Friday, 31 January 2014

Big Water Visit (but not much else)

Having spent only just over 2hrs birding all weekend due to a combination of things, weather, John a bit bad, a couple of meals out, shopping and a general feeling of YUK the only thing I have to report is seeing the Glossy Ibis on Saturday as we went for a drive before going into Blyth for a meal and on Sunday I had a couple of hours in the hides at rain sodden Big Waters being joined by Keith for the last hour before we both headed back home to do some non birding chores.
I did take a couple of pictures but was so unimpressed and downhearted about the weekend I only just bothered to look at them last night.

Lets hope the water is a bit lower this weekend coming.

The Otters still causing continual movement around the pond 

Two of the 11 Juvenile Swans still resident on the pond only taking the odd practice 
flight as far as I can see 

I started this small blog 3 days ago and have just got up the enthusiasm to to finish it, lets hope that the small flock of about 10 Goldfinches that seem to have taken up temporary residence in the tree outside my office will waken me up out of my doldrums.  I might even get to see some of the birds in the garden this weekend as leaving at about 6.30 and not getting home till after 6 means I HAVEN'T seen any of my beloved House Sparrows.   Roll on Feb 2016, retirement month, its not that I don't like my job, I actually love it (the boss might read this, bless her cotton socks)  but work is definitely the curse of the birding class.  

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Wet Saturday But A Great Patch Tick

A trip up to Big Waters with John A on Saturday morning, first of all stopping at Killingworth, first for a Latte then to enjoy it watching the pond which was absolutely full of life all at the car park end then when a lady turned up with a bag of feed we realised why.  It was great watching them get fed, a few Goldeneye, loads of Tufted, Swans galore, innumerable Coots, a mental Goose and a couple of dozen Canadas, unfortunately no Goosanders.  After an interesting chat with the lady who was dispensing the food on some of the Swans we headed up to Big Waters and straight into the First Hide as it was now drizzling quite heavily.  We were joined after a while by Keith, then Alan J, then finally Ian arrived.  Alan left and headed to the main hide as it was a bit crowded.  15mins after he left Keith shouted BITTERN and I managed to see it over the last part of the lake as it settled down into the reeds.  A great tick as I hadn't seen one on the patch since since my first sighting since 2012.  We then all left to join Alan J, who unfortunately, hadn't seen it (hope he has by now).  John and I stayed for a while then headed up to Prestwick Carr, after a comfort break at Hazelrigg Chippy, for a short wander then the rain got a bit heavier so we headed home.  Here are a couple of pictures from the day although my camera didn't come out of the bag much and I think John's didn 't come out at all

Not a very good impersonation of a BHG
 Another Redpoll in the Feeding Station
 Then trying the other way up
2 of the 5 Deer we saw during our visit

Then up to Prestwick Carr where apart from a Snipe, Chaffinch, Great Tit and Wren and the following nothing much was seen at all

Saturday, 18 January 2014

20 Minutes To Spare

Picking up John A in 20 mins to go for a wander round Big Waters and Prestwick Carr but just time to post a couple of the inevitable bad pictures from Big Waters and Howdon Wetlands last Sunday

Big Waters
2 Otters scaring the Bejasus out of the birds then feeding on fish 

 Who's Watching Who
 Note the BHGull with the coloured ring
 Wonder if their bums hurt after a landing on Ice ?
 Howdon Wetlands
Flock of Curlews coming into roost at Dusk

Nice flock of Long-tailed Tits knocking around 
 With a mouthful of seed these pretty looking birds always look intimidating

All done in 20mins - now to pick up the Sedgydunemin Warbler

Sunday, 12 January 2014

First Trip of the Year With John

At last a Saturday when John A and my social calendars didn't clash and we were able to get away birding.  We opted to head for the "Dark Side" as there had been Glossy Ibis and Waxwing reported so off we went.  Here are a few pictures from the day:

We then headed off to find a couple of Waxwings to photograph but they wouldn't play ball and fly to where the sun was but still managed to get a couple of shots plus the various birds that were feeding with them

I shouted at the these birds for ages telling them to arrange themselves into an arc but they didn't do what they were told, typical

We then headed for a quick lunch at the Fish Quay in North Shelds, no white wingers around but just sitting devouring Fishcakes and Chips was a pleasure in itself.  We then went to St Marys but failed to find the Siberian Chiffchaff (wasn't really bothered as I had seen it last week LOL).  Had a walk round in the hour that I could afford for the parking charges, took a while to get the ticket though as only one was working and the other was spitting out most of the money you put in - Cmon council you make enough from the parking and from people who get a ticket to keep the machines operational.  The tide had just turned so the birds were quite close and I took the following pictures:

We then headed home but first stopping at an address in Tynemouth to check out the Lesser Whitethroat and here is my bad picture of it

Not a bad day out as usual when I'm with John

Friday, 10 January 2014

Last Weekend

Back to work on Monday after more than 3 weeks off, thank god I had sorted out my emails during the holidays and didn't have to wade through nearly 600 like some of my other colleagues although how can you get nearly 600 over the Christmas period beats me.  Was out for a couple of short visits to St Marys and Big Waters last weekend so here are a couple of picture from then.  Couple of nice shots taken just after Sunrise on Sunday.

Big Waters with a fair bit of ice

A few of the Juveniles trying out their skating/flying skills

Buzzard going for a wander on the North Scrape

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Too Lazy to Write

Too lazy to write so just a couple of comments:

Amazing what a little bit of feed can do

Please Alan, can I have some more ?

Thanks, now I can hide some for later

Thought you said there would be some ducks up
this end of the pond we could chase?

You can nearly always guarantee a Goldcrest here

Just as AJ got halfway through the Teal count the Shooters
opened up and nearly a thousand wildfowl took to the sky

And if the shooters don't frighten them off the 
Carrion certainly do

Bullfinches are just great to watch

Two of the 200+ Greylags that are in and out most days

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Years Day Patch Count

Out for the New Years day Patch count all meeting up at 9.30 with Graeme bringing his own personal Char Wallah (brother Tony)with him.  It was definitely my longest ever walk round as at 11.30 when we are normally  approaching the hide we still had not got half way round although the rain which started about midday did make our pace increase somewhat as it was coming down quite heavy by the time we reached the first hide.  We could have got round a bit faster if the Char Wallah didn't keep stopping to look after his brother and supply with him with hot tea and nearly a 3 course meal on occasions.
Anyway, the bird count for myself personally was 65 although I did miss out on Greenfinch and Song Thrush which a couple of others did as well.  The best birds of the day were the Scaup 
which has been around for a few days now although it stays quite distant most of the time
A Peregrine Falcon sent everything scattering as it came quite fast across the lake and only managed a couple of shots just pointing the camera without looking through the viewfinder (I have heard some people say this is how I do it most of the time anyway) but taking into consideration the pouring down rain and the distance at least I was the only one to get an image.
 3 Grey Partridge were seen in one of their usual places although it is my first sighting on the patch since I saw a few in May last year
At least 2 Redpoll, possibly 3 were in the feeding station with suspicions of a Mealy being bantered around but the views were not brilliant due to the incessant rain and they stayed hidden behind the feeders.  Hopefully Graeme or Alan will look at some of the pics and make a decision.  The following is the best I could do from about 12-15m but a bonus bird which is now practically resident there managed to muscle into the shot

 We also had 3 GSWoodpeckers in the Feeding Station at the same time but only managed to capture 2 of them together.
Other birds seen but no pictures obtained were 7 Golden Plover, Snipe, Water Rail, Siskin, Meadow Pipit and GBBGull

Over the break on one of my early morning visits I came across this 
 He was carrying camera with large lens and tripod and as some of you have probably noticed he is just tramping through the Nature Reserve.  I did shout at him and he admitted he knew he was in an Out of Bounds area but wanted to take photographs and apologised.  I personally watched him climb over 4 fences so how the F**k does an apology compensate for blatantly disobeying signs which tell you it is a Nature Reserve and disturbing over 500 wildfowl which sped off as he came within a few metres of the pond itself (since when have you seen the Big Waters with no Wildfowl on the pond, apart from when the 2 Dickheads in the rubber boat decided to go for a paddle a year ago) .  

Finally Happy New Year to all (apart from the Pillock above)