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.