Tuesday, 30 July 2013

"Oh No More Bloody Seagulls" I Hear A Couple of People Say

Sunday morning I headed up to Big Waters slightly later than usual due to the bloody weather.  The "Gang" was already there and for once I was last to arrive.  The swim walk was out of the question so we waited in the main hide for the weather to send us a few waders.  The only 2 new ones that arrived were Common Sandpipers and they flitted between the North Scrape and the Island.  We spent an entertaining couple of hours watching but unfortunately no more waders showed.  As usual the birds that held our attention for a while were the Water Rails with an adult in moult parading and preening in the channel in front of the hide.  

Of course I have included a small video of the above Water Rail "having a good scratch"

Also I managed to catch a picture of the "Peanut Thief" despite all the protection
they managed to whittle down a full feeder within a couple of days

On Monday morning I headed down to the Tyne Bridge to check on one of my favourite birds, the Kittiwake.  Lots of young reeling around the skies with their parents still paying attention to them.

Finally a small compilation video of the Kittiwakes

In defence of the Blog Title I will repeat something someone said,
"You Cant Have Enough Pictures of Kingfishers and Little Owls"

Sunday, 28 July 2013

"Hi, Have You Seen Much Today?"

Whilst others were away Spotting Sandpipers I went for an early morning wander around Newbiggin.  A flock of 22 Scoters, the normal Common and Sandwich Tern, plenty of Gulls, Gannets and Eiders were observed from the Sea Watching Point with lots of Redshanks, and Turnstones on the Breakwaters and quite a few Med Gulls and Terns on the beach on the South part of the bay

I then headed for a quick look around Arcot where a couple of Common Sandpipers and a Green Sandpiper were on some mud at the Western side of the pond.  There were also a flock of about 45+ Swallows just hanging around.

Moving on to Big Waters the first obvious thing was a flock of 19 Greylags flying over the Car Park heading in a Southerly direction.  I know there is only 15 in the picture but the other 4 were a few metres behind
Then I encountered my first Comma on Big Waters itself for the year, it was still only 8.30am but there were loads of Butterflies around mainly of the white variety.
It hung around just enough for this one snap but whilst walking back later on with Alan J we encountered another one in the same area and if you look at the second photo you can see the Commer shaped white mark on the underside of the wing which it allegedly gets its name from

Now, a little story...I was walking along the boardwalk and met someone walking out..."Have you seen anything?" says I, "Now't at all" says he, "No Water Rails around then?" says I, "Well there was 3 of them, some Reed Warblers and some Sedge Warblers, but apart from them absolutely nothing".  We then carried on walking our own ways thinking how awful it must be to come to this place and only see the birds he mentioned!!!!  Well I spent a couple of hours seeing only the aforementioned birds and about 30 or more species, had a chat with a few people, learnt a few things, saw my first Emerald Damselfly and Ruddy Darter of the year.
Unfortunately my Emerald pics didn't come out well (now thats unusual......) 
Then I caught sight of a flock of another red flying species as they streaked over Big Waters

So if you want to see only the things mentioned above, then remember 

I then headed for Banks Pond where on stopping the car 2 Emperors flew over the road away from the pond, I will get a proper pic someday.  On the pond were loads of Damsels, a few 4 Spotted Chasers, Ruddy Darters, and some Common Darters.  

Then another flock of the "Red spad" came overhead again with a couple of them coming extremely close

Another CANNY day seeing Nowt.........

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Tit Bits From the Last Few Days

On Sunday I went out with Graeme B and Dee for a WEBs count at Castle Island and then onto Newbiggin, Cresswell and Druridge.  There were quite a few highlights including Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Goldeneye, Avocet, Yellow Wagtail, Little Gulls, Little Owl and Pintail and of course a few things off Newbiggin.  No doubt I have missed something as I didn't keep notes as I had left my book in the car but I am sure Dee will let me have a quick pic sometime.  We spotted a couple of moths also and got a picture of this one which I have tentatively identified as a Clouded Border although we didn't know that at the time but no doubt there will be a comment saying I have got that wrong somewhere.

I wont show the pictures but I think I also photographed a Snout, Shaded Broad Bar and a Silver Ground Carpet (waiting for someone to say you can't have that one cos its rare).  

These little beauties were on the wires at Cresswell

and these were off Newbiggin along with several other year ticks although when Tim C arrived he told us we had missed a shedload of Dolphins earlier in the morning.

On Bells Ponds we saw several Yellow Wagtails, Linnet, Pintail and a Little Owl that took to the air just a few feet in front of us.  Couple of shots of the Pintail 

Thanks for a great day out guys

On Saturday a very early morning visit to Little Waters produced a surprise, 
my first Comma of the year

Also several Exuviae were around the Public Dipping Pond at Big Waters, I think this is a Southern Hawker but no doubt Mr Sedgeedunemin will be able to confirm.

One of the newly fledged Common Terns having a bit of practice trying to feed

Think I could do with a bit of a wash and brush up

Finally a Reed Warbler in the Feeding Station which was having a poke around the peanut feeder

Well, nearly managed to put a full week in at work but am off tomorrow hopefully for a wander round Big Waters, not been there for 4 days now and am having withdrawal symptoms.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Working Day

Last Friday a working party consisting of Alan J, Graeme B, Craig B and myself headed for the North Scrape on Big Waters intending to clear the mud off the front edge and to cut back the reeds to enable the scrape to be seen from the 1st hide and for those who are to lazy to head up to the hides to get their scopes out and peruse from the watchpoint at the public end.  Little did we know we had picked the hottest day of the year and even after an hour Craig and I were soaked in sweat although Alan and Graeme were standing in water and thus keeping quite cool or at least they said they did.  By midday I was just about finished so went over to the main hide to check on how things were looking from over there.  On my way back I met Craig who was leaving due to other commitments and being a bit knackered I think.  We took a break for lunch and then Alan and Graeme set to work with an unbelievable determination (I thought someone had stuck 4 new Duracell batteries in them) with me doing odd little jobs and clearing up as I only had little Wellies on as opposed to their waders (thats my excuse, personally my whole body was aching and I was just about dead on my feet).  Graeme was a tower of strength as usual and Alan wasn't too far behind him.  So in the future when you are all looking at those waders on the North Scrape think of the amount of work that went into it by the few for the pleasure of the many (sorry Winston for a bit of plagiarism).  Here are a few pictures of the day with the last one being a shot of the first bird we saw on the scrape, an adult Water Rail, if you cant tell.

The Planning with Alan telling us what to do

This sequence shows what Graeme did for most of the Day (Like an Automaton) 
The wight of the tubas and the stench was unbelievable

I didn't realise how daft this hat looks till I saw this, It now enters my 
Northumberland list of Daft Hats along with Tim Sextons "Yak Hat" 
from about 3 years ago and Tom Cadwallender's Lumistrocity which he
wore to the Cattle Egret Twitch

Craig fighting his way through the Reeds

Bit of a "Fisherman's Tale" here, "It was that deep"

No it isn't, when you get off your knees

BTW that isn't blood on his shirt, its paint as he hasn't washed his shirt
He said he was going to throw it out after today
(We will all wait to see what he wears on the next workday, don't tell him we are watching)

Lunchtime (Alan took the pic, I was too tired to take one back)

Back to work in the afternoon and the removal of an extremely stubborn tuba
(Alan will definitely never make it as an actor with his "I'm working hard look")

Nearly Finished

Finished and back in the main hide (note Water Rail in centre on the refurbished scrape)

I would have put an "After" photo here for you but unfortunately you will have to
come and see what it is like for yourself with Alan commenting
(and if you don't know what it is you know where to send it, even I have to help Alan out sometimes with his identification with the odd Green Sandpiper, Reed Warblers etc)
Over and Out