Monday, 20 January 2014

Glossed over

Another day, another trip up the coast.

Newbiggin was the first port of call, and after yesterdays failure to connect with Mediterranean Gull, today was better, with four easily available from the comfort of the car.

The Woodhorn goose flock remains unchecked, as traffic works prevented use of the lay-by - hopefully the Greenland White-fronted will hang on.

Lynemouth provided much better views of the Glossy Ibis - sunshine and a closer bird. No proper camera today, so an iPhone held to the scope for a record shot.

Lynemouth Glossy
Cresswell wasn't really checked as it was a pitstop for a quick chat with Alan, and later at Druridge the Green-winged Teal could not be seen. Compensation came in the form of three Pintail, half a dozen Shoveler, lots of Wigeon and Eurasian Teal.

Arrived at East Chevington along with Peter and spent the next hour or so hoping for the Bearded Tit / Bittern to show. Neither appeared.

I picked up the Green-winged Teal roosting on the north pool, and other duck included three Long-tailed, a Common Scoter, more Eurasian Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Mallard and Pochard. The Grey-lag Geese group held the presumed escape Lesser White-fronted Goose. Two Whooper Swan lurked in the north-west corner too.

As darkness fell, the murmuration of Starling began - very impressive indeed!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Black Curlews and traffic Egrets

It was a bit frustrating to have taken the wrong road back to Cramlington from Cresswell on Saturday, so news this morning that the Glossy Ibis was still present at Lynemouth was to close to home to resist, despite having seen the two in Durham yesterday.

Bleak weather stalled the journey, but by 11:00 I was there, and so was the Ibis, or, given the inclement weather, a rather black looking curlew, stood looking confused as to why the Spanish climate was so unfavourable. Still, a decent bird (for now) in Northumberland - a blocker until a few years back!

Black Curlew

"I'm sure the brochure said the weather would be better than this"

I didn't hang round for long, opting to try for Mediterranean Gull at Newbiggin. For the first time that I can recall I could not see any there!

The sea was mighty rough too... click the image to see full size.

Low tide at Newbiggin
Closer to home, the drive across the rain-swollen  Horton Burn delivered the Little Egret - a nice ending to a purposeful mission.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Mobile birding

A day out with Mark on a dull, cold and wet January Saturday.

Nothing in the way of decent light for photography, so the scope was brought out instead of the SLR camera. First stop was Tynemouth so Mark could catch up with the increasingly promising Lesser Whitethroat - trapped during the week, so hopefully conclusive DNA results will determine it's origin. Complemented visit with some delicious cake courtesy of Celia and a nice catch up with Colin. Some great views of the Lesser Whitethroat on the close feeding station too...

Onwards to the Tyne Tunnel and eventually, albeit in slow traffic, to Boldon. The two Glossy Ibis were still present and despite some attempts with the iPhone to photograph them, the video function prove to be better in the blustering conditions - 17 seconds of ibis action below!

Northwards after this to beloved Amble for "refreshments", via an unsuccessful stop at Woodhorn for the Greenland White-fronts. Not to worry, the chip shop was open at Amble, where from we headed back down the coast in a race against fading light.

East Chevington came up trumps with the Slavonian Grebe on the north pool, three Long-tailed Duck, hods of Goldeneye and an otter.

Druridge Pools continued to hold Green-winged Teal, my first for a few years so appreciated. In addition, Pintail, Shoveler, lots of Wigeon, and among the Redshank, a single Black-tailed Godwit.

Green-winged Teal, Druridge.

We casually checked the flooded fields to the south of Blakemoor Farm (Cresswell) just after 15:00 - no sign of the Friday single Glossy Ibis, just a Grey Heron. The fields in the general area look good for any Ibis that chooses to linger, and it wasn't with much surprise to find that it was reported again at 15:30 - Cresswell Hall Farm this time.

A cheeky check of the River Blyth didn't produce Great Northern Diver, but the final stop at Horton Burn (east end) did hold a Kingfisher (and Moorhen!).

And that was that - dusk twists into night and another day birding ceases...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The great little tawny finch

The last few days have been spent local.

Sunday saw an afternoon visit to the River Blyth to see the Great Northern Diver at the confluence of the Sleekburn.

Weekday birding has been round the doors, with a cracking Tawny Owl perched on the roadside at the delightful industrial estate near home, worth the 05:20 departure for earlyshift...

After work, mild excitement in the form of a male chaffinch in the garden - possibly the fourth "in garden" record... not sure why this species is so unusual here - less than 100m from the door I see them regularly on the Horton Burn... the next destination in this rambling post - with todays potter along revealing the Little Egret as close to the house as it could get, a kingfisher too.

West Hartford still has teal - I feel a green-winged will appear soon... and 4 wigeon, an infrequent visitor to the flash pool.

Horton Burn - The Little Egret is on this picture (the white dot on the far bank to the left of the photo... honest)

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Little & Lesser

Little Owl - very easy to overlook!
 Headed out on the bike for a quick circuit of Cramlington, after Gordon's reports of Golden Plover and Goosander. Only successful on the later - a drake on Arcot. The Little Owl remains faithful to a favoured tree - and very easy to overlook as it lurks in a deep fork!

Later I head south to a certain residence in Tynemouth - a mis-timed visit to be honest, as the anticipated sun lit garden was almost entirely in shade. Nevertheless, the target was present, feeding on the closest feeders to the very much appreciated make-shift observation platform. An interesting bird indeed...

Lesser Whitethroat Sp.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Continuing Cramlington

After the hardship of a single nightshift, I was back out round the northern delights of Cramlington on Friday 3rd, and today, 4th, a more extensive pedal driven route throughout the hamlet that Northumberland's finest new town is.

Some decent birds, Cramlington-wise over the two days, with the little egret remaining on the first trip (though not yet seen today), jack snipe, 6 grey partridge, lesser redpoll, little owl, willow tit, more great back backed gulls, the resident lesser black backed gull, kingfisher.

So... 55 patch species so far with not too much effort - and some nice easy ones still to collect.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Little to report

Woken by the phone this morning - and always nice to find a message regarding a patch bird - Gordon had picked up the Horton Burn little egret - and while not a Cramlington tick as such, its the first on the burn that runs through our housing estate. Add kingfisher, grey wagtail, a couple of moorhen and fly over great black backed gull and redshank (a species that eluded me in Cramlington in 2013!) and the birding atmosphere was electric.


Later I headed north to Stag Rocks - the grey phalarope was a doddle, feeding in the surf below the car park - mixing with the black-headed gulls.


No slav grebe on view (1 great crested), but 1 black throated diver in amongst the red throats, plenty of long tailed duck, common scoter etc... and some distant gannet.