should be had.
Back at Casa Hall a bit of argy bargy when one of the resident objects to other birds using its bedroom. It eventually moves the interloper on and...........................
gets the use of his bedroom back.

Watching from a distance is Tigga our lithe, supple, alert 18yr old cat (LOL). Hes that bloody lazy I have on occasion had to lift him to his food and he sits at the cat flap (inside the house) waiting for someone to open it for him.
Next morning at Shibdon again, one for the wife, the first sygnets I have seen this year, which brought the perfunctory "aaaahhhhhh" (whilst watching Halycon Days tonight she was shouting at the presenter to go and rescue the Moorhen whilst it was in trouble and when he didnt I got it in the neck)
Down to the Derwent Weir and several thing around including Grey and Pied Wagtails, Mute Swans, Dippers but the star of the Morning Show was this Grey Heron which flew up and down the Weir several times giving myself and another photographer some great shots.
After work a quick trip to Prestwick Carrs, it was very quiet but the Green Mean Machine was in its normal place so decided it was time to get a pic of it on the Blog as every other Blogger who visits Prestwick seen to have had one

Hope to get the bloody blog working properly soon to catch up (I hear you all out there cry "No")

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Don't You Just Love Them (The Wife Not The Birds)

I got home yesterday and my wife was sitting in the Garden watching the birds, she then proceeded to tell me her tale of woe.  About 10.00 she observed one of our cats going into Stealth Mode in the Garden and heading in the direction of what she called "a cute little chick".  Both of our Cats are now in excess of 17years old and they dont do anything stealthily nor fast, thats why the birds in our Garden aren't particularly bothered about them.  She said she had been chasing Sox (the wanna be a hunter cat) away all day and when she couldn't chase it away she got a tea towel, a bit of bread and a glass of wine (dutch courage for what she was about to do) and walked up to the "little chick" which was still wandering round the garden after an hour, she then put some mashed up bread down beside her feet, the chick came to the bait and she scooped it up in the tea towel and proceeded round the front and into next doors garden, then she put the "little chick" there.  The method in her madness was to stop the cat getting it because there is a dog next door and our cat wont go in the garden, but the cat dosen't know yet that the people moved out a couple of days ago and there is no dog there now.  She then went back to our garden, but when she got there the "little chick" had ran through the hedge and was sitting there in the exact same spot she had picked it up from.

Just then the Mammy and Daddy bird (remember these are the beloveds words) appeared and started to feed said Little Chick.  I asked where these birds were as all I could see in the garden were a few Starlings and she pointed to this:
I had been expecting a little House Sparrow fledgling not a bloody big Starling Chick which despite it being bigger than "Mammy and Daddy" constantly bleated for food.  It did fly of sorts but when it attempted to land on the fence and posts it didn't fare to well and tumbled off a couple of times with Carole flinching every time and using those well known sounds and gestures of Ooohhh and Aaahhh (with pursed lips) and with her shoulders pressed up against her ears.    The parents stood on the ground and eventually the chick had to fly/glide/fall (or a combination of the 3) onto the garden where they kept feeding it. 
When I left for work (0455 for a couple of hours on the Derwent) this morning the wife came to the door to wave me off, normally all I get is a grunt, and goodbye as she pulls the Duvet over her head, she said can you check to see if "my little chick is OK".  Sure enough it was sitting in the corner underneath the bush with parents constantly feeding it, I imparted this information and she gingerley tiptoed out for a quick glance, couldnt see properly cos she had forgot her glasses so I had to take a pic of it being fed and stick the camera under her nose.  She then waved me bye and went back to bed saying "its alright you can go now".  

The moral of the above story is (No Idea but if you can think of one let me know) ?????????????????

p.s.  When I got home tonight Carole once again regaled me of the days doings which I wont bore you with except to say that there was now 3 "Little Chicks" all standing in a line whilst the parents fed them and that they were now walking inbetween Caroles feet whilst waiting for the next next delivery from Meals on Wheels Wings

Dont You Dare Call Me A Voyeur

On Sunday I popped into Far Pastures for 15mins.  There was a couple of regulars in there waiting for the Kingfisher but only a Grey Heron on view who was attempting to stalk a couple of the Mallards Chicks but with mother seeing it off.   The resident pair of Swans were on opposite sides of the ponds when all of a sudden the Swans made a bee-line for each other.  Now I have seen a bit of a display and the odd second of one Swan mounting another but this was the full shooting match.  They displayed very slowly for about 5 minutes:

They then went into overdrive as the Female laid down in the water and the Male mounted her back

Then after the deed was done they went back into "Romantic Mood"

It was the first time I had seen this "process" in full and at the end of it all of us in the Hide  looked at each other and I exhaled for the first time for a little while and went "WOW" 

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Red-Le(tter)gged Day

Sunday up to Bothal Pond for a quick visit where the Warblers seemed to be out in force in the hedges beside the small flash but the only Wood I saw was the bit this beauty was observing the world from.
Then went for a spin round Cresswell and the first thing I spotted were 9 Common Sandpiper by the flash next to the Travellers Camp.  I had never seen that many together before.  Could only get 6 of them in the shot as they split up

At Snab Point there were about 25 Eider pottering about with a large flock of assorted Gulls.  There were also a few Meadow Pipits on the wires along the road.
Not a lot on the pond apart from a Mallard with a few chicks, a Grey Heron on the Causeway and a Linnet.  Went to the beach and as I walked across the dune about a dozen Shelduck took to the air.  Too many people and dogs on the beach with a couple of Oystercatchers trying to keep away from them.  On my wander back I espied a Kestrel so watched it through the bins for about a minute when all of a sudden I was knocked backwards.  There was a Staffy panting in front of me.  A "mature" lady shouted dont worry young man he does that to people, my reply was if he does why dont you keep him on a lead then or bloody train him not to, she said well people always tease him and he likes it, "WAS I TEASING HIM" I shouted.  Oh you Brutal Man she replied there is no reason to take that attitude.  I walked away with her shouting how rude I was.  There was another chap with a dog on a lead and he stopped me as I walked on and said that dog runs all over the place and gives us other Dog Walkers a bad name.  Had to return to Laverock Farm to get some bird feed so after dropping it off at the house and a quick cuppa with the Beloved I went over to Lamesley again for a walk round the Lanes and was glad I did.  My first Red-Legged Partridge, spotted them just wandering around and stood still while they came closer, got some great views through the binoculars but managed to get a couple of  outstanding quality pictures "record shots"
Well that was the end of a shortened day but with a tally of 49 species its not too bad