Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Did you know ???

The only way to sex a Red Kite was with a blood sample..........I didn't until Harold Dobson told Trai Anfield that fact on the Radio 4 programme Urban Kites, part of The Living World series.
Take 23minutes 15 seconds out of your busy day and join Harold and Trai overlooking the Derwent Valley in Gateshead.You'll be pleased you did.
Click here for the link or go to the BBC i player.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I moron

I kid you not. I've just posted a comment on Liverbirders blog and to prove i'm not a robot i had to type.....Imoron 1678.
Question does it know????
While i'm on, i've visited the Rising Sun three times in the last ten days or so and had regular sightings of Short-eared Owls on the old pit heap except on Saturday when i called by only because i had attended a hospital appointment and it was heaving with screaming sledders. Loads of birds on the feeders at Scaffold Farm including Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers. No sighting of the Bittern for me. No hoped for Water Rails in the plantation ditches and i'm not prepared to lift the Jack Snipe just to view it. I did however have views of one of the Little Owls in the usual "cubby hole" near the Organic Farm. NICE.

So there you have it. I'm not a robot i'm a moron and my name isn't even Gordon. Blame Jilted John for that one not Moronic John all you Gordons out there.

Friday, 11 January 2013

3 Waxwings, 265 Greylags and over 600 Pinkies.

With the sun shining i headed down to St. Marys' via Holywell on Wednesday. I had seen around 30 geese lift from cultivated fields as i passed through Backworth and they headed in an easterly direction so i was on the lookout as soon as i arrived in Holywell Village. Only gulls in the fields to the west of the members hide so i continued on to the public one.  I was stopped in my tracks by 3 birds distantly on the highest tree some 25 metres before the hide. 3 Waxwings. I had to take a number of steps into the quagmire masquerading as a farmers field to get an image. I observed them doing nowt much for 10 minutes before going into the hide to view the pond. A party of Greylags, some in the field some on the water took to the air just as i sat down and disappeared over the treeline to my right. They were probably the birds i had seen in Backworth. The pond was quiet so i left and checked out the tree along the path again but the Waxwings had gone.
High in the sky.
The east flood field was alive with a cacophony of sound lifting from it. 265 geese were strewn across the whole area. I checked them out, all were Greylags but the highlight was seeing water back in this field again. This had promised to be an interesting new site as the field around the water held a large area of mud before the water disappeared underground. I crossed the wagonway to see if i could see any Shorties but none were about but there were in excess of 600 Pink-footed Geese in front of the obelisk. I didn't check these out and was gutted to see a Tundra Bean Goose reported yesterday.
Having spent more time in Holywell than i had planned the tide was much higher than i had hoped so nothing much to report at St. Marys'

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Blagger luvs a fishcake.

..........and as soon as the Howdon whippersnapper had finished said fishcake and some of his chips his attention was turned to luring a Mediterranean Gull from its perch on a nearby lamp post. John, George, Paul and Ringo, Bob's your uncle, the bird was suitably lured. Unfortunately so where 24 Black-headed Gulls which made a hoped for in flight shot more awkward.
Med. chip snaffler. Newburn Bridge, Hartlepool.
The Merlin from the Saltholme hide was indeed the highlight on Saturday but a Black-throated Diver passing less than two metres overhead as it lifted from the marina at Hartlepool when a small launch motored towards it came a very close second. Great-crested Grebe and Merganser new birds for me this year and the company made it a cracking days birding. I can't remember NOT having a good day down Teesmouth way.
I called into Gosforth Park this afternoon for ninety minutes or so and slip, sliding away were words that spring immediately to mind. I think all of the Blue Tits from the reserve must have been at the feeding station. A Treecreeper was another first this year but the rest of my visit was quiet. Three more words.......mild, muddy and murky.
Having enjoyed an image of the "Big River" as Brian, Killy Birder called the Tyne in his post i thought i would post one i took around a month ago when my wife and i took our older grandson "on a boat", the Shields ferry. The sun shone !
Looking out towards the North Sea, my home town North Shields on the left.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Sorry, only got five minutes.

I was going to call by Leazes Park but no mention of the Slav. for a second day put paid to that. On returning from the Ponteland cattery i called in at Prestwick Carr for a couple of hours. I wasn't going to make the same mistake as last time when i forgot to put the necessary footwear/ swimwear in the boot of the car to enable me to negotiate the high water levels. Not as bad as last time but waterproof footwear is still required if you want to walk more than a hundred metres up towards the sentry box.
Nothing much on the way up with fifty plus Lapwing the stand out in the flooded horses field. A Goldcrest, the crown shining like a beacon in the gloom, went about its business in amongst a loose flock of Long-tailed Tits. A Buzzard appeared from the hedgerow on my left and drifted into the the tallest trees in the wood. As i made my way back in the direction of Mayfair Cottage i turned to look skywards as i heard the beating wings of Mute Swans but to my surprise the two Mutes were accompanied by three Whooper Swans. All five birds came to rest on the flooded horses field but some way in front of me. I had barely gotten as close as possible before they decided their time at Preswick was up and off they flew. Shortly before leaving just over sixty Pink-footed Geese flew overhead.
Awful light = high iso= poor image.
Quick guys, lets get out of here before that PC Wanderer sees us.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Congratulations London !!

While half a dozen of the struggling European countries clubbed together and had a communal firework display consisting of  20 bangers, 8 rockets, 8 roman candles, 5 fountains and a packet of sparklers ( kindly donated by Greece) London spent *!^+*#@** pounds.
AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR. Obviously things aren't as bad in this country as was made out.

Looking back on 2012 ?
 Well, two things spring to mind. Thundery Thursday. We hope to get back home at the end of the month and the hours spent in the company of the Blagger from Howdon ( no, that's not a spelling mistake) and the knowledge, both birding and photographically, that he has passed on to me. His wisdom knows no bounds and i am a much better person for it.
I just hope the promise of large lattes ( that's coffee for those who don't know) for the whole of 2013 if i said nice things about him holds up.
I did make a major discovery also. Macdonalds actually do produce something that looks and tastes palatable, their coffee. Mind, i haven't been brave enough to try anything else.