Monday, 29 June 2009

Farne Island 1

Thank you for taking part in 'Name that Bot' from my last entry..the answer is a Puffin, well done big yin for getting it right.

The picture was taken at the Farne Islands last Saturday and after sifting through over 800 shots the one of the behind took my eye. What a fabulous day out and spectacular scenery with some wonderful birds. Below are just a few of my favourite photos.
We saw some fascinating behaviour and a show of acrobatics from the Arctic Terns, these very protective birds were nesting alongside the path and pecked us on the head, just as well we were advised to wear hats. The many Puffins were showing a great deal of skill catching Sandeels and the Kittiwake chicks were a delight.

Other sightings included Razorbill, Shag, Cormorant, Guilliemot, Eider Duck, Black Headed Gulls, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns, Fulmar, Black Backed Gulls, Wagtail (possibly Pied) and to Mikes delight there was some Gannets spotted from the boat.

It was a really good day out and I would highly recommend going, Billy Shields boat trip was very informative pointing out the different birds which was helpful to a novice like me. The wardens on the islands were always on hand to give you information on the birds and I found them friendly and helpful.
I will be posting some more of the photos soon once I have finished looking at them all, the highlight of the day for me was the Puffins. A close second must be the Kittiwakes....I have taken quite a shine to these birds that I once overlooked with their pure white feathers are just stunning.
A memorable day out even for the lesser spotted teenager who hardly whinged all day, no doubt we'll go back very soon.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Quiz - How well do you know birds?

Whilst sifting through my many photographs today from a recent birding trip I came across this odd photo....What on earth did I see to warrant a photo?

I could say Mike took this one.... or the other birds were out of focus but I think I took it and it is of what it is ....a birds backside.

How well do you know your birds? what species is this?

Comments welcome with any guesses you wish to make. I will let you know the answer in my next bog after I have finished sifting through the 800 photo's taken in one day.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Hungry House Sparrow,

Sitting in the garden a few nights ago after a nasty bout of a sickness bug I was visited by a load of hungry House Sparrows. There was a lovely family group and after a few photo's I managed to get a decent shot using my new lens. Blackbirds and Starling soon descended to spoil the party.

Mike and I popped over to Cresswell last night and spotted the Goosander that has been seen a for a few days and a tick for me. Redshanks, Lapwing, Heron, Shelduck, Cormorant and Black Headed gulls were all seen on the pond. To my surprise I counted 14 Curlew on or about the pond which was nice to see. I did have a bit of a dilemna as the light was fading I spotted what looked like Teal, has anyone seen Teal at Cresswell this week?, there was 4 or 5. I did manage to get this cracking shot of the Curlew which I am very pleased with, as you can see the light wasn't very good.

Mike, me and lesser spotted teenager are all kitted up and packed for the Farne Islands full day boat and Island tour tomorrow so I am really excited. One of my missions is to see Puffins so with some luck I will get some nice photo's.
Watch this space......

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Success 'Yipee'

Cresswell and Druridge beckoned us yesterday afternoon and we were greeted by a very loud Lapwing squawking and flying around the small pond outside the farm at Cresswell. We decided to plonk our butts down on the wall and sit and wait for something to come to us and we were not disappointed. Sandmartins and swallows were doing a very nice acrobatic display over the pond and plenty of Pipits showed well and we got a canny shot with my camera. (see photo on right of blog) We were only sitting for a few minutes or so when the Barn owl flew over and perched on a fence post at the far side of the pond. What a magnificent bird and although the shots doesn't do it justice it was fabulous to see. We have looked many a time for and it to be about and it was worth the wait.....On the way to the hide a very friendly birder had spotted some Sedge warblers and Reed Buntings so I got my bird book out so I would know what I was looking for. We were not disappointed, as soon as we got settled in the hide a very noisy male Reed Bunting made it's presence known. On the pond there was plenty of Heron Feeding and a few Oystercatchers and Mute Swans were close to the hide. On the far banks Cormorants and Shellduck were catching the evening sunshine. An Arctic Tern was displaying it's fishing skills very successfully and just before we left the hide a Coot paddled past. On the way back to the car we spotted the Sedge Warbler but we didn't get a photo unfortunately but we did get a lovely shot of a couple of Stonechats which hung around on the fence posts for quite a white. We headed off down to Druridge for some photo's of the sunset and after a mistaken identity of a bucket being a bird we found a deserted beach. I was looking out to sea for some birds when I saw a fin.....yes a fin just off the beach. Me being a dolphin fan ran down the dune screaming like a banshee, binoculars in hand. Mike was yelling at me to get my camera out but I was all fingers and thumbs and left the photographing for him. There was a pod moving up and down the beach and another one further out, I did see one breach out of the water but was unable to get a shot. I have always gone to Scotland to view Bottlenose Dolphins and to see a pod so close in was a real delight. It's shame my daughter wasn't with us as she sponsors a dolphin at the Moray Firth.

A great afternoon with 2 ticks and dolphins.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Bang on a Tree!

Acording to Simon King if you bang on a tree in rapid succession a Woodpecker will reply to your banging..............................

Last night I looked a right 'Tit' in Bothal Woods when I decided to get a screwdriver out of the camera bag and bang on a tree. You may be wondering why I had a screw driver in the camera bag, well apparently Mike uses it to tighten something on his tri-pod....anyway back to being a 'tit'..I thought I would try and be Simon King and attract a Woodpecker by banging on a tree but although I tried several trees nothing other than a startled Black Bird replied.
Never a one to give up easily we wondered down to the river and had another go, several fishermen passed by and must of thought I was a bit odd, but I tried again and again to no avail. Mike did his best to blend into the foliage by wearing green and even managed to get mud on his back side when he fell down a bank to get the camouflage look 'very funny', but to my disgust he suggested my pink / pinkish coat might not of been the best outfit to wear and said it would scare off any bird in the vacinity. 'Cheeky begger'
Never mind I am sure I will see one some day.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Buzzing with Flies

After reading Dusty Bins Blog about Castle Island, Mike and I thought we would check it out last night. As it happens it's only about 5 mins drive from my house and I just didn't realise this lovely place existed. First sighting out of the car was a couple of Greenfinch which were squabbling and chasing each other, as we headed down to the river I discovered the recent rain storm had brought all the flies out. My goodness there was flies everywhere, just as well lesser spotted teenager was at home as she would've been freaked out by the numbers flying about and any chance of seeing birds would've soon disappeared.

At the river we saw Canada Geese, Mute swans and Tufted Ducks. A Heron was fishing near the bank and we spotted a few Coot and a Greylag Goose. On the Island there was many gulls of all shapes and sizes along with quite a few immature Cormorants drying their wings, an adult was fishing down river. I did see some Black Headed Gulls but I'm not a gull expert so the others would've been a guess. Many Shelduck were spotted about the river and on the island which was nice and a Lapwing and Redshank were on the far bank. We headed up river a bit so Mike could do some 'faffing about' with his camera while I sat a on a bench. Loads of bird song could be heard and to my delight a Dunnock perched on a near by bush. I was disapointed not to get a good photo but I was soon cheered up by a strange bird that I hadn't seen before. Mike was back from his photo shoot and I immediately started to sound like a blabbering idiot whilst pointing at a nearby tree. He got the message and headed off to take a photo. I searched my bird guide and have come up with a Lesser Whitethroat? A definite tick for me and a treat to get such a good photo. you can see the many flies that were buzzing about. As we headed back to the car the Swallows and Martin showed really well doing their aerial acrobatics no doubt feasting on the many flies about.
A good couple of hours and amazing to think it's just a few minutes away from my house.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Hare Day

Early evening on Saturday Mike and I popped down to Cresswell and Druridge for a wander, armed with binoculars and cameras we headed down to the budge screen. First spot of the day was a Hare and a first ever for me so a real treat. A couple of Pheasants were showing well and upsetting a Lapwing which made her presence known by dive bombing one of them. Not much of the pond left with the dry weather but a Heron was happy fishing along with a couple of Coot. On the far bank a family of Greylag Geece with Goslings were showing quite well. Plenty of Martins and Swallows dashing about feeding on the many midges above the pond.

Next we headed down to the Hide at Druridge, again not much left of the pond on the left of the path but a couple of Lapwing chicks were visable on the far side long side an adult. Out in the open an adult lapwing was sitting tight on a nest and looked quite happy to watch the world go by. Other sightings included a a Pied Wagtail and a Ringed Plover. On the other pond I was hoping to spot one of the otters but no such luck today, again not much to report apart from a cracking shot of a Mute Swan. There was a female Mallard and 3 chicks right in front of the hide but the light was fading and the photo wasn't that good. While it was still light we headed down to the beach to get a few wave and dune shots for Mikes Flickr site but unfortunately the new camera has a fault and will need to be returned but never mind I got a shot of what I think is a Meadow Pipit perched on a fence post, let me know if I'm wrong about this one as I don't take offence as I am quite often wrong. The light wasn't the best for good photo's but we saw a cracking sunset and after a really nice stroll we headed back to pick up my lesser spotted teenager from her friends.
All in all a lovely stroll

Friday, 5 June 2009

Humble Blackbird

I was testing out my new lens this evening when this lovely Blackbird stopped by for a quick snack from the lawn. He drops in quite a lot and has often nested in my neighbours garden. Lets hope he has been sucessful this year rearing lots of chicks. He has a few paler feathers near his wing which makes him stand out.

Humble.....I don't think so, a cracking bird.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

A couple of photo's

Thought I would post a couple more of Mike's photo's from his recent trip to Howick Scar and surrounding area. This is a cracking shot of a Male Stonechat, apparently they were bobbing about all over the place and it was hard to choose the best one as they were all good. I now know this is a female Stonechat which blends into the foliage really well.
Thanks Stuart for the identification of this one. At the beach the Turnstones were very obliging and posed for loads of photo's and their summer plumge is outstanding. I remember photographing some at Newbiggin during the winter and wow what a transformation they are stunning in summer with the chestnut upperparts.
My new binoculars will be getting a good airing this weekend as we are dropping lesser spotted teenager off at Ellington and we will be heading to the coast for some spotting, hopefully the bigger lens for our camera will arrive tomorrow so identification should become easier. Anyway if I get it wrong you lot will just put me right thank goodness for friendly like minded people.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Birds Galore and I'm at work!

My hubby has had a few days off this week and has scoured the countryside for some photo's and he has come up with some cracking bird shots. Anyone who reads my blogs will know a few weeks ago I got soaking wet at Druridge Bay and I was so proud as I had spotted a bird that I thought was a Corn Bunting.....but after reading some comments I realised that it was unlikely, well....Mike managed to photograph a bird yesterday which was the same as the one I saw and this is it!

As soon as I saw it I shouted ..'Thats what I saw at the beach'. I have had a look through my bird guide and have come up with maybe a Meadow Pipit. The beak isn't the same as a Corn Bunting, in my defence it was raining hehe. The birds were everywhere, at the beach and in the fields. Any suggestions welcome.

Next shot was of a lovely family of Eider Ducks at Howick Scar. The females were doing a cracking job but no males about.

I have another dilemna, we have a photo the bird on the left that I think might be a female Redstart...I have come to this conclusion by the red chest, not as distinct as the male, pale eye ring and warm brown colour of feathers. I welcome any comments and suggestions if you know what this bird is then let me know. Apparently they were everywhere. There was birds everywhere which is typical because I was at work, never mind this weekend armed with my new binoculars (which I do not see double with YIPEE) I will be out and about hopefully with some sightings and snaps of my own.