Thursday, 18 February 2010

Top of the pots

Thats chimney pots. Just goes to show that you don't always have to travel miles to see a stunning bird. I was on my way out yesterday afternoon to meet Jeff and call in at Woodhorn, Longhirst and Linton. We have a field over the back on which Gull numbers have been steadily increasing. Along with the Gulls more and more Corvids had been joining them on the ground and thinking they were probably Jackdaws and Crows hadn't paid much attention. Anyway a few of these Corvids had landed in the street and looking up i was stopped in my tracks when i noticed they were Rooks. Ive included a few images as they show off so many of there classic features. I especially like the "baggy trousers" and the last shot which i think is a juvenile. Please correct me if i'm wrong.

               And my favourite.............a Jackdaw not a juv. ( thanks Alan T.)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Rising Sun Star

I hadn't seen this fella for more than 6 months and i had been worried for him a month or two back. Having spoken to a couple of people back then and heard that he had been sighted i was relieved. Although i primarily go birding when out and about, having seen this magnificent beast before, i can only describe him as the star at the Rising Sun Country Park. He is a Red Deer stag and must stand over 2 metres to his antlers.
I captured these images at 5.10 p.m. this afternoon so the excuses are being made as i had to bump up the iso. I will however get some stunners one day. Just look and enjoy.


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Gosforth Park virgin

Yes, theres a first time for everything and this was my first time at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Was i disappointed, was i bugg....   no i wasn't. In fact i had a cracking day, cheers John, and picked up 2 new species. Having "dipped" in Kent at Stodmarsh, i was sitting in one of the hides overlooking the shallow lake wondering whether i would spot this particular species when there was a rustle in the reeds and up rose a majestic bird along with strangled shouts of  "BITTERN,BITTERN,BITTERN!". I saw it for a total of 2/3 seconds but that was enough for me, as it rose from the reed bed only to drop back down in a matter of 6 metres. I turned to John who had that daft glazed over look which i'm sure i had as well, which confirmed he had seen it. A first for him also. I'm sure i will see a Bittern again but i remember exactly where i saw my first of all the species that i have seen but some stand out more than others and this will be one of them. This was all after another first for both John and i, but there is a slight snag which i'm sure someone who reads this, if indeed anyone out there likes to read drivel, could iron out for us both. This first was a Redpoll but we are not sure if they were Lesser or Mealy. I'm posting 3 shots of one of these birds showing rump, back and head and could somebody put us out of our misery, PLEASE.
Anyone who has never been, and has thought about visiting Gosforth Park should sign up tomorrow and get along, you wont be disappointed. Sightings included Blue and Great Tits, Robin,Blackbird, Dunnock,Nuthatch,Coal and Willow Tits, Mute Swan,Moorhen,Coot,Crow,Jackdaw,Jay( 4 together),Chaffinch,Dove(various),L.T.Tit,Goldfinch,B.H.Gull,Grey Heron,Magpie,Mallard,Teal,Wigeon,Treecreeper,Woodpigeon,BITTERN and errrrr REDPOLL. Oh yes and whilst putting our gear in the car spoke to a couple who were also leaving who reckoned they saw a Goldcrest.
Below is a nice image of a Coal Tit i captured along with those 3 not so good I.D. shots of what i hope is a Redpoll, otherwise i'll look more daft than i usually do. An I.D. by anyone will be very welcome. I thank you in advance and promise to dance at your wedding , if indeed you are not already married or plan to divorce in the near future.

Just to add, there were 9 of these birds and they were feeding on Alders at the time.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Geltsdale revisited

Following posts on Geltsdale by both Hollywell Birding and Howdon Blogger i was recalling my visit there last year. A return visit is on the cards soon as i would love to experience the Black Grouse lek. I didn't see any Black Grouse when i was there as nor did i see the Black Swan but i do remember it being reported in the log book at the screen hide at Tindale Tarn so this bird seems to have been around for a while. A picture of said bird can be seen on Johns blog and having looked at some reference material it doesn't seem to be some kind of discoloured Mute Swan but a genuine Australian Black Swan. It must have escaped from somewhere.
Anyway the main reason i posted was to recall the strange goings on i encountered when i arrived in the area. These peculiar beings were scattered in and around the villages as i left the A69 and looked for the reserve. The last one was standing at the entrance to the car park at Geltsdale complete with bins!

                                Tindale Tarn

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

No Bittern...but i'm not bitter

About time i updated. Recent days out with John Hall (Howdon Blogger) have been most enjoyable.The last being to Teesside calling at Cowpen Bewley ( no Ring-necked Duck when we were there) then down to Hartllepool where i saw my first Black Redstart, Med Gull and Great Northern Diver at close quarters.More visits will be on our agenda no doubt and everyone we met and spoke to were more than helpfull and i'd like to thank them.
I am visiting Kent more frequently now as i have a year old Grandson and while down visiting him i take the odd day out to visit a birding site down there. So far i have been to Cliffe Pools, Oare Marshes and Elmley Marshes. This time Stodmarsh was selected and what a fantastic place. I had three species that i had hoped to encounter and managed one. That being the Marsh Harrier, which i had brilliant views of, off and on all day. The two i missed out on were Bittern and Bearded Tit. ( 7 Bittern were sighted the following day) But there will be other opportunities.The site at Stodmarsh is the largest reedbed in south eastern England and is managed very carefully.The reeds must be cut back regularly and the ditches continually dug to keep the water levels and water quality to a high standard. One thing i have noticed whilst visiting all the sites in Kent is the amount of money invested in the management of the land. For example when i went to Elmsley on my previous visit there were huge pumps scattered all around the ditches to keep the water levels exactly as they require. Very expensive looking equipment, something i haven't seen here in the north east. Anyone visiting the area can do no worse than visiting the Kent Ornithological Society website for sites to visit.
Back home i have been at Big Waters the last couple of afternoons and have had some excellent views of the Green Woodpecker. Yesterday i had a good 20/25 mins. watching it feed. It was absolutely stunning in the winter sunlight. Below are a couple of longish range shots. I had a quick visit to the main hide for the last hour of daylight, the highlight being the 17 Moorhen scoffing on the ground in the feeding station.

Green Woodpecker

Hartlepool images

Med Gull

Purple Sandpipers in flight