Thursday, 30 December 2010

Tick - 111

A Fieldfare has been spotted visiting my garden in Ashington, Christmas Tick and a real delight. After several days with the camera poised on the kitchen window sill and hours waiting patiently for a positive ID this lovely bird stayed long enough today for me to catch a quick photo. Not very good as it was taken through my window but still a delight and a thrill to have this beautiful bird visit us for a quick snack on the nuts and seeds we put out daily.
Bird List to date 111

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Rare Garden Delight

With the snow really thick in our garden plenty of seed and apples have been put out daily to help our feathered friends.
To my astonishment and a garden tick some Reed Buntings popped in for lunch. I have never seen Reed Buntings in the garden before and they stayed quite a while. The resident Black Birds didn't quite know what to make of these strange visitors and let them have their fill of Christmas goodies.

Other birds hanging around for lunch this week have been Robin, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Sparrow, Starling, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren and of course Black Birds.
The Buntings definately put a smile on my face today. I normally catch sight of them at Cresswell so a real delight to have them come to me for a change.
Merry Christmas

Sunday, 5 December 2010

St Mary's Delight

Hubby and I popped down to St Mary's this afternoon...mad I know in the freezing weather we have had lately, but a cracking hour was spend scanning the fields and pond.
First thing we noticed on arrival were these poor birds sheltering behind tufts of grass I think they are Purple Sandpipers, but I may be wrong. There were everywhere in the field opposite the pond and they did look incredibly cold. Unfortunately they all had their backs to us so getting a clear shot for ID was quite a task. Groups of 3-4 birds were scattered through out the field but after a few minutes hoping they would turn around we headed to the pond.
At the first viewing point opposite the field we were delighted to spot what we first thought was a Siskin, but after downloading the photos this afternoon we discovered what we think is a Yellowhammer, a Tick for me. I came to this
conclussion by the colour of it's legs and the lack of black on it's head. If it is a Yellowhammer then Its a cracking feeling when you compare a couple of birds and Id it correctly. A cracking little bird a delight to watch. It hung around for quite a while feeding on some seeds and nuts someone had left on the fence.
Birds spotted from here were Robin, Lapwing, Wren, Goldfinch and an absolute delight Snipe. A few were spotted at the waters edge and 2 took flight and landed in the field beside some Curlew and some more Lapwing.
We were starting to feel cold at this point and headed to the small exposed beach which was in

the process of being engulfed by waves. Ringed Plover were spotted, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Turnstones and a little higher up on the bank Pipits were popping their heads up here and there. The tide was in and Hubby didn't hang around to get some photos for his Flickr site but an excellent afternoon birding. Cold and ready for a hot cuppa we headed for home.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cambois snow storm

Hubby and I popped down to Cambois beach and Blyth Harbour yesterday to try and get a few pictures for his flickr site and do a bit of birding at the same time. I have just found out that Snow Buntings were at the other side of the harbour...bloody hell I missed them.
Anyway the weather was ok when we started off and saw some Eider Ducks being sensible and staying close to shore, a couple of Cormorants flew over and loads of Gulls were dotted here and there. On the rocks closer to the Harbour Oystercatcher and Redshank were scratching about for food and Sanderlings were spotted running in and around the water line. Pippits were seen on the dunes trying to take shelter from the snow that was starting to fall. To my delight a Turnstone was spotted and also a Heron. On the way back to the car a couple of Curlew had joined the Oystercatcher and Redshanks. The snow storm cleared for a couple of shots for hubby's flickr but as my eye balls were almost frozen I headed back to the car.

Not many garden birds seen today a couple of Starlings, Dunnock and Sparrow. A Magpie popped into say hello and a Blackbird stopped by for some bread. Feeders are starting to get a bit of attention and some squabbling broke out over the fatballs. Hopefully the snow will thaw soon.....not really likely though.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Peregrine and Plovers

Popped to Cresswell for half an hour at the hide to find out I had just missed a Peregrine Falcon, what a shame if I hadn't chopped the veg in preperation for my soup making later today I could of seen it, never mind plenty of other birds to be seen from the hide.
Loads of Gloden Plover were on the sand bank along with Lapwing, Curlew and Redshank. I would of probably guessed they were Golden Plover but a guy pointed them out which isn;t quite the same as discovering them for yourself. Along with the Plover there were very cute Dunlin, now these I did need help on as I thought they were Sanderlings but then again I am often wrong.

Off in the distance I spotted some Golden Eye which were a delight and a couple of Heron were perched at the waters edge. A little Grebe swam out of the reeds and Teal were abundant. Widgeon were dotted about and I spotted 1/2 dozen Snipe near the sand bank which were a delight to watch. A large colony of Whooper Swans dropped in and a first of the season for me which was nice.

All in all a very productive half an hour and with the soup making beckoning I headed home with a smile on my face.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Purple Sandpiper ????

Hubby and I popped down to Cresswell late on Saturday night to catch the sunset and amongst the Redshank on the rocks was this dumpy little bird (pictured below) There was several dotted about and after consulting my bird book I think it is a Purple Sandpiper ? They apparently can be seen on the North East coast during the winter and it's a fabulous ID and tick for me so well worth standing in the cold wind for an hour or so.

Another one of my Favourite shore birds were in abundance but tricky to spot without my binoculars... Ringed Plover, not rare I know but a delight to watch. Its amazing how these little birds can stand the cold temperatures of the North East Coast.

Lots of Gulls were on the rocks along with Oystercatcher, a few Cormorants were off in the distance.
I was really on the look out for Turnstones amongst the seaweed and rocks but none were to be found. Cold and Shivery with a slight headache (must remember my hat) we headed back to the car where a number of Goldfinches were spotted on the bushes. This little critter stopped for a photo and I did originally think it could be something exotic for me like a Redwing or Stonechat but after downloading the images I think its a Sparrow, Nice all the same. Cracking hour out and about but a cup of tea was beckoning.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

It just gets better

Although the weather was poor yesterday Hubby and I headed to Cresswell pond, poor visibility made taking photos a challenge. The birds were off in the distance when we first arrived but Moorhen and Mallard came close. Lapwing were in abundance on the far bank and a lone Shelduck was spotted amongst them. Canada Geese were still around but not in the numbers seen last time. Amongst the Teal and Widgeon a different duck was spotted and another tick for me I am happy to say, between my bird book, hubby and I we ID'd this fantastic Pintail which was true delight, 3 ticks in 2 visits to Cresswell you can't get better than that.

Or can it?
After about 1/2 an hour of having the hide to ourselves we were joined by a couple who looked like serious birders, had all the gear and pointed out a Scaup. There were 4 on the pond but I had them down as being Tufted Ducks, Mike got a picture or two and when I downloaded them I realised they weren't Tufties after all. Another tick but not my own ID. Still cool though.

A Little Grebe emerged out of the rushes in front of the hide along with a couple of Moorhen.

There was plenty of bird song in the trees and rushes in front and at the side of the hide, Birds flitting here and there but not resting long enough for a photo. This little Wren sat long enough which was great. Wrens are one of my favourite birds and I just love to see them foraging about.

A Female Reed Bunting made an appearance, I wasn't sure at first what it was but after consulting my book when I got home I believe it to be a female. I have seen many male Reed Buntings at Cresswell but this is a first for the female.

Heading back to the car we spotted something a bit different on the farm house roof, unsure of what it was we took a snapshot and headed home chilled to the bone. I must remember to put a warmer coat on next time, The damp and drizzle doesn't suit me at all. The little bird I think is a Pied Wagtail, which was a real delight and rounded of a fab morning. The drizzle and mist made for poor photos but you can't have perfect conditions all of the time.

Other birds spotted today were a Heron, Meadow Pipit, Blue Tit, Magpie, Robin and Black Bird. A cracking list I think you will agree.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Smitten by a Bittern

I had 45 minutes free time this afternoon and I raced like the wind down to Cresswell to try and take a snapshot of the little bird I saw at the weekend. No such luck today, but I did spot 1/2 dozen Goldfinches buzzing around the bushes which was nice.

I headed to the hide to and was astounded to see a Bittern just outside the hide. (Tick number 1) The 2 gentlemen who were in the hide were looking through scopes and all sorts of equipment but not towards the Bittern. I said ' is that a Bittern?' and all hell let loose with camera and equipment being re-directed. They hadn't spotted it....... the bird didn't fancy it's photo taken and flew off. I did salvage a couple of in flight shots but was annoyed at myself for saying anything before I got a good photo. I know next time. It was standing head pointing towards the sky and the streaks on its neck were visable as well as the black cap. Fabulous and I have read that they are rare so a nice tick for me.

My favorite ducks were in abundance and a few swam close enough for a snapshot.

To my astonishment tick number 2 came along....Snipe... Just sitting there very peaceful. This is what the 2 gentlemen had been watching. The long bill gave it away and I pretty much new what they were before consulting my book. Wow I must be improving.

It was a great 45 minutes and really cheered me up. Other birds spotted today were Lapwings, Canada Geese and on the way back to the car I am sure I spotted a Wheatear on the wall.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Cresswell Pond

It was nearing sunset when Hubby and I arrived at Cresswell pond to be met by 1/2 dozen Little Grebe swimming just infront of the hide, what a delight. With the light fading we scanned the pond and spotted Tuffted Duck, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen and Malards all within ID range. Amongst the geese I spotted what I think was a Greylag, couldn't see any more of the same kind to give a positive ID. Lapwings were in abundance and very noisy showing anything coming close who was boss, they were mostly on the left hand bank. A Heron flew in and landed near the rushes and whilst I was scanning the area I spotted some lovely Teal, so a real delight as they are my favourite duck.

On the way back to the car along the path, there was a bird I have seen before in the bushes but have not had a possitive ID. I have seen many Reed Buntings at Cresswell and this little bird has a Pale stripe above the eye but I don't think it was a female Reed Bunting. My guess is a Sedge Warbler but the camera was in my bag and after consulting my bird book it says they are only summer visitors to the North East so it remains a mystery. I think it could be some sort of Warbler???????

If any of you experienced birders are at Cresswell please let me know if you see the little bird in the bushes. It has a pale eyebrow and about the size of a sparrow, it's a long shot I know.

We headed to the beach and the tide was out allowing hundrends of Oyster Catchers to scour the rocks. Redshank and a variety of Gulls were all in abundance. I did see what I thought was a few Black Tailed Godwits amongst the Oystercatchers at the waters edge, They definately had a buff colour to the neck and chest. I was very excited at the prospect of a tick but after consulting my trusty bird book I came to the conclusion they were most probably Bar Tailed Godwits and maybe a juveniles, still a nice sighting.

All in all no photo opportunities but a cracking hour out of the house.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Garden Update

Thought I would sit at the window with my bins yesterday and was surprised to see a Coaltit visit the feeders, A bit unusual for our garden. Lots of House Sparrows bobbing about along with the two Wood Pigeons that seem to be in the garden on a daiyly basis. No Starlings today but plenty of Bluetits and a lovely Dunnock popped in to say hello. The House Martins are still in the street but the numbers have started to dwindle these past few weeks. I didn't see any Blackbirds today at the feeders which was a bit unusual as well.

Below are another set of photos I came across from our trips out this summer, Some better than others.
I think this is a redshank? The image in my book doesn't show the stripes on the belly and rump quite so clear as this. I tend to think of any bird with Red legs to be a Redshank so I may be wrong.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Newbiggin at Sun Set

My Hubby and I popped down to Needles Eye at Newbiggin by the Sea last night at about 6.30 for some relaxing birding and photos. The light faded really quick but we did spot some nice Robins squabbling on the fence and some Gulls flying past. Mike got wet as usual taking some cracking photos (see below) and I got myself settled with the binoculars handy. I didn't have to wait long to see some Cormorants fly past and to my absolute delight a Gannet flew really close to the rocks which made my day. I didn't have the camera handy which was a real shame but I think these birds are a real delight, The black wing tips and yellow tinge to the head was clearly visable, a very powerful and stately bird and after such a long time recuperating it was a nice surprise to see one so close.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Low Barns and Craster Snap Shots

After hunting through some photos from a recent trip to Low Barns WWT Durham and the small fishing village of Craster I have salvaged a few snap shots.

Swallows on Craster Rocks

Robin at Low Barns

Cormorants at Low Barns

Woodpecker at Low Barns

Nuthatch at Low Barns

Here are a few chicks finding there wings.....

Eider Duck Chicks finding their sea legs at Craster
Coal Tit at Low Barns

NutHatch at Low Barns

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Many wanderings

Scotland - 30-8-10 - Caerlaverock WWT
Hubby and I drove to Caerlaverock WWT in August and although there wasn't many ducks or waders around because of the dry spell there was plenty of others to see - Chaffinch were everywhere, Blue Tit, Great Tit Long Tailed Tit, Tree Creeper, Greylag Geese, Swallows, House Martins, Moorhen, Canada Geese, Tuffted Ducka and Kestrel were all spotted. In one of the hides we were told about an Osprey resting on a fence post, to me it could of been anything as through my bins it was just a blob but those with scopes had a fab view. Nice to see even if it was just a blob.
We stayed at Newton Stewart the Bruce Hotel (not recommended at all) and the follwoing day headed to Ayre stopping off at Culzien Castle, we headed down to the small private beach and it was delightful, deserted, quiet and the most tranquil beach imaginable. Not much in bird life unfortunately but Cormorants, Gulls and Oystercatchers came to visit and to my delight 2 seals came and sunbathed on the rocks right where we were, fabulous morning and such a shame we had a time schedule as I could of stayed there all day. The sea was like a mill pond and the island of Arran was clearly visable. A place to go back to for sure.

Craster - 11-07-10
Popped to Craster for a day trip to discover it was lifeboat day, it was very busy and there was a nice atmosphere to the place. Tide was out but we did manage to see, Pied Wagtails, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Cormorants, Gulls, Sand and House Martins, Swallows Redshank and to my delight following a fishing boat a little way off shore there was a Gannet which was a delight.

Low Barns WWT - Durham
Summer isn't the best time to try and see birds but we had a cracking drive to Durham and did see plenty of Blue Tit, Mallard, Coot, Cormorant, Moorhen, Heron, Robin, Grey Wagtail, a family of Canada Geese and a wonderful Little Grebe which was nice.

Have had plenty of little trips this summer and although I have had the camera, not much in the way of good photos. Recovering from an operation on my leg but am planning a trip to the lake district at the end of October so hopefully plenty of photos to post.

Please only leave comments if you are interested in birds as I am getting fed up of foreign readers leaving links to unsuitable sites.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Lots of Wanderings

Update on Garden birds - Abundance of Sparrow chicks, Starlings and a few Blackbird. The occassional Wren and Dunnock come to visit and Pigeon and Doves make a regular apperance.

We have had a few trips out and about - Roseberry Topping a few weeks ago was a fab day, I heard my very first Cuckoo which was a delight, lots of Bluetits in the woods and Skylarks were quite bold perching on fences. Jackdaw were nesting on the clifs and were swooping quite close to where we were sitting recovering from the heat and tiring walk. Great day out though.

A short trip to Walkworth and was delighted to see a Redwing, didn;t manage a good photo but a cracking little bird. A Dipper was seen along with Heron, Mallard, Wren Gulls and a Blackcap.

Gibside was another cracking afternoon out with Redkite being spotted quite a few times patrolling it's territory. Along the river we watched a family of Grey wagtails, parents frantically feeding 2 chicks who looked big enough to fend for them selves but were quite happy for mum and dad to do all the work. A couple of young Dippers were seen which was great, one of my favourite birds.

I'll post some photo's once I have them sorted, back to work and a hectic schedule as normal.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Wandering around Northumberland

Yesterday saw hubby and I head off to Langley and surrounding area for a bit of a road trip. Spotted my first Swallows of the season and there was an abundance of Martins feeding low over the fields just after the rain showers. Mike spotted a Sparrow Hawk attacking a smaller bird but was unsuccessful at bagging a meal. After a pit stop and bacon sandwich we headed back via very small country roads and spotted a male Redstart on a fence post. By the time we got the camera out it was out of range but I got a cracking view through my binoculars. It was a tick for me so a very nice day so far. We decided to park up next to the hedgerow and wait to see if it returned, but unfortunately it didn;t but lots of Tits including Long Tailed tits were flitting here and there.

I spotted this cracking little bird gathering nesting material on a near by bush. Out came the camera and bird book and after several minutes of debate I came up with the conclusion it is a Willow Warbler. I also thought it was a Chiffchaff at first but then spotted the brown legs, so my un-educated guess is a Willow Warbler. Of course any suggestions are more than welcome. Either way it's another tick for me so I'm really pleased we headed out in the rain and drizzle.
Another road trip on Monday is on the agenda, it's nice just to head off and see where you end up.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Sandy Bay Sea Watch

Went to Sandy Bay tonght for an hours sea watch. The sun was shining and it turned out to be a pleasent evening despite half of the Sandy Bay caravan parks youth population trying to set fire to every available piece of shrub. The amount of rubbish in the dunes was disgusting but we managed to find a quiet spot and sat down and waited.
To my delight Martins were seen dashing here and there and my guess was they were Sand Martins, they are darn quick and everytime I focused on one through my bins the little blighter flew into the light.
Next Terns started fishing just in front of us. Now I went to the Farne Islands last year and was told by the wardens all about the terns that visit us and my un- educated guess is that the ones I saw were Sandwich Terns. I think they had black beaks and to be honest thats all I can remember. They didn't stay long but they were a delight to watch.
A few Eider ducks swam by and off to the left of where we were sitting I spotted a group of odd birds. The sun wasn't doing me any favours but there semed to be a redish tinge to some of them, others had dark heads and necks with pale chests. They were well away from shore and after consulting my book and ruling out Eider Duck, Scoter, Goosander and Shelduck I finally came across Red Breasted Merganser . I think they may have been Mergansers but they were to far away for photo's.
On the way back to the car either Pipits or Sky Lark was spotted on the ground running up the little path. Didn't get a good look at it but the behavior seems to steer me towards Skylark running away form the nest site. I didn't realise that they can be seen in the dunes till I consulted my book. I'm often wrong though.
So I definately spotted Eider Ducks, and Martins but unsure weather House or Sand. Skylark but it could of been a Pipit and and odd thing that could be a Merganser, and a Tern that really could of been either Sandwich, Common or Arctic. Hey Ho hehehehe had a cracking time though. I'm pleased when I'm out and about that people don't ask me to ID something because my answer is normally one of several.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wallington Hall

Popped out for the day with Lesser Spotted Teenager, my Mum and Hubby and ended up at Wallington Hall. Wasn't the sort of day that I could sit and watch birds for ages but did spot a tick. Whilst in the hide Brambling was spotted which was a first for me and also the usual Tits, Blue, Coal and Great and also male and female Chaffinch. 3 Bank Voles were keeping well fed on the fallen seeds under the feeders and were delightful to watch. Nuthatch one of my favourite birds was popping to and fro between the feeders. Along the River walk a pair of Wagtails were seen on the rocks and at the time was usure weather they were Grey or Yellow. Managed to get a good photo and they were identified as Grey Wagtail. Lovely day out and some cracking birds.