Friday, 21 October 2011

He works in mysterious ways.

How did he know ???
I was away in Kent last week and while there i visited Stodmarsh. Top of my list was to get some nice images of Bearded Reedlings. I wasn't happy with good sightings of Marsh Harriers or the fly by of a Bittern. I heard, but never did see my target species and returned somewhat crest fallen. While i was away i was keeping track of the Lesser Scaup and Mandarin at Cullercoats and North Shields. They were still here when i got back and caught up first with the Lesser Scaup at Marden Quarry first then headed straight along to Northumberland Park. The Marden Quarry bird was always too distant for decent images but i still got good views of it and as i was travelling along The Broadway in the direction of Tynemouth i spotted the above sign emblazoned on Cullercoats Methodist Church's exterior.
Divine message
Of course the Mandarin Duck was sitting waiting for me when i arrived but was in shadow under some overhanging trees. He didn't look as if he was going to move in the foreseeable future so i had a potter. I enjoyed sightings of Blackbirds ( i had seen large numbers at Marden Quarry) Blue and Great Tits and a Treecreeper while i sat on the pond wall along with quite a few Crows while meandering around for five minutes. I was joined by Cain (Holywell Birding) who had also been out of the area recently and who i had already bumped into in Cullercoats and had expected to see here also. The bird was still tucked up and in the shade and Cain, who was on a tight schedule jokingly asked if i had any bread. While we waited we were joined by Mike Coates who it turned out is the chairman of The Friends of Northumberland Park and who gave us some interesting information on some of the species which inhabit the park. I knew the name and he confirmed that he regularly posted butterfly sightings on the north east conservation butterfly site. He also informed us that he had acquired monies from the Lottery Fund to do some work along the old coal railway line which runs into Tynemouth Metro Station. I look forward to visiting both that site and the park next year. They had Holly Blue butterflies in the park in April he told us, along with some other nice species.
Cain had to leave to do some studying and a few minutes later a local couple turned up and proceeded to feed the Mallards with a few slices of Mothers Pride ( it may have been Hovis's Best of Both thick cut, i must admit i'm no expert) and the Mandarin was out in the open and making his presence known as the ducks jostled for position in the bread fest.
I'm the dandy highwayman.......................
This was my first sighting of a male Mandarin and while it was .............interesting i must admit the view that both Cain and i had of a Grey Wagtail was actually more enjoyable. Anything but grey these birds, i reckon.
Grey ???? What the heck is grey about this beauty?
It WAS interesting. 
It has to be said that the quality of the water in the pond was a bit dodgy, to say the least, and this was confirmed by one of the couple who told me that his dog had jumped in on a previous visit and was stinking and had to be scrubbed down before he would let it in the house. I also had a couple of Crows sitting on the pond wall at one stage looking down a bit puzzled.

Click on image and press F11 for better views


  1. John,

    I know I am still with you, Never been away.

    How come you didnt have any sandwiches with you, could have used the bread for them or was it the Butlers day off and you didnt have the recipe to cook them.

    Great pics and I fully agree with you about the "dull" Grey Wagtail. We should get a campaign going to change its name to "The Half as Yellow as a Yellow Wagtail Wagtail"



  2. I would call it the " Not as Grey as the name would suggest Grey 'n Yella Wag" just to get the young 'uns interested. It was a morning trip out and back for lunch b4 (c wot i dun there?)heading up to the Sun hence no sarnies John.

  3. Thanks for the kind comment Stevie and keep the owl images on yer own blog coming please. You capture them in some nice situations and poses. Cracking stuff.

  4. Wow, what gorgeous photography! Especially the bird with the red & blue head.

  5. Thank you Kristen you are very kind with your comments. The bird in question is a Mandarin Duck. I don't know if you would see one in the USA.
    Thanks again.