Monday, 19 December 2011

Stone me, more Shorties.

Having suffered a foot injury while out walking in Thrunton Woods last weekend a hobble along to Prestwick was the only venture out last week so it was fantastic to get out again on Sunday even if the wind cut right through. I parked up at Druridge Pools and headed straight up for East Chevington and almost immediately picked up on my hoped for species. A pair of Stonechats were feeding slightly apart in the dunes while a large party of Goldfinches lifted and dropped at different points around them. In the arable fields to my west as i continued on were Lapwings and Starlings galore interspersed with Curlews, Crows and a handful of Rooks. The track had been reasonable underfoot up to this point but was getting really icy now and care had to be taken in between looking around and looking down. The first of my Short-eared sightings occurred as i approached the north pool at East Chevington with two interacting and hunting, again the dunes being the location. The light was fantastic, the setting superb but the photographer inept so no images were collected as they continued, a little distantly as it happens, with a few dog walkers oblivious as they passed overhead. Adding to the scenic views were three Highland Cattle browsing in the tall grasses, stunning beasts, a joy to observe!
Isn't he/she a beaut. (never thought to look)
Lunch was taken in one of the "ice box" hides. The twenty or so minutes spent mainly entertained by a couple of male Goldeneye who dropped in with their female counterparts and a few Pintails caught the eye on the far bank. The return journey was a bit quieter but as i left East Chevingtons reed beds and crossed the small bridge two more Shorties appeared, this time overhead, but they came out of the sun so were already past me by the time the camera was located. Back at Druridge ten minutes in the Oddie hide brought me a tucked up Green-winged Teal while the walk back to the car brought me a bruised backside as i fell down twice in twenty seconds, ironically, as i had previously covered over 7 km without coming a cropper. Light had just about gone so i called off at Cresswell to see if the Barn Owl was going to show and was informed by two separate guys who had been in the hide that a Great Northern Diver which had been about for only five minutes had not long flown off onto the sea. A chilly hour around the farm buildings and track brought no joy with the Barnie.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Missing Hen Harriers

Read this from Raptor Politics,.

If you don't have it on your blog list i would suggest you add it.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hair cut yesterday, blow dry today.

It was a bit breezy out there today and there was a tad more than a nither in the wind. The back of the neck was feeling the chill.
Getting binoculars, scopes and bags out of the car was a struggle at sunny Newbiggin by the Sea this morning but more than worth it. Killy Birder and i flew Mary Poppinesque along the shoreline to Beacon Point as right at the end of the beach the Desert Wheatear was spotted immediately. Enjoying great views in excellent photographic light Brian said "Go on, get in close and get a shot" "No" i replied. "I'll enjoy the views and get an image in a while" GUESS WHAT?  The bird became "mobile" and it was suddenly easier to capture an image of an empty crisp packet in a wind tunnel!! The little darling tormented the life out of the two of us along the cliff edge all the way along to the raised tee of the fifth hole on the golf course. It then, in the blink of an eye, vanished. "OH DEAR" i thought to myself. Everyone who had seen it earlier had commented on how accommodating it was. PHOOEY!. We kept blaming the wind. It was a stunner mind.
We did continue to foolishly kid ourselves we would relocate on the return journey. DID WE BOLLOCKS.
By way of consolation a bird was hopping along the path between the cliff edge and golf course and there was a bonny Snow Bunting. Not a bad second prize. Again no images as the bird was very flighty. Brian spotted a single Med. Gull on the main beach just before we left to head up the coast.
Cresswell water levels were very high and after a shortish visit to the hide the only birds worth mentioning was the large flock of Wigeon just north of the causeway in the field, this flock were commented on by a guy later on. Druridge Pools bypassed we continued on to East Chevington to be greated by a mini twitch of birders by hide number one all focused on the Greater Yellowlegs. I saw part of this bird a couple of weeks ago in the same location but that time the important part namely the legs were submerged, selfishly, it was wading, but today it was on the bank. An Otter was pointed out to us on a couple of occasions. Both times it was feeding, the first time it was wrestling with a large Eel, the second it was on the middle island with a much smaller fish. Some other nice birds were seen here but i'll let Brian continue the story here
I must put an image up so here is another of "Red" from the Rising Sun yesterday
Cracking days birding. Thanks Killy.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Stag gering pose.

Well, an interesting one.
I was told to get out and get my christmas hair cut by the gaffer and while out i visited the Rising Sun. Pleased i did as i hadn't seen the male Red Deer for quite a while. Always enjoyable, even if it was just as the sun was disappearing. He's a handsome beast, especially now with the antlers looking so good.
Nice to see also that the 8 European White-fronted Geese are still enjoying the sweet grass in the horses field and still very close to the waggonway. If you haven't already i would suggest you pop along if you would like a nice close view of these stunning might see the stag also. On Swallow Pond a single Whooper Swan and a couple of male Shovelers the highlights while the Dukes Pond Kestrel was hovering looking for its last meal of the day, as usual.

Monday, 5 December 2011

A couple from P.C.

A couple of images from last week taken at iso in excess of 3200 in very poor light but "touched up" in Lightroom. The rain started within minutes of me arriving at Prestwick Carr despite the forecast and i spent the next 45 minutes in the car.Post deluge i headed along for hopefully a late lunch showing by the Short-eared Owls and on the way came across a large flock of Redwing and Fieldfare. They were stretched along the hedgerow of the bumpy road and out onto the Carr. As usual as i got closer they lifted and either moved further along the road in front or out to join the others in various trees and bushes to my right. I hung fire by the small bridge and a few were brave enough to come back attracted by the large amount of food on offer.
The owls had indeed put back the lunchtime showing due to the rain. I was treat to over an hour of the birds, 5 at one stage, feeding and interacting. I left them still showing hoping for a view of the Shrike but struck out there.
I bumped into Brian (Killy Birder) with a lady friend who he was taking to see the owls as i headed back towards Mayfair Cottage and on to try and find the Bean Geese in the company of Peter (PC Wanderings). Brian fared well and had excellent sightings it transpired, whereas Peter and i ended up with distant objects about as far away in the field as was possible through the gloom which may have been geese.