Thursday, 27 December 2012

Skyfall ?

Male at Killingworth Lakes.
Called past Killy yesterday on the way to St. Marys' for thirty minutes but just hung out around the car park on the larger lake. A kerfuffle ensued as three ladies laden with large paper sacks started scattering feed. Swans, Canadas, Greylags, Coot, Mallards and gulls, mainly Black-headed, suddenly morphed into some sort of bird storm with the "wilder" species of duck keeping a safe distance.  In excess of twenty Goldeneye were more interested in each other anyway as one group of six males cavorted in front of a solitary female while another group, seven males and four females, were all trying to put their necks out. Marvellous to watch. Between forty and fifty Tufted Duck kept to the periphery initially before drifting in and seemingly diving for sunken booty and a dozen or so Pochard lingered with three juveniles looking rather smart.

 Nothing exceptional at the coast although it was pleasant enough. Dramatic skies on arrival with clouds ranging from white to light grey to an almost angry black, all stacked high on a clear blue background. That didn't last too long before the blue disappeared and the now ubiquitous rain started. Belting down, as it seems to these days.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Can i have a latte and a waxwing, please ?

"Certainly sir. Here is your latte, if you just procede up the ramp over there you will find your Waxwings. You have a choice of around fifty. Have a nice day." replied the nice uniformed fast food outlet employee.
Killingworth Waxwing doing a poor impersonation of an upturned vehicle near Dinnington.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Twelve, twelve, twelve.

In flight sequence of Great White Egret in Cumbria.
A very elegant bird viewed at a distance of around 100 metres on the saltmarsh in the vicinity of Cardurnock Flatts in the Solway Firth.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Druridge to Hauxley and back.

Rock Pipit      on the wrack.
Lack of posts recently due to lack of birding. The Blogger from Howdon has been much in demand for his photographic and video filming skills so i haven't been out with him for a couple of weekends and i've been tied up midweek. I had the car on Sunday so thought that i would park up at Druridge Bay and do the walk up to Hauxley that i've done a couple of times recently. On the way there the first bird of the day was a Kestrel directly overhead while travelling up the A19 closely followed by a Barn Owl hunting over fields close by Lynemouth Power Station. I pulled over hoping for further views while i finished off my Maclatte but sadly the bird had disappeared from view. I knew it was parky but the fifteen minutes i had spent hoping to relocate the Barn Owl had made me realise that it was , in fact, perishing cold.
On arrival at Druridge Pools i had kinda changed my mind about walking up to Hauxley and had contemplated using the car as a base to warm up in at various points along the route and taking shorter walks. I headed out to the Oddie Hide only to find 4 female Tufted Ducks on the water. A walk to the end of the banked area brought me 116 Curlew and i had a single Grey Heron, numerous Mallard and a few Wigeon from the hide overlooking the Budge Fields. I got back to the car with boots thickly coated in mud and the thought of changing footwear to drive elsewhere convinced me the the single walk would be the better option. It was bright enough but the wind did have a chill.
It was quiet on the way up to East Chevington with a nervous Finch flock the highlight. Numbering in the region of 200 i reckon 80% were Goldfinches and the rest Linnets. The North Pool at Chevy had the usual assortment and while there a couple of birders i talked to alerting me to the fact that they had heard the Bearded Tit/ s near the South Pool and while doing so had views of a Bittern lifting and dropping back to the reed beds. I gave the South Pool a "good listening" on the return leg but in much windier conditions expected and heard nothing. Low Hauxley held little of interest when i arrived  and i only visited the Tern Hide, having my bait while there, a male Goldeneye looking resplendent in the winter sun caught the eye.

Purple Sandpiper checking out the 'weed.
I always drop down to the beach near the outfall from Hauxley and ended up spending a very enjoyable hour or so watching at least a dozen Rock Pipits and a couple of Pied Wagtails flycatching while up to forty Turnstones scrutinised the seaweed. Some Redshanks flew in and landed but spotted me and lifted immediately. Hidden behind the dunes and out of the wind i decided to pull up a rock and have a coffee while enjoying the birdlife. Having initially thought i had only Turnstones probing the seeweed i was pleased to see a Purple Sandpiper emerge from behind one of the larger rocks on the shoreline before another two joined it. Fittingly, last bird of the day was another Kestrel hovering as i changed footwear on returning to the car.