Friday, 30 October 2009

Chaffinch Dilema

Last weekend my hubby and I popped over to Wallington Hall for a quick look at the action from the hide. At first there wasn't much about but as the noise level subsided the birds returned to the feeders. The Coal Tits were the first to appear along with a few Chaffinch. My camera started to play up and I was hoping it would be sorted before they disapeared. I managed to get a few shots of a curious bird which was amongst the Chaffinch and was pleased the photos' came out clear.
The top bird seems to be a Male Chaffinch as everyone knows I'm not to good at getting the I.D
right but I was looking at the wing bar and grey on the neck and am quite sure it is a Chaffinch. But the second bird doesn't seem be the right colour and although there is a wing bar it's more yellow than white, there is no grey to the neck and the wing colour is slightly different. So out came my bird book and I thought at first it was a Brambling, I hear you laugh hahaha . I then realised that Bramblings have dots on the rumps and this doesn't so I was quite stummped for a while. Any help to clear this matter up would be great.... I did think it may be a female Chaffinch but remembered that they are much duller and this is quite a striking little bird. So after many hours looking at my book and comparing photo's my final theory is that it is a young male Chaffinch. My guess could be totally wrong but I had fun trying to figure it out and to watch these birds for a good 1/2 hour was a delight and made for a perfect end to a lovely day.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Alwinton and back again

Yesterday was the Alwinton show and with no kids in tow we made an early start to get some photo's and birding in before heading there for about 12ish. We stopped just shy of Rothbury for Mike to do some faffing about with his camera and I wandered down a lane to see what birds I could see. 3 Robins 2 Geese (flying) and a bunch of Jackdaw was about it. Plenty of bird song which was nice though. We made one more stop on the way just out side of Rothbury where I saw some Phesants in the fileld.

After the show which was good by the way we headed back to Morpeth the long way down small back roads which was a really nice drive. I was jumping about the car when we passed a field with Pheasants and little odd birds, I shouted to stop and turn around which paid dividends in the end. My first guess at the odd birds was Grouse or some game bird and I was pointing at them dotted around the field for Mike to try and get a picture, but these birds were very skittish and were off like a shot, legs going 50 to the dozen. I still didn't know what it was till I got home and zoomed in on the pictures and I can safely say it's a tick for me... a Red Legged Partridge.. A delightful little bird. Still on a high we continued our drive and just outside of Elsdon we saw a Buzzard, unfortunately it was right in the sun so no good photo's unfortunately.

We passed a couple of fields where 3-4 Kestrels were hunting, of course we stopped the car and had a go at getting a photo or two but they were quite high or in the sun so it proved quite difficult, we finally managed to get a decent enough one to post, this bird was successful and flew away with it's lunch.
Near to Hartburn there is a lake and Mike was off faffing about again and I got out my binoculars. Now at this point you must be aware that I have a very real fear of cows..they always seem to want to charge at me..anyway in the field between the lake and the car there was a group of vicious cows so bearing in mind I didn't want to get too close to the fence I started scanning the lake for anything interesting. To my delight I spotted some Whooper Swans and another tick for me, I know they are not rare or anything but for me to be able to tell them apart from the other swans was a bit of a thrill. 3 were quite happy swimming about the reeds and doing what swans do. Also on the lake were Mute Swans Coot and Mallards. As I scanned back down the lake I got the shock of my life when a cows head appeared in the binoculars, I must admit I did scream and of course I have had the micky taken out of me for scaring myself. All in all a wonderful day with 2 ticks and fish and Chips for tea.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Birding at Last

Today saw hubby and I have a couple of hours birding....YIPEE it's been ages so we headed off to see if the Ibis was still around at Druridge. It was a bit colder today so armed with scarf, gloves and hat just incase we started off by visiting Cresswell pond. We saw a lovely group of about 40 Lapwing resting in the shallows next to the hide and a Little Grebe was swimming infront of us which was nice. My first Teal of the season was lovely to see with the juvenile males starting to get their green streaks on their heads, Teals are one of my favourite ducks and I really wanted to see one today so Yipee.

Curlew's and Cormorants were on the far bank along with some Mallards. A lone Heron was spotted and a Canada Goose was seen swimming along the far bank. A large flock of Geese popped down in the field but was too far way to identify someone said they were Pink Footed Geese as they were in the area.
We headed down to Druridge and was really lucky to see the Ibis, at first in the distance then it flew right infront of the hide and showed really well. Luckily we had the camera and got a cracking shot. The hide was full of scopes and cameras and we had an unobstructed view of this magnificent bird which was a real treat and such a thrill.
There was a few Cormorants dotted here and there fishing and I spotted some Gadwall in the distance. I saw a couple of female Tufted ducks and a family of Mute swans with a cygnet. To my delight a couple of Greenshanks paid us a visit and pecked right in front of the hide. The hide today was buzzing with excitement and when a bird I hadn't seen before landed right infront of me I was ecstatic. After asking a fellow birder what it was I am pleased to announce it was a Grey Plover. I didn't even have a clue as to what it was and was delighted I had my camera and bird book to get a good look at it. What a fabulous afternoon with 2 ticks (Glossy Ibis and Grey Plover) what more could I have asked for on my birthday although my new scarf was desperately needed I am pleased to announce the winter hat and gloves can be saved for a much colder day, maybe winter is a few weeks away yet....