Wednesday, 30 October 2013

"No, its much bigger, like an Eagle"

I got home and the camera was thrust into my hand, "Please tell me I got some decent shots" she quivered, just like she normally does when dinner is served awaiting for the master of the house's approval. (Yea, Really) Is it another Sparrowhawk I enquired, "No, its much bigger, like an Eagle".  The excitement was building up so I only looked at the last picture which was of my neighbours patio.  She explained that it was flying away so might have missed it with the last shot.  Into the card reader  and a quick bit of cropping and  here are a few of the "Eagle" pictures.  Carole said that it was being attacked by 2 Crows for a few minutes before diving into the garden where it stayed for 3-4 minutes.  Wonder if it is the same one that was lost in Wallsend in May 2012.  Anyway when I explained it was a Harris Hawk Carole was a little bit disappointed but its another one that she has seen in the garden that I haven't so she is quite happy with that.  She is even asking when are the first Waxwings and Bramblings due.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Big Waters and Howdon

Yet another belated blog from last weekend so just a few notes from our regular Sunday walk around Big Waters.  For part of the walk all 6 members of the team were present which is an unusual occurrence nowadays but makes for good banter.   A few things seen including the return of a pair of Great Crested Grebe which had been on the pond for a few days although could only get my eyes on one of them.  A Pintail was also present and a Shoveller, all of which were monthly ticks.  Plenty of LBJs over the farmers fields feeding well but just couldn't get close enough to them to check them out plus it was probably the dullest day on record for quite a while.  That's enough writing so here are a couple of pictures from the day

A lone Cormorant drying itself off after fishing for
some considerable time

Autumn is definitely here

Where's Alan, there isn't much food on here for us hungry Pheasants

As stated above plenty of Little Brown Jobs around

Then the arrival of the Greylags is always an impressive site to watch

Finally from Big Waters this Migrant Hawker was sunning itself when the sun did 
manage to show itself for a few minutes

On Friday night I popped down to Howdon Wetlands where I spent a pleasant 90 mins watching Teal, Redshank, Mallards and in particular about 100 Curlews coming into roost in groups of a dozen or so all of which did a few laps of the wetlands before all landing in the same place.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Saturdays Trip to the Sultry South

John and I headed just over the Tyne for our Saturday jaunt taking in the delights of the Derwent, Far Pastures, Thornley, Shibdon and Lamesley.  It was quite a quiet day but with quite a few birds to see and included bumping into the ringers at Far Pasture who were accompanied by the sartorially and well coffured Nick Adams (a real nice guy amongst birders).  Some of the highlights included 2 Kingfishers, 2 Dippers, more than 60 Snipe (according to accumulative counting, but with the Auditors comments ringing in our mind that you can only count the highest amount you saw, which was 23, as they might be the same ones that moved from your first place of view, Far Pastures then to Shibdon, then they hung around whilst we dined at the Chez Fish and Chippy in Blaydon, before beating us to Lamesley). Water Rails gave us superb views at Far Pastures and amazing ones at Shibdon for over 40mins and 2 huge flocks of Lapwing, one of 500+ at Shibdon and one of 300+ at Lamesley.  We quit a bit earlier than usual as the weather was a bit depressing and John is not quite 100% yet whilst I just border on my usual 75% ably assisted by many drugs courtesy of the NHS.  As usual a few pictures from the day.

Cormorant looking for a feed a couple of miles up the Derwent.  
There was also one on the Grey Herons perch at Far Pastures

A distant view of a couple of the 22 Snipe we saw at Far Pastures

A skulking Water Rail at Far Pastures but it eventually came out to give great views

I have put so many pictures of Water Rails up lately that I looked for something slightly different so hoping this one of the magnificently displaying one at Shibdon might do

Lapwings galore from Shibdon then Lamesley

Arriving back at home I was met by this young Collared Dove which just sat there allowing me to walk right up to it.

Finally a big Congratulations goes out to Gordon for his new gig and selfishly hoping it will keep him busy and let the guys at Big Waters catch up a few.

You thought you had got away with it but I did manage a small video
of the Snipe, Water Rails and the Lapwings so get the popcorn out and
sit back and watch

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Life Is A Bitch

Not enough time in the day to write a lot, work commitments, home commitments and being a bit of a lazy sod preclude this so threw up the few pics below instead.  Got up at 3:20, wrote a reference for someone, finished off a picture book for a friend, waded through the 150 pictures I took at the weekend and wittled them down to 15, paid my car tax online, paid my utilities bill online, looked at some earrings that Carole dropped subtle hints about for Christmas, wrote this small blog, made my breakfast and fed the cats then settled back to watch an episode of Mock the Week, now its time for a shower  and make Carole's breakfast then off to work arriving there at 7 stopping at Macadees for a Latte first.  Could only manage about 30mins of the walk at Big Waters on Sunday as I had other commitments similar to the above, life is a bitch but then hopefully I will be retiring in less than 2 years HOORAY

Godwits in the surf at St Marys

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Golden Day

Out with John A yesterday for a morning trip to St Marys.  No time for a full blog but just time to put a couple of pics up of one of cutest birds you ever see, the brilliant Goldcrest.  Weather was bloody wet, dark and cold but with the help of  ISO in the Thousands at times you can get pictures that look like the bird and take only 5 seconds of post processing, quick crap crop, 1 tad of sharpen, 1 tad of  brighten/darken and photos fit capable of being published.  Saw at least 4 but using the Graeme B  Auditors method of counting could have been as few as 2 but I think that if he gave me one of his suitable grilling casual conversations and I could explain that Mr Sedgydoneemin could see 2 about 30m away from where I was actually photographing 2 then it could possibly pass scrutiny.

A final picture of my first Velvet Scoter of the year which came quite close 
whilst doing a bit of Seawatching

BTW any comments made about others in this blog are done purely in a humorous  piss-taking manner unless of course if you are a dog owner who cant keep his dog under control and doesn't pick up its crap or a rider of the noble breed who thinks they have right of way everywhere.

p.s.  More pics to come, you lucky people

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Last Week

As the nights draw in and its dark when I set off for work my birding time is limited to weekends but I did get out for an hour on Tuesday night after a Big Waters 1st was reported by 2 people, a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Ring Ouzel.  Unfortunately no sight or sound was had, mind you I have been know to miss the odd bird, but Graeme B was also there so if he hadn't heard or seen then it wasn't showing.  I did get out last weekend with Mr Sedgedunemallin Warbler on Saturday and had planned to go to the Mothing Session at East Chevington but a slight problem on the car parking at home caused me a bit of a problem.  We bumped into a few people we hadn't seen for a while, you know who you are (I cant remember if I did) but special greetings to 3 nice guys who I should see more ofter, Terry C, Nigel and Peter F who I hardly get to see although his patch is next to where I bird mainly.  All 3 of them are true gentlemen.  On Sunday I did my usual wander round Big Waters with Alan J, Ian D and Alan F back from an enforced absence due to work and holidays in Malysia (I think), isn't life hard.  Anyway here are a few pics to tittilate the masses that flock to my blog.

During the week I decided to go to work early but when I was passing Macydees the lure of a Latte and a Bacon Roll was too tempting so after purchasing them I went down to the Tyne to have a hearty breakfast.
Some great lighting at that time of the morning but not many birds (Sad Face)

Saturday we arrived at the coast just after dawn as the sun was absolutely blinding but stunning.

At Druridge we saw the Subalpine Warbler from a distance but had some great view thru optics but it just didn't come close enough for my little lens although I was standing next to Derek B when he took his picture which appeared on Bird Guides Review of the Week, mind you he had a bigger one than mine which was much more quicker and louder so was bound to get better results.

Also viewing the Subalpine Warbler was this delightful Silver Y (go on someone tell me I'm wrong) which hung around for a little while

Entertaining us whilst the Warbler was skulking in the bushes was a Kestrel which did a fair bit of hunting whilst birds flocked around it

Sunday and I was at

where once again the main attraction was the Wigeon and the Gadwall which were there in impressive numbers.

who after a bit of exercise and a quick snack resorted to their normal postures

The most active birds on the pond were the young Swans who had a few attempts at flying then gave themselves a round of applause afterwards

Its the 2nd time I have posted a shot down this lane but I can't but help like it and I reckon it will get more impressive as the autumn colours arrive

The Pile of Shite that I first posted about on 15 Oct 12 has at last been reduced to this
It puzzles me as to why they didn't take the last little bit and put it on the field directly behind the trees where they put the rest.  

I also dropped into Howdon Wetland on my weekly trip where things are beginning to liven up with at least 15 Grey Herons although there was a report of 19 in the book, the Redshanks are returning as well as the Teal and Curlews.  Nice displays by the Kestrel and some lovely aerobatics by a flock of Lapwing which kept it up for some 20mins.  The water is now at a great level over the ground in front of the hide and has had some largish amount of birds there, unfortunately I have missed them but will be there again this weekend.

ps.  haven't had time to check spelling, grammar as some of us have to go to work, so any complaints please send to Mr R. Bin