Saturday, 9 January 2010

What a delight

I have been feeding the birds everyday and my garden species to date are, Robin, Great Tit, Black Bird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Gull,Wren, House Sparrow and Chaffich. To my delight a large bird came to enjoy the apple this afternoon and I new immediately that it was not an ordinary bird that I have seen visit before. Brief description - Large, long tail with white edges, upright stance , spotted chest - Mistle Thrush. Such a delight and although I thought it may be a big song Thrush the white tail edges in flight gave it away. A tick for me and I hope it visits again.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Highs and Laughs

It's been just over a year since I started birding and thought I would share a few highs and laughs with you.
My biggest high was at the very beginning when Mike and I went to Bolam Lake to try out our new walking boots. We were on the wooden Jetty and I identified a Golden Eye, I was so excited I was jumping up and down and nearly fell in, I must of looked a right plonker but the birds didn't mind.
Another one of my highs was at Hauxley Nature reserve last January and in the little hide we spotted a couple of Dunnocks and I fell in love with these little birds right there and then. They are now one of my favourite garden birds and am very pleased when one comes to my feed in my garden.
I have had loads of laughs whilst out birding trying to ID them and get photo's, Screeming at Mike to stop car and get the camera. The biggest laugh was at Druridge bay and up the little path at the end of the road are some ponds and I stopped dead in my tracks as there was a large white thing at the side of the pond. I sank down into the grass pulling Mike with me so I didn't scare it away and got out the binoculars .....only to find it was a carrier bag and not some exotic bird after all.
Another high was at Howick last February where I saw some Eider Ducks for the first time, at the time I didn't know we had sea ducks and these are fab with the males being very impressive. I could go on for ever, Dunlin, Turnstone, Teal, Siskin (new ID) Stonechat, Long Tailed Tit, Sanderlings, Nuthatch were all exciting finds and when I spotted the difference between a Mute Swan and a Whooper Swan well that was something special for me.
There have been no low points on my birding expeditions as every day something catches my eye, be it a common Robin or exotic Glossy Ibis it doesn't matter, it is a thrill to share a few moments of their lives and just watch.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Wallington Hall and Bolam

I have just about got over my cold and sore throat and had a couple of days birding, first to Wallington Hall and then to Bolam Lake. Not much was happening at Wallington Hall as the feeders at the hide were empty but I managed to get some nice photo's of the Robins and this Great Tit. Dunnocks, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Moorhen and Bullfinches were all spotted and the snow made for some nice landscape photo's.

Yesterday despite the snow saw my hubby and I head off to Bolam Lake and we were not disappointed, birds everywhere. We took some seed and sat in the car for a while just watching and it was great. Robin, Bluetit, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Woodpigeon all came close to the car for a feed. Below are some snapshots that I am really happy with.

There was a small area of lake not frozen and all the birds were huddled together, I spotted Mallard, Golden Eye, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose and Mute Swans. We got caught in a snow storm and took shelter under a few trees and to my delight I saw something new in the trees hanging mostly upside down. Out came the binoculars, camera and bird book and I started to jot down some characteristics, White underbelly, yellow breast with yellow flashes on wings and black head and black bars on wings. I quicky ruled out Yellowhammer after seeing the picture in my book but quicky came to the conclusion I had spotted half a dozen Siskin. Utterly speechless and delighted one of my 'Must See Birds'. We didn't manage to get a decent photo but posted this one just to make sure it is a Siskin, the yellow isn't too clear but the stripes and black head are visible enough. The first time I visited Bolam Lake after I got interested in birds I was over the moon to identify a Golden Eye and this group of birds gave me the same thrill, just spectacular and a delight to watch even though we were covered in snow. I popped some seed under the tree and quietly left them to it. Wonderful, just wonderful