Saturday, 28 February 2015

13 White-fronted Geese

The 13 White-fronted Geese were still at Big Waters this week, lets hope they are still there on Sunday which will mean a monthly patch tick.  Here are a few more pictures and a short video of them:

I have just bought an SJCam4000 with the intention of using it like a trail camera in the garden and tested it out last week.  Here are a couple of videos which I took in the garden using the Motion Detection Mode.  The battery lasted for 90mins from full charge which was better than expected (I bought a spare battery + charger for less than £6 incl p&p).   

I will next be attempting to use it underwater (I can see you all laughing now as I ease my sylph-like body into a wetsuit, which I used to be able to do a couple few years ago) but it will be just a placed camera for a short time.  It is supposed to be waterproof down to 100ft, have tested it in the sink for a couple of hours and it worked perfectly.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Big Waters - 15 Feb 15

Once again a solitary trip out at the weekend to Big Waters was all I could fit in to a busy schedule.  Got there a bit earlier than the others and immediately picked up a Jay which seemed to be favouring a high pine.  I pointed out the tree to Keith B when he arrived and sure enough it flew back to the next tree after a few minutes.  Just a Jay to the rest of you to us a great patch tick.  Walked round with the rest of the regular crew and was also joined by Tony, Graeme B's brother.   Alan J gave up as we set a cracking pace attempting to get round in record time, he muttered something about having to pick up an important package and taking it somewhere ! (Any excuse to get out of a long walk)  We did spend a bit of time watching the 13 White fronts but they stayed quite distant although seemed settled.  Did get a few pictures but a SD card failure put paid to most of them.  Did manage to get a short video off the card though, so here you are you lucky people. 

Also a few other pictures of the day follow

Song Thrush singing well
 Early shot but still a bit misty
 Plenty of Goldfinches around
 A lot of Swan Racing going on
A distant shot of the White Fronts
 Looking at this lovely lady one might think she could be a few pounds overweight or ?
 Still a bit misty at the end of the visit

Monday, 9 February 2015

Big Waters with Pintail

Up to Big Waters for the Sunday Walk where the pond was well frozen with most of the birds right up next to the main hide.  The only thing real discernible was the remains of a Mute Swan being disposed of by a few of the Black Hand Gang

The Gull with the Black Legs which seemed a bit shorter had me going for a while until it stepped out of the shadows (although from the suns angle it didn't seem to be in the shadows) and turned out to be a BHGull 

I also caught view of a Jay over by the Beach but a Crow soon chased it off.  Last Thursday Alan J spotted 22 Greenland White Fronted Geese flying around Big Waters and one of them had a neck ring.  Alan sent of the number and had a very comprehensive answer back by the next day.

V8F caught Loch Ken, Scotland, winter 2010/11, wintered Loch Ken 2011/12, Kintyre 2012/13, Loch Ken 2013/14.

V8F         09.11.2014              Hårr, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY          LBL/ARJperAF
V8F         11.11.2014              Hårr, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY          MDAperAF
V8F         22.11.2014              Høyland, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY    EWperAF
V8F         29.11.2014              Høyland, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY    MDAperAF
V8F         01.12.2014              Høyland, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY    BTSperPS
V8F         10.12.2014              Høyland, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY    MDAperAF
V8F         14.12.2014              Høyland, Hå Kommune, Rogaland, NORWAY    MDAperAF

I couldn't get up on Friday or Saturday and by the time I spotted them on Sunday ther were down to a group of 14 but were up and down due to Air Sea Rescue and a Wildcat Helicopter.  So here is a longish distance shot of them coming in to land but they were only on the ground for less than 10 Seconds then up and away again.

The Wildcat also got one of skyward looking team a bit excited so I obligingly took a few photos of it from the hide as he needed the neck ring  number on the tail.  He hadn't bothered to bring his Kodak Brownie as he wasn't expecting to see anything new (I only got 5 new year ticks today).   So for those who also have this weird hobby of looking at things in the sky and getting numbers of them here is a picture

Then the news came over the air (from the Auditor) that a Pintail was on the pond and Alan J upped the pace as we were only half way round, I dropped behind to look at something and picked up a Willow Tit but I couldn't tell if it was one of our regulars as couldn't see if it was ringed but suspect not.  I eventually caught up with them as they were looking for Stonechat in our regular spot that they haven't been seen in for over 20years (you just gotta be optimistic).  We eventually got round to the hide (we went so fast I only had time to unwrap and eat 2 Humbugs).  I was supposed to be in charge of counting Smew that day but took up the challenge of counting the Pintail and got it up to a magnificent 2 when a Female was spotted (Great spot Ian) in amongst the Teal.   So here a few pictures from the Hide.

A Weasel was spotted by Alan J and inbetween taking pictures of Wildcats I managed to snap off pictures of it although the settings were a bit off

At last the Video with a sweep of the lake showing all the birds closed up together and the Pintail pair also

PS.  Bumped into one of my friends from work, Ian B, great guy with such a cheery outlook on life and a taste for the outdoors - next time bring the little rotund guy and we can go for a walk ourselves

Friday, 6 February 2015

Big Waters 1 Feb 15

Just a couple of shots from my wander round Big Waters last Sunday

Couple of Redpoll (Lesser ?)

Bit windy up on top so all the Cormorants decided to stay low

Black and White (Howay the Toon)
or should we be cheering Rangers on now also?

Will not see Sea Kings for much longer as they are to be replaced by the new
Sikorskys.   Boulmer is to cease Search and Rescue with the nearest station (I believe) to be Humberside

Finally after returning to England in 1992, we  had lived mostly abroad since 1968, we got our first cat in June 1993, several others also lived with us for many years but our first, Sox, finally passed away on Thursday.  Its only a cat some people think but it actually lived with us in the house longer than any of our children.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


Just a few pictures and a video of 3 Otters that I had the joy of watching this weekend in really terrible windy and murky weather.  

 Au Revoir

This is the only picture where you can see all 3 Otters together but if you look at the video there are a few shots of all 3.

Finally, the video, now the sound on this is quite high and the wind is a bit deafening but I left it "au natural" as on a few occasions you can hear the Otters hissing.  Its not that I was invading their territory as I was just standing on the side of a lake where dozens of people stand and walk every day

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Howdon Wetlands - First Visit This Year

On Saturday I made my first visit to Howdon Wetlands for for a couple of months due to domestic bliss not being rampant in the Hall Household.  The beloved is now a lot better and my household duties whilst still numerous have been reduced a tad.  Although today (Sunday) I had 3hrs of ironing after my visit to Big Waters.  Anyway it was great to get down to Howdon where there are no dogs and no people, just nature, although Colin B did turn up but our conversation was mainly restricted to Wildlife and The Toon.   It was just like pulling on a pair of your favourite slippers which you hadn't worn for a while and slipping into your favourite chair (although the fire could have been a bit hotter and the door closed).  Anyway the place was quite busy but could have down with a bit more water and it would probably be busier.  Plenty of Shelduck, Tufted, Curlew, Grey Heron, Redshank, Teal, Moorhen, Stock Dove and Gulls galore.  The feeding station was full of Great and Blue Tits, couple of Wrens, Chaffinches, Dunnock and Robins.  No foxes seen although the actions of a few of the wildfowl led me to believe they were not too far away.  Anyway here a few pictures from the day and a video of the place just showing the wildlife moving around or mainly resting due to the bloody weather

Kestrel patrolling the outskirts of the patch although can't see it 
catching much in a Car Park

Now all the workmen and their machines have departed the walk to the reserve
gates is much prettier but still as muddy

Gorgeous Blue Tit waiting for me to fill the feeders

 A few of the Grey Herons that were there when I arrived and were there when I lift

Plenty of Gulls

and a few Shelducks

Whilst looking at these my thoughts drifted to The Toon

Curlew didn't arrive till High Tide
 Even some of the Cormorants came in from their Castle (see below) for a bathe

finally the video