Friday, 31 December 2010

Big Waters Roundup and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR

Since my return from holiday I havent really strayed far, the last 3 days spent solely at my favourite Big Waters Patch.  The pond is still frozen although there is several tempting bits of slush dotted around which even managed to lure 25 Mallards to land on the ice, the first ducks since around the 18th December.   Even with the absence of the ponds normal inhabitants there has still been quite a variety of birds seen.   These include a Jack Snipe, Snipe, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Bullfinch, Redwings, Fieldfare and we even heard a couple of geese but didn't manage to see them.   Below is just a smattering of pics that I took in the last couple of days (no Robin ones though even if I did take over a hundred (ish)).

The first is one of the most commonest birds around although in the right light it is an absolute stunner, the Great Tit

 There have been several Yellowhammers around although they dont tend to linger

One of my favourite birds the Fieldfare although they tend to stick to the trees on the edge of the Boardwalks

A very bad pic of a Goldcrest.  Have seen one every day for the last 3 days, amazing considering I spent ages at the beginning and the middle of the year looking for one without success

Several Goldfinch searching for seeds dropped from an Alder onto the Boardwalk

Yesterday we had a record number of Mute Swan on the pond, 5, although the resident pair soon saw the interlopers off.  They waddled the full length of the pond to get rid of one then when the other pair landed they came back the full length to see them off also.

Every so often a small flock of a dozen or so Long Tailed Tits enter the Feeding Station and have a quick snack then after a couple of minutes they are off again

A Goldfinch sits on the wire awaiting his turn on the Niger Feeder

A stunning female Reed Bunting which in my opinion is prettier than the Male

A couple of Siskin on the Niger Feeder, they tend to hog the feeders although they dont feed continously unlike the Goldfinch who after a short while bugger off

A few Greenfinch who always seem to feed together no matter which feeder they go to

Finally the Tree Sparrows, one minute there is not one to be seen then 30-40 fly in and stay for ages.  An absolute magic bird

Could have put a lot more pics in but you must be bored by now so to all the Children and their partners, Grand Kids and any of the Great Grand Kids who can read yet plus to all my friends have a HAPPY NEW YEAR

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas to everyone.  We have just returned to England on Wednesday from a week in Tenerife where we saw a few new birds.  It was really warm with the Temperature never dropping below 22, apart from near the summit of Mount Teide (c 2,500m) which was really awesome with terrific winds and the car temp guage showing 2degrees with snow whipping around (shades of Northumberland).  Even though we returned to bloody awful weather it was great to head up to Big Waters although there was not exactly a lot there with the pond completely frozen and just a few Gulls standing on the ice.

The first bird I really noticed walking along the boardwalk was, of course, my favourite Robin

Inside the hide Alan J and John B had done their duty and filled all the feeders and were trying to keep their extremeties warm.  Didn't stay too long although quite a few Yellowhammers, Chaffinches, Tree Sparrows and a multitude of the normall occupants feeding away quite merrily.  When we walked out the Car Temp was now at -10c.  Went home and picked up Carole and did a quick shop for Christmas Provisions then went to St Marys.  We added a bit more feed to the ever increasing piles and watched at least 3 others also during the hour we were there.   Quite a variety of birds knocking around now and the following pics show most of them although couldn't get a good shot of the Lapland Buntings.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Feeder Stealing B******s

For the 3rd time this year all the Feeders at my little Feeding Station outside the College have been stolen.   It makes about 15 in total so I will stop hanging them up now and instead just hang a few Fatballs from trees, apples on nails and nuts and seed placed in strategic places.  Still getting quite a few visitors though including the ones pictured below, lots of Goldfinches, Chaffinches, House Sparrows although the pigeons seem to just go skimming over and never bother dropping in at al.

Heres a couple of shots of Skylarks from earlier on in the week at St Marys. Big Shout Outs to the guys that seeded the place.

Well just about sorted for the hols on Tuesday although have got a couple of days to nip up to Big Waters and across to the West Coast to Caerlaverock.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Snow Buntings at Blyth

Went to Blyth Harbour on Sunday morning looking for the Snow Buntings and after mingling amongst the 5 photographers there, all of whom were snapping the Sunrise (LOL - at least the 2inches I saw of it behind the clouds) and after a brief chat they all dissappeared.  2 of them said they had seen the birds I was looking for the previous morning and had taken a couple of pics but had deleted them when they got home !!!  Anyway they soon arrived and after a little while so did Tom and Tim.   Didn't recognise Tim at first as he was wearing this sort of hat, obviously for a bet, which looked so "chic".  Now returned to the Blog after the 5min laughing fit has finished.   I got some decentish pics a few of which are below.

I then went to pick up the beloved and we went for meal at Limoncellos (think thats how you spell it) on the front at Whitley Bay.   This was for convenience so we could nip along to St Marys for a wander round but wong make that mistake again.  Anyway on with the pictures and will do the pics from St Marys later as I am sure you are all gagging to see them

What absolutely stunning looking birds

Monday, 6 December 2010

Saturday - Frozen Big Waters

Arrived at Big Waters later than usual on Saturday, thought Keith might have turned the heater on in the hide to warm it up and get a cuppa going.  Should have known that you cant trust anyone from Blyth.  So sucked an extra polo mint and warmed my hands up in time to get a snap of this poor pheasant jumping on top of a feeder cage to get a bit of food and then hanging on for dear life (maybe he forgot he had wings) before making a less than elegant departure from the Feeding Station

Then the obligatory Robin Picture (aaahhhhhhhh)

Immediately after the feeders being filled a couple of Bramblings appeared and kept us entertained for a little while.

The lake if you hadn't guessed was completely frozen over apart from a 1ft by 1ft square in the North East corner which was surrounded by all the ducks and Gulls jumping in and out.  A walk round with Alan was quite productive seeing a lot more than we expected including a lot of Siskin, Snipe, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, 5 Lesser Redpoll, Goldcrest, Redwing, Fieldfare and this gorgeous Yellowhammer.

A look at the Hide from the Public end of the lake shows the beauty and bleakness of the place at the moment.

The nice smooth lake though must have allowed Santa to land and drop a few things off as we spotted one of Santas little helpers struggling through the snow with his present bag on his back