Friday, 27 November 2009

BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS......and more birds

Today i continued the quest for the definitive Water Pipit pic, and i did venture further at St. Marys. I saw more birds today, both numbers and species, than i had in the last 3 weeks or more. I did start at the northern end of the promenade and the W. Pipit immediately announced its presence. The sun was shining and in the sheltered corner of the beach felt very pleasant but it was far more windy up in the open. The Turnstones and Sanderlings were rummaging about in the seaweed that has been collected in that corner as they have done the last twice i've been down, but this morning were joined by a Grey Wagtail and very quickly after a pair of Pied Wagtails. The Water Pipit continued its movements back and forth on the bank below the Pitch and Putt and i managed a few more, more than average shots of it. Having spent a very enjoyable hour or so i thought i had better move on before getting too settled.
I normally go down to St. Marys as the tide has turned and is incoming but this morning it was already in . It was however on the way out and as i followed the line of the prom as the rocks came into view it looked as if all the birdlife in the area had come down to the coast to enjoy a bit of sunshine and some slightly less blustery conditions. The rocks were a hive of activity, dozens of Redshank, hundreds of Lapwing, pockets of 20s or 30s of Sanderling, Turnstones doing what Turnstones do, all over the place, numerous groups of Oystercatchers and 34 Ringed Plovers gathered together on a couple of rocks. Obviously there were Gulls everywhere, Black Headed being the most along with Herring and Black Backed. As i scanned a little further the ever growing numbers of Golden Plover caught the eye. Within a couple of minutes, and for whatever reason, birds started taking to the air from every area of the rocky shoreline. A flock of Starling suddenly appeared from over my shoulder and joined in the display and for a short while became the focal point. But not to be outdone from what seemed to be two or three different directions loads and loads of Golden Plover dropped down to join what was already there and formed a greater flock and started doing there thing. Although not as acrobatic as the Starlings the advantage they do have is the way they almost twinkle in the sky as they twist and turn and the light catches them at different angles. They did what looked like a couple of circles of the lighthouse itself then started to fragment. As everything slowly decended back to the rocks a party of 30 or so Curlew came down to join them. After the lack of activity almost everywhere i had visited recently this had felt like some sort of grand firework display. You know, when you stand there with that silly satisfied look on yer face.
The water was receding off the causeway by now so i had a walk around the island but that WAS quiet. Never mind, i wandered back to the car via the full length of the prom., just in case the Snow Buntings had arrived and as i came up by the Pitch and Putt the pair of Pied Wagtails were bathing in a small puddle on the edge of the 14th tee . I turned to head to the car and there in the field next to the caravan park were ALL of the Golden Plover. Now, i had counted them the day before on the rocks but this was different. There were at least three times as many but there was no way i was going to be able to count these. Golden Plover as they are , they were spooked and the whole lot went up and off again. Nothing noticeable on the wetland a couple of female Shoveler being the highlight there. All in all a cracking morning out SUN, SEA, SAND and BIRDS BIRDS BIRDS..............heaven.

     Grey Wagtail 1

Grey Wagtail 2

Pied Wagtail 1

Pied Wagtail 2

I liked the composition of this
Rock Pipit ?

Golden Plover

Golden Plover
we have lift off

Thursday, 26 November 2009

St. Marys Island & Holywell

Water Pipit
St Marys beach

Sanderling in flight
St Marys beach

Sanderling feeding
St Marys beach

Curlew wading
St Marys beach  

Golden Plover
aerial show   

male & female Teal
St. Marys wetland

Juvenile Blackbird
Holywell Pond

I'm slowly getting the hang of this blogging lark and i am managing to download some of my other cameras images. Tues and today i went down to St. Marys Island in order to have a look at the Water Pipit. Thanks to Brian Robson who i had bumped into for the first time at Killy. Lake previously, i managed to locate the bird immediately. I spent the whole of my time there on Tues. in the Water Pipits vicinity at the end of the prom but each time it came within decent range a nice dog and walker would disturb it. ( They've got to shit somewhere i suppose) While i'm on the subject, can anyone understand the mentality of those twits (sorry, i spelled that wrong) that hang their dogs excrement in neatly parceled plastic bags in trees. Bustards ( oops another spelling mistake). I enjoyed watching it and every time it returned back to its favourite area it would announce its arrival. Very vocal. I didn't manage any decent images so i decided to return today.
This time the weather was a lot brighter but very blustery. I decided to call into Holywell Pond on the way down from Segedunum and on the path in at the back of the school was greeted by this lovely juvenile Blackbird feeding in the trees. I carried on towards the public hide meeting Davy Tee on the way, who told me not to bother as there was nothing on the water at that end of the pond and that it was all congregated up beside the members hide. About turn and sure enough there was quite a number of birds outside the hide. All the usual suspects you would expect but Davy pointed out that there were 2 Common Gulls towards the middle of the water. The light was nice and took some shots of a few Pochard that were diving and fishing and as they came up the water was glistening on them but they turned out to be too distant. After a smashing couple of hours headed down to the coast. Looked into the wetland after parking up where there were more than the usual smattering of ducks. Down to the prom. overlooking the rocks where the tide was about halfway in. The birds were quite distant, but there was a large number of waders of all varieties. Of note about
30 Curlew but what caught the eye was the large gathering of Golden Plover. I often wonder who does this, but proceeded to try and count them. 1, 2 , 3  blah, blah etc etc .......there was between 1100-1200. After a while a number of them tried to impersonate a Starling aerial display...........7/10   not bad but not up to Starling standard. Moved to the end of the prom and down to the beach whereupon the Water Pipit took one look and buggered off., I took it personally but immediately a Golden Retriever ran over to the seaweed pile where it had been. The same comings and goings as yesterday as the dog walkers passed by so i took consolation with the Ring Plovers, Turnstones and my personal favourites the Sanderlings as they all combed the waters edge. I will call down again soon if the Water Pipit stays but this time will have a tour around.......i might spot a Snow Bunting.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Killingworth Mute Swan

I stood and watched this Mute Swan as it bathed for what must have been 15 minutes. Here are some images i captured during that time.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Killy Goosanders--Grafitti bridge

Is this art?

Goosanders and Goldeneye Killy Lake

Sunday morning decided to have a trip up to Big Waters and decided to call past Killy on the way. As i arrived there was a bit of a downpour but it stopped after 10 minutes or so and brightened up to be a nice morning. I spotted a lone male Goosander on the larger lake and not having any decent images of said species decided to capture it. Easier said than done. It decided to spend the majority of its time in the centre of the water and on the odd occasions in ventured towards the side , by the time i got somewhere close it buggered off again. Yes, weve been there dozens of times. After over an hour of this and some ropey shots i made my way to the smaller lake before i left for " Muddy".
As i approached there was the outline of 3 Sawbills with the now bright sun behind them. It was 2 female and 1 male Goosander, " I DON'T BELIEVE IT ! " i thought to myself having chased around after there pal, and these were less than 15 metres away at times. The shots above were taken on my Canon compact as i've been having trouble downloading my images taken on my EOS Canon coz the files are too big. Anyway they will have to do 'till i get a prog. organised to compress my photo files.
Having succeeded in capturing the Goosanders i decided to head off to B. W. but on the way i realised the time was getting on so instead stopped off at Weetslade C. Park to have a walk and give the old knees a work out. Not much in the way of bird life to be seen except for 3 Kestrels hovering in the air together, but as i wandered off down one of the waggonways towards Burradon i spotted this fantastic work of grafitti on the concrete work of the bridge. I think some grafitti is brilliant and this effort is fabulous. I've just checked on Memory Map and this passes under the A189 and the waggonway heads away from the car park at Weetslade.