Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Amazing Cormorant Tree of Big Waters.

We all know money doesn't grow on trees. The Spaghetti Tree was just an April fool on Nationwide but today i saw the legendary Cormorant Tree of Big Waters. It does exist. Here is the proof. It only bears "fruit" every 25 years or so.

This photo. has not been tampered with in any way. I opened the shutters in the smaller hide, having called in on the way back to the car having spent a most enjoyable few hours in the company of Mr. Cheviot and quite a number of birds the most obvious being the Siskin. Anyway, as the shutter dropped and the light flooded into the darness of the hide the oracle was before me. I couldn't believe what i was looking at and made a grab for the Canon. I had heard the tale of the tree from a couple of ageing birders but personally had my doubts. It had been spotted, as the stories go, very early in the morning, in first light, coming out of the mist that hangs over Big Waters in those conditions. Today it was mainly grey and overcast without a hint of mist and there it was!!
Earlier, on the way to the main hide Mr. Cheviot and i had enjoyed views of 2 Treecreepers spiralling their way up a couple of trees in the small woods and a male Godeneye displaying, almost putting his neck out, to 3 more than interested females on the water. I know spring is relatively a long way off but this sight and that of some Mallard at Morpeth the other day kinda getting jiggy lifts the spirits. The birds seem to think the worst of the winter is over so here's hoping. I got my Tree Sparrows immediately on arrival in the feeding station but the bonus was the twenty odd Siskin on feeders and the ground. A couple who were also in the hide had spotted a Water Rail in view but also some 10 minutes later, the guy made known that over 60 Siskin lifted from trees beside the scrape, travelled over the lake and into the small woods. While this was happening the twenty odd others were still in the feeding station. Male and female Reed Bunting others notable with lots of the usual birds on show. I actually got my first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the year today, a rather handsome male but that was dwarfed by the Cormorant Tree, a real LIFER.
I suppose there will be a twitch now. It might be a stampede.

Just a thought.............what sort of tree do TREE SPARROWS grow on ? There must be one of those up at Big Waters also judging by the numbers of Tree Sparrows that are there.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Are you sitting comfortably ?...............................

................well i am.
An image from a recent trip.
Southern Peru? Northern Bolivia? Ecuador or possibly Northern Chile at a height of between 3,500 and 5,000 metres above sea level. These are some of the places i could have seen this South American Camelid but it was in fact the Rising Sun Organic Farm.
Dont forget, double click does the trick

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Swallow Pond.............the return.

I think we all take things for granted. Those things we see every day become mundane and are not appreciated. Well, not ALL of us but i reckon most do.
The return i mention at the top was the return of the wildlife on the pond. Having been frozen solid for well over 4, possibly 5 weeks i was taken aback by the sounds that i often almost ignore. I came in from the west and within minutes had 3 finches on Alders on the hillside. A Goldfinch and 2 Lesser Redpolls. What a start. It went quiet for the next 30 minutes or so as i came over the top of the main hill but as i walked down one of the waggonways leading to Swallow Pond i heard some Widgeon. "Champion" i thought to myself "Some birds on the water at last." As i poked my head through one of the 4 "windows" of the metal hide that overlooks Swallow, what seemed like a mini cacophony of sound hit me. I thought back to the last few weeks and how silent and almost hostile this place had been. It was fantastic!
A couple of Mallard were having some sort of dispute and it was nice to hear quacking again. In the reeds possibly half a dozen Moorhen were busy feeding. Heads down oblivious to everything going on around them. A coot sailed past with head down in that attack position but i couldn't see what the problem was. A couple of Shoveller in the distance, 8 Pochard, male and female all asleep floating around. The 2 adult Mute Swans with their now diminishing family of 3 Cygnets gliding gracefully about. Numbers of Gulls, i didn't notice what, noisily splashing about by the island. It was lush. I even noticed the motion of the water. Circles where birds had possibly dived under. Small waves left by the wake of ducks and wildfowl. Ripples as the wind passed over.
I turned my attention back away from the pond. As i sat a dozen people had stopped off as they passed through the Rising Sun and a number had left bird food in and around on fence posts, railings and on top of the large covered waste bin. This always brings in the Robins and Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits and Dunnocks. All of which i saw. Briefly in the hedge appeared a male Reed Bunting. Then the sound of Finches coming from "Alder Swamp". I quickly made my way there but the birds were very flighty. I made out Goldfinch, Siskin and Redpoll but they were disturbed so never got a good look. A venture into the plantation before i left brought only a distraught sounding Blackbird, which i couldn't see, and 3 Magpies in the same vicinity.
Highlight of the day ?   Easy..............hearing the first quack of a Mallard this year, 2011......and the sight and sounds of a pond that had returned to life.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Pick me up.

Having been well and truly whacked by this virus again, i was desperate to get some sun on my back.
Soooooooo, feeling about 75%, and with my partner off work with the same ailment, i had the car so drove it the hundreds of metres up the road. The light was indeed a nice pick me up even if it was bracingly cold in the wind. I wasn't too bothered what i might come across but the sight of Fieldfare and Redwings in Bowmans Field just lifted me a little more. The cobwebs felt as if they where spinning in my head at times and not being blown away but after an hour or so i reckon i was getting the benefit. Blackbirds, Robins and Dunnocks followed by Blue and Great Tits with a sprinkling of  Magpie, yes Magpie seemed to help me breathe more easily.  BUT the appearance of a mixed flock of Finches in Alder Swamp, as i call it, just off the main waggonway next to the hide was the real deal. A genuine tonic.
The flock, numbering 25 in total included mainly Goldfiches, a male and female Siskin and the Mealy Redpoll that's been hanging around for a while. At this stage i had completely forgotten that deaths door had been creaking in my head not 48 hours earlier and here i was at heavens gate! Seeing the Meally was nice but the male Siskin was absolutely stonking in the winters sun.

.................the Siskin..........simply, stunning.

Don't forget to double click to reap the full rewards of this visual feast.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The other afternoon.

Yea, you must have all guessed it was the cloud formation but it was eye catching. Not the best lens fitted for the images i took but i wasn't out expecting to take those sort of piccies.

....all taken from Dukes Pond at the Rising Sun where this guy still resides. I must add that it was feeding out of a persons hand.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Any ideas?

I took some images of this while i was out and about yesterday afternoon. Some interesting colours.

............i reckon Brian (Killy Birder) will know.