Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Tax doesn't have to be taxing

Well it doesn't if you bugger off out when you had promised to file your tax returns online today. Cheviots tomorrow so it will have to be Thursday now. No car so Rising Sun on the agenda. Sky miserable as sin but always glad to be out. It was fairly quiet but i did see a small flock of Siskin feeding in some Alders on my journey up.Called past the Organic Farm which, whilst the snow was down was a haven for loads of birds, has also gone very quiet, even the flocks of House Sparrows were absent.
As i moved along the waggonway towards Swallow Pond i could hear the cries of Black Headed Gulls which, under normal circumstances, wouldn't excite me but on this occasion meant that there was life back on the pond after an absence of possibly 4 weeks. Sure enough, a couple of Mute Swans, Mallard,Coot, Moorhen,Teal and a single Pochard were with the Gulls on the water. Nothing out of the ordinary but a heart warming sight none the less.After surveying the scene for 10 minutes from the hide i stood up and turned only to be greeted by a Robin close by who decided to serenade me with song.I returned the compliment with my not so good imitation of a House Sparrow but the Robin didn't seemed to mind so we continued in a duet.

My partner in song.


Friday, 15 January 2010

Teal images Dukes pond

Some Teal shots taken on Dukes pond earlier in the week. Dukes continues to be the only unfrozen water at the Rising Sun and something of a refuge for the parks wildfowl. Although the main area of Swallow was still frozen today,   the reedbeds were showing signs of thawing with some Moorhen able to feed.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Pied Blackbirds contd.

Another trip to Rising Sun brought another curiously coloured Blackbird. This individual was atop the trees opposite the horses stables on the farm. This being approx. 400 metres from my encounter yesterday. As is clear, this is not the same bird but i wonder if it is related. Thanks to Tim for his comment yesterday re. albinism but i have since read a piece on a condition called leucism which is very similar. It seems the most obvious way to determine the difference is the eye colour since in albinism the eye colour would be red otherwise it would be normal. So if this is the case am i right in calling this a Pied Blackbird?

Captured this little beaut.

This was the sunset over the farm this afternoon

Pied Blackbirds

I will post this image from this afternoon taken at Rising Sun. Will continue post later.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Mystery Bird Rising Sun

Just sticking local at present.......on my wanderings around the Rising Sun i came across this fella.
I was following some tits in the hedgerow and this bird was skulking around in the foot of it. I spotted it very fleetingly to start with and put it down as another Thrush, until i got a flash of white. It was the size of a Blackbird and behaved like a Blackbird. IS IT A BLACKBIRD?

Any suggestions..........the shots aren't great as it was very secretive.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Rising Sun Country Park

Frozen Swallow (above) Busy Duke (below)

 My first venture out since new year due to the dodgy underfoot conditions. I can't afford to hit the deck....i mightn't be able to get up.
Rising Sun is just up the road so it seemed the safest bet. I parked outside the visitors centre and peered over the hedge at Swallow Pond............a first for me, there were NO birds of any description on, and i mean on Swallow. It was frozen solid, not one break in the ice. I continued along the Waggonway......it was very quiet, tranquil. The heavy layer of snow and freezing conditions meant that there were very few people about. FANTASTIC. Just how i like it. I tend to make 2/3 visits a week here in the spring and summer. That tends to be between 3a.m.and 6.30a.m. when there are no people, especially dog walkers about and the wildlife doesn't get disturbed. Try it one morning this spring...........its lush. Anyway, i continued on to Dukes pond and was greeted with a frenzy of activity. A third of the pond was free of ice and there was over 200 birds busying themselves. I like Dukes as you can get up close and you do get some nice waterfowl on occasions, especially as i said when it is quiet. Anyone who has been there will know how busy it gets at times with amongst others the passing Asda shoppers. I have seen possibly 50 birds on here max in the past but these were here because of the conditions on Swallow. The count was.....
148 B H Gulls , 12 Herring Gulls , 6 Teal , 3 Mute Swans , 7 Coot , 14 Moorhen , 23 Mallard ....nothing out of the ordinary but nice to see anyway.
I continued on to Hadrians pond as the muddy pathway, which has been almost impassable without wellies recently, was hard as stone. Guess what........as solid as the ground and birdless, like Swallow. On the way back there were plenty of various Thrushes along with the odd Robins and Tits scattered along the back fences of the properties that back on. I did spot a cracking little flock of Tits in the trees and spent 10 mins. or so taking in the sights and sounds of them as they went about the business of feeding until there was a heavy downpour of hail which drove them deep into what undergrowth there was and out of sight. I made my way around the far side of Swallow away from the centre and on approaching the hide was greeted by 2 Dunnocks and a young Blackbird all scratching around seeing if there were any crumbs dropped by earlier  Duck feeders as this is a popular spot for people stopping of from the Asda shopping trip to feed the Swans and Ducks. Things had livened up on Swallow........ 2 Carrion Crows on the ice , around the the screen hide in the trees to see if anything was hidden away on the small island in front of it but no, it was eerily silent in the woods and on the ice.
It was great to be out and about and the lack of humans was a bonus.

Teal images.