Thursday, 18 August 2011


Popped to Cresswell today and came across quite a few Canada Geese on the sand bank in front of the hide, mixed in amongst them there were a few Greylag Geese, Lapwing, and Mallards. On the water a few Littel grebe were infront of the hide and Tuffted Ducks, there was a discussion going on about a Scaup and I think there was one amongst the tuffties but the camera didn't catch it in time. Moorhen and Coots were dotted about and a Heron popped by. Cormorants and more Greylag Geese were on the far bank.
3 Whimbrel flew in which was nice, there was a discussion about these as well as someone thought they were Curlew but I'm sticking with my initial ID of Whimbrel. Also on the pond I came across 3 oddities, I think they might be Pochard but any correction greatly received.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

1/2 hour at Druridge

Whilst my lesser Spotted Teenager and her boyfriend walked along the sands at Druridge today I popped to the hide for a 1/2 hour bird watching to see if anything new was around, and boy was I not dissapointed. A Marsh Harrier was pointed out to me in the far field through my binoculars I got a cracking view. Pity it was to far away for my camera to get a shot but never mind a tick for me. At first I thought it was a Buzzard but the pale head was a dead give away, beautiful.
Also spotted were Coot, Moorhen, the two Mute Swans with 2 young, lots of Tufted Ducks and Mallards. Swallows were flying here and there and also numerous Sand Martins. Just before I headed back a couple of Heron flew by, 2 Common Sandpipers made an apperance and I spotted a couple of Little Grebe. All in all a cracking 1/2 and hour. I didn't manage to get an decent photo's but these Moths / Butterflies took my fancy along the idea what they are but pretty pleased with the quality of the shots.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Spotted Redshank - What a beauty

Popped to Druridge Pools yesterday and was struck by how I had missed the place, Lots of Tuffted Ducks about, a couple of Mute Swans with 2 young, Little Grebes and Heron were all showing nice. Sandmartins were swooping close to the hide feeding and Cormorants were drying their wings on the island at the far end of the pool.
2 Spotted Redshank were pointed out and wow what a beauty, fab birds and also 3 Ruff were pottering around next to the hide. 2 Snipe was spotted for a short time just in front of the hide but soon dissapeared into the shrubbery. A few Teal were spotted and as I was about to leave 2 when 2Common Sandpipers dropped in to say hello and of course I stayed a while longer. A cracking couple of hours.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Oban 2

Had another fab day and managed a picture of the Black Guillemots at Oban Harbour, got a blurred flying shot of a Guillemot whilst on the boat and have posted some snapshots of the Red Breasted Mergansers and there seems to be Pied Wagtail everywhere I look so I couldn't leave them out. A hooded Crow was very obliging at Glen Coe. Still no Raptors but Hey Ho a Cracking few days away from the Lesser and Greater spotted Teenagers.

Oban 1

Having a fab few days in Oban, Loch Etive has thrown us some Red Breasted Merganser, Mallard and some Gulls. Boat Trip to Corryvechan Whirlpool was great, got soaking wet but saw Kittiwake, Gannets, Guillemot and a tick for Black Guillemot, Red Deer on Jura, wild goats and Bottle Nose Dolphins. Also got a glimpse of an Osprey. Their nest has been destroyed in the gales that have been buffeting the west coast of Scotland. The Sea Eagles haven't managed to hang onto their nest either. Eider ducks and Oystercatchers seen on all loch shores and although on the look out for big raptors the mist is too low. Maybe today we will fair a bit better. Heading to Glen Coe and back to Oban for Tea. Black Guillemots in the Harbour so must remember my camera.
Got some photo's of the Mergansers and will try and post the pictures soon.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Wallington Hall

A few snap shots before I head off to Oban tomorrow morning, These were taken from Wallington Hall

Friday, 29 April 2011

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Hauxley Nature reserve was our port of call yesterday morning and was delighted to get a possible 2 ticks in one day. A cracking morning was spend scanning the pond from the hides and also the fields around the reserve where the warden was telling us 4 Heron were nesting with 12 chicks hatched.
My first Tick (I hope) is of this Partridge, I have seen Red Legged Partridge before but I think these 2 are Grey Partridge....I came to this conclusion by the lack of white on its neck and also the rusty colour on its head. A hare was seen running along the top of the field which was nice. We headed to the first hide spotted Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Widgeon, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Mute Swan Redshank Mallard and hopefully Tick number 2.
I think these Geese are Pink Footed..... The bill isn't as bright as the Greylag and the necks seem a bit more stumpy. The only thing putting me off is that my book says that they are a winter visitor so if they are Pink Footed Geese then why are they here, Birds and books can be confusing hehe

Also on the ponds were what I think are Gadwell, These ducks have been pointed out to me before so it's not a tick but it will be a positive ID if I'm right. Scanning my bird book Gadwell and Pochard are the only ducks I could see with the Black rump, so fingers crossed I'm right.

On the way back to the car a beautiful Whitethroat was spotted in the trees lining the path and sat and sung it's little heart out. I have seen Common Whitethroat at Castle Island, Ashington and thought they were the Lesser variety but my gut feeling is that this one is a Common Whitethroat but still a cracking bird who was very obliging and photogenic.
Also spotted were Coot Moorhen Long Tailed Tit, Tree Sparrow (I think) ohh and not forgetting the family of Rats which apparently visit the bird feeders, ahhh I hate rats
A good morning out and as always comments and suggestions always welcome.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Grumpy Birders

My sister (complete birding novice) and I popped to Cresswell today to see if the Avocets were about and to our delight 2 were asleep on the sandbank. Also bobbing about were Teal, Coot, Lapwiong, several Cormorant, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, a few Widgeon, Oystercatchers and Greylag Geese all in plenty of numbers. A Ring Plover dropped by for a short while and a few Heron were dotted about.

There were a few experienced birders in the hide today and were having a good time discussing what they kept seeing popping up from the grass, when my sister and I popped over to see what all the fuss was about they shut up and didn't move so we couldn't see but hay ho some people are just grumpy. HAHA they missed a fab photo opportunity of this cracking (what I think is a ) Sedge Warbler

After pointing out a few birds we headed to Druridge bay where we had the right side hide to ourselves and no grumpy people to bother us. Pretty quite on the pond with Tuffted Ducks, Mallards, Coot, Moorhen and Geese dotted about. We came across this Grumpy Greylag Goose chasing away what I first thought were Red Breasted Mergansers but on closer inspection I beleive them to be Goosander. The bill has a hook at the end where as the Mergansers have what looks to be a longer bill and straight. I've only ID'd a Goosander once before so a cracking find although they are quite common.

We popped into the left hand side hide and immediately saw some type of wader on the far side of the flash, scanning my book as well as trying to keep them in view was no easy task, they were far away but I tried desperately to get a picture but all I got was a brown smudge. A guy popped in for 5 minutes and said he thought they were a couple of Ruff, but he wasnt sure, pitty would of been a tick if I could of gotten a possitive ID. Never mind might pop back at the weekend and see if they are still hanging about.

Cracking afternoon and my sister is hooked.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cresswell Does it again

Its great to get out and about agin after a terrible virus and cresswell was my port of call today and boy was I not dissapointed. The Beautiful Avocets were feeding nicely and is a tick for me. I have tried on several occasions to catch a glimpse of these birds and failed but today I was lucky enough to spot 2 of the 4 which are hanging around the Cresswell pond. Great.

Also spotted were Black headed Gull, Lapwing, Teal, Coot, Swallow, Mallard, Tufted Duck Pied Wagtail, A lone Mute Swan, Magpie and Cormorant.

On the sand bank next to the hide a pair of

Sandwich Terns were doing a mating dance of sorts before getting down to business to an audience of several Shelduck, Lapwing and Redshank.

The warm weather is a welcome sign of more birds to come, Wheatear have been spotted at Hauxley along with some Common Tern and I'm sure I spotted a Stonechat on the way to the hide today.

Its good to see my first Swallow of the season and I can't wait till the House Martins are back in the street.

At leat 20 Shelduck were dotted about the pond today and they were showing their fabulous coulous really nicely in the sun. Absoloutly stunning. A good hours birding before tea and a fab way to end the day. Hoping to get out more at the weekend and maybe head up to Dunstanburugh Castle to see if the Fulmars and Kittiwakes have arrived.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tick from the Archives

October 2009 brought a very rare bird to Druridge Bay, a Glossy Ibis dropped in for a few days and the tiny hide came a hive of activity for the birding community from far and wide. As it was local I popped down to see the little beauty and was amazed at how obliging it was and sat quite a while for photos.
With all the excitement lots of other more common birds didn't get a look in that day and as I was flicking through some photos this little cracker took my eye. On my all time bird list I have indicated a possible sighting of a Greenshank and I think I have one. Scanning my bird book I first thought it to be a Sandpiper but realised it was the wrong colour and the bill was to big, next on my list was a Greenshank and although the picture in my book indicates a more curved bill I think for once
I may be right. If I'm right my all time list will be 113
Other cracking finds of the day were this Grey Plover which dropped in for a photo and a Little Grebe was also bobbing about.

I'm still amazed at how excited I get when I see something and try to ID it, even if I'm wrong which is quite often its still a great pass time and although these two birds were over shadowed that day by the Glossy Ibis I am so pleased I have found them for this blog entry. I have come to realise it's not just about the rare birds, the more common ones are just as important to me.

Monday, 7 February 2011

A little help needed (again)

I've been off work for a while with a virus and I have had plenty of time to look through my old bird photo's and come across some smashing little blighters including this one taken at Cresswell in June 2009.
To many a trained eye it is a simple task to identify this little beauty, but as many of you know by now I am not as skilled in that department as I would like and more often get things muddled and wrong.
So here goes and yes you can laugh at my deductions if you so desire.....
The photo was taken at Creswell where there are lots of reeds....I don't think it's a female Reed Bunting because of the beak shape and the lack of streaks. My next guess would be a different sort of Reed dwelling bird so I looked up a Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler and came to the conclusion that because of the plain brown colouring it is most probably a Reed Warbler. If it is then its a Tick for me as it's not on my list.
Even if I am completely wrong it doesn't matter it's still a lovely little bird which has filled in an hour or so on what seems to be endless days of attempting to get better.
Any suggestions would be most welcome

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Forgotten Tick

I haven't been able to use my lap top for a while due to a problem with the wireless connection but after receiving a new box last week I'm happy to report I'm up and running again.

Hunting through some old photos I came across this delightful bird which I had totally forgotten about. It was taken down near Castle Island on the River Wansbeck 23rd June 2009 and I believe it to be a Lesser White Throat which takes my all time list to 112.

Delighted to add this beauty to my list and all though I remember being hassled by the flies this little cracker didn't seem to mind.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Two Knot or not Two Knot that is the question?

Popped to Cresswell today to discover a deserted beach and these two delightful birds on the rocks. These and 1 Oystercatcher were the only feathered friends that I saw on land which is unusual for Cresswell.

Then I was baffled by what they actually were and proceeded to try and get an ID photo to look at when I got home. Armed with a cuppa and a Marks and Spencers Scone I hunted out my bird books and came to this rather long conclusion......

First thought ....Dunlin....they have a bit of a dark patch on the belly, fairly common winter visitor to coastal areas, so maybe....nope wrong...beak to short and wrong shape, only shows dark patch in summer.

Second thought......Grey Plover....hmm maybe but unsure if they are common in the North East in Winter as book says Jul -Nov and Apr - May but a common winter visitor to some areas, so conflicting evidence there. Its a possibility.

Third thought.....Knot....Looks to be the right colour, beak about the right size and shape, didn't get a good enough look at the legs to see if they are Green / Grey but are a common winter visitor, so it looks promising.

Now if they are Knot I have a new tick which would be great but if they are Grey Plover then that's great as well as I've only seen 1 bird before and that had to be pointed out to me, so either way it's OK.
A few Cormorant and Eider Ducks were seen just off the shore and Gulls were dotted here and there. All in all a great afternoon and I've had a cracking time as always trying to ID the little blighters. Even if I am totally wrong still a lovely afternoon.

Hubby didn't get any photo's today despite the weather forecast saying it was to be a sunny afternoon but I was quite happy with my snapshots.
As always comments much appreciated.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Seaside Sanderlings

This morning on the way to Morpeth for my weekly scone trip to Marks and Spencers (highly recommended) a huge Buzzard landed on the fence just in front of the car, pitty I didn't have the camera with me as it was really close by and quite some size with all the feather marking clearly visable and quite stunning.
Later in the day hubby and I popped down to chilly Blyth Harbour to be met by some Mute Swans looking for something to eat. Redshank and Oystercatchers were in large numbers on the Cambois side of the harbour and a group of 6 Eider ducks 3 females and 3 immature males swam by.
We later headed to Blyth beach for a quick walk along the shore and spotted a few Sanderlings at the tide line despite the number of dog walkers disturbing the peace they hung around for quite a while. At least 20 Cormorants passed by and landed just inside the harbour mouth and started to fish, which was quite fascinating to watch. Loads of Gulls were here and there and I spotted at least 3 Black Backed Gulls amongst the Black Headed variety. With my cheeks starting to freeze and Marks and Spencers scone calling me to go home we headed off home after a canny trip to the seaside.