Friday, 29 May 2009


Howick Hall was our pitstop today and after a lovely walk around the gardens we decided to pop to Howick Scar to see if we could see any nesting birds. Through my binoculars which as everyone knows are a bit dodgy I scanned the many nesting birds for any new 'ticks'. Mike spotted a Fulmar and we headed down the not too safe path to get a better look and hopefully a picture. I was happily snapping away when Mike pointed out that the birds I was photographing were not Fulmars ......oops another bloomer. I think the birds above are 'Common Gulls' if I'm wrong then please let me know. Any way I was determined to get a shot of the Fulmars which Mike was pointing out all over the cliff but which eluded my binoculars and camera. I perservered and continued to scan the cliffs and Yipee a Fulmar at last. Patience definitely paid dividends this week and once I knew what I was looking for there was a few pairs dotted about.

I plan to spend an afternoon there very soon with new binoculars and scope ( at last) and bigger lens for the camera.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Windy, Wet and What is that?

Mike and I dropped the lesser spotted teenager off at Ellington last night and headed straight for Cresswell as the cloud formations were fab for photo's (according to Mike) Plenty of Swallows (i think) and Sandmartins darting about the dunes and to my delight a male and female Reed Bunting perched on a fence post, I have only ever seen 1 before but they have become a favourite. (probably because I can identify them, well the males anyway) Just as Mike started taking photo's the heavens opened and I darted behind a sand dune to dodge the rain, I sat there thinking 'what on earth am I doing here' when a Swift flew right infront of me, what delight. 'We must be mad' I shouted to Mike as the rain pounded down on my hood and I dared a peek around the dune to see a strange bird on the fence, just perched there probably thinking the same as me. My notes on identification was a bit blurry with the rain but it said, chunky, striped, bit of black on chest and lightish brown. We ran for the car as Mikes lense was misting up and I was drenched and also to check my bird guide. I had no idea what this little bird was and looked at every bloody page in the book thinking well thats not it....thats not it ....thats not it bearing in mind I can't tell the difference between Buntings, finches and Tits and there on the very last page it was.... a Corn Bunting, and a tick. Only out for 20 minutes, got soaking wet but well worth it.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

'They're Back'

Driving into my street today and I spotted 2 pairs of House Martins, these wonderful birds are BACK. I sat most of last summer watching them and their young from my living room whilst eating breakfast, looks like I will be doing the same again.
I must try and not shout and point across the windscreen when I spot a bird, especially when Mike is driving because he said 'Bloody hell woman, you nearly gave me a heart attack'
Going out for a drive later after we drop lesser spotted teenager at her friends so I will probably have more to report later.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Crazy but True

Unfortunately my sister was in hospital yesterday due to a fall from a horse and I was driving along the spine road to Wansbeck Hospital when a Swift flew right in front of the car, it's sickle shaped wings were instantly identified and I just shouted 'ohh YES thats a Swift' (tick) Crazy I know but it put a smile on my face and I realised then, thats why I like birding, because It was great to see such a wonderful bird and get pleasure from seeing it...fab. Still no House Martins in the street which is a bloody shame, I thought we were in a recesion.. why build more luxury houses and deny these lovely birds their habitat.

Saturday, 9 May 2009


I have been reading in the recent blogs about a bird called a 'Whimbrel' to me... a complete and utter novice they look like Curlew, so can any one tell me the difference and what to look for because they are not in my bird book,( despite the book saying they are on page 86) plus I have identified this bird as a Curlew when really it could be a Whimbrel. Any help always appreciated. I thought this birding lark was getting easier as I seem to be getting better.....'.ohh no you silly woman' I hear you say 'there is a lot more to it than saying ahhh there is a Robin.'

Sunday, 3 May 2009

'Bad hair day'

At Scotch Gill Woods yesterday there was plenty of bird song and fleeting glimpses of many birds but far too quick to identify them all. A Great Tit perched on a branch next to the path and it definately looked like it was having a bad hair day, a bit ruff around the edges, it hung around long enough to snap a photo. It was great to see it close up and it hopped from branch to branch fo quite a while, really nice.
Other sightings included Blue Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Nuthatch. There was plenty of butterfly's throughout the woods and around the Bluebells, Cabbage White (I think, they were white anyway) and Mike spotted some Red Admirals. On the bank next to the car park there was a couple of Magpie and Wood Pigeons and to my delight a Kestrel flew right across the path and it hung around for a while and the flash of orange/brown back as it banked away from me was a delight. I did get a tick as I saw a Black Cap which was great it flew along the path and I noticed the black head and pale body, didn't get a photo but it was a really nice walk and plesant way to spend the morning.
Today after lunch we decided to go for a drive and see where we ended up, taking all the back roads and through several fords we finally ended up at Rothbury. We stopped along the way a few times for a photo stop for Mike and it turned out to be a nice birding afternoon as well. First to be spotted was a Chaffinch which was very quickly followed by a Blue Tit which hung around for a while and while I was glued to my binoculars, a Long Tailed Tit perched on a branch right in front of me, what a stunner. Couldn't get a photo as Mike was trying to get a photo of some hay bales or something but it was a thrill anyway. We spotted over the hill a squabble going on between 3 Rooks? (big black birds) and a what I think was a Buzzard, I did see the brown back and pale underside, Mike thought it may be a Red Kite but with the light and naff binoculars I couldn't get a good look at the tail, they chased each other for a good 5 minutes and it was a stunning show of aerobatics. Fab afternoon.

Friday, 1 May 2009

House Sparrows update

I have been off work all week following a car accident, whiplash and stuff not too pleasant but the perfect opportunity to bird watch from my chair in the living room. The House Sparrows that have decided to nest in my neighbours gutter seem to be doing well and must have chicks as both parents have been seen on a regular basis darting in and out of the gutter, I have had quite a nice time just watching them. I haven't seen the Goldfinch this week but there has been plenty of Dunnocks, Great Tits, Starling and Black Birds in the garden and on the feeders.
With the weather being nice this evening and my arm and neck not so bad we decided to pop to Cresswell to see if we could see any owls....not an owl to be seen and the beach was surprisingly devoid of birds. I did watch some gulls out to sea for a while but they were too far out to identify and I had a short debate with Mike about whether the blobs on the water were Scoter. When Mike was taking photos of the sea and stuff, a couple of Ringed Plover landed just in front of us which was a great thrill and then on the way back to the car a Wheatear was startled and flew right in front of us...a tick fantastic...and I didn't even have to look it up in my book so I must be getting better. Reading the blogs and seeing the photos people take is paying off.