Sunday, 31 March 2013

Lucky Dip Saturday.

Still quiet on the migrant front so THE Howdon Blogger and i kept local again and headed over Gateshead way. The River Derwent was our main target with Dippers the obvious objective. An easy one really and we were straight onto a pair initially. Great to see nesting material being collected and the nest was duly located. Classic spot, tucked in by overhanging girder supports. A third bird appeared and was immediately chased off upstream with one of the pair in hot pursuit.
Derwent Dippers.
 It wasn't just the Dippers that captured our attention. Grey Wagtails and a Blue Tit explored the nooks and crannies in the block work close by and Long-tailed Tits and Wrens made their presence known above our heads.
Food or a possible nesting site ?

Thornley Woods brought us 3 Yellowhammers a slumbering Roe Deer and a distant Jay.
Far Pastures, very little from the hide and enjoyable antics in the car park from 4 Dunnocks.
Lamesley Water Meadows looked good but was disappointing.
The Sherburn Towers bus stop brought us fabulous views of the aerial antics of at least 7 Red Kites. On 3 occasions pairs interacted but one particular episode had 2 birds on the ground. A possible mating seemed on the cards with feathers being tugged but what we perceived to be the female lifted and dropped down again twice more, around 20 metres away but as the other bird approached it moved and eventually lifted. A third Red Kite joined in but this caused the birds to disperse. All the action was just too distant for cameras.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Your bill, sir.

Having cancelled Saturdays regular jaunt with THE Howdon Blogger i was desperate to get out for a few hours today. The wind wasn't as strong as it has been but it was certainly just as biting.
As has been the case for the last couple of weeks nothing much to report with one exception. I finally caught up with a Crossbill at Swallow Pond. Just the one. It was on the main wagonway just as you turn into the meadow plantation high in one of the conifers. I looked for its mates but none were to be seen.
A flock of around 300 Starling were feeding in the sheep field but no Short-eared Owls appeared and a pair of Coal Tits in the hedge of the Bowman Field was just about the only other distraction.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A couple of images.

Not much to write up on over the last ten days or so.  The Rising Sun this after. was disappointing, not even a Shortie. Saturday day out with The Howdon Blogger was held over to Sunday so we could enjoy The Birds of  Hamsterley Forest but the venture into the forest was cancelled as the roads were blocked by snow. We reconvened at Low Barns with John seeing a Marsh Tit. I had drifted on ahead and missed it and it was quiet thereafter. We called by Rainton Meadows on the return journey and again not much about with two pairs of Oystercatchers noisily jostling for possession of one of the islands being the highlight.
Here are those couple of images that have nothing to do with the above.
Nuthatch at Far Pastures from a couple of weeks back.
Wren in plantation ditch at Swallow Pond

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

On thin ice.

Not me, Jenny Wren.

This little beauty was following the ditch in the meadow plantation at the Rising Sun yesterday afternoon. I enjoyed cracking views for a good thirty minutes as it explored all the nooks and crannies and vegetation in search of food. This was one of 3 Wrens i saw. 
Unsurprisingly, my only company when i arrived at the pit heap was a Black-headed Gull. It was absolutely freezing as a perishing easterly not only had the eyes watering but felt as if it was pinching any uncovered skin. My exposed vantage point did bring me an almost immediate sighting of a Short-eared Owl which i saw drop to the ground in the "sheep field". Fifteen minutes up there was enough and i dropped down to the wagonway beside the field where the Owl was. It had lifted and landed on a post some 25 metres away and there it sat for the twenty minutes i watched before heading down to the main hide. I passed within 4 foot of the bird as i walked behind it on the other side of the hedge. The yellow eyes of the bird were locked on to me, the Owl ready to evacuate if i stopped moving but as i continued on it stayed put. I've watched the Shorties on quite a few occasions on fence posts at the base of the pit heap backed onto paths with dog walkers and horse riders passing close behind and on an estimated 12 out of 15 times the birds have remained on the post. The passers by totally unaware of what was sat close by.
Nothing of note on Swallow Pond so i concentrated on the meadow plantation hoping to see the long staying Crossbills but no luck. I did pick up on 2 Goldcrests in the conifers and a pair of Coal Tits were heard before being located. As i headed back home 8 Fieldfare were spotted with 2 of them bathing in a hidden from sight pool and a mixed Tit flock worked their way along the path. I had disturbed numerous Blackbirds scratching about on the ground during my visit.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

One shade of grey.

That's what the HOWDON BLOGGER and i had to contend with on a dire Saturday. The first image, of the tug named Svitzer Sun, heading out of the Tyne to greet the two ferries that arrived while we were there gives you some idea of the conditions at sea. This resulting in quite large numbers of Eider in and around the gut at North Shields Fish Quay with two rafts catching the eye from the bank top close to the High Lights and the statue of Stan Laurel at Dockwray Square.
This was before the vessel had reached the bar !
We picked up on the Glaucous Gull fairly quickly from our high vantage point before dropping down to the quay passing the site of the old Tyne Brand factory. The conditions were awful with an icy easterly driving freezing rain so after the bird disappeared after a very quick view we didn't hang around too long for it to return.
I must include an image of the bird on the shed roof...........everyone else has !!

"Not another pic of me on a blog, i hope. You ever heard of overkill. Remember what happened to snooker in the eighties?" thinks the young Glauc.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Gilly goings on.

I'm sure most of you follow the Serenity boat trips blog but if you do not please click on the link to see cracking footage of the first Guillemots on the Farne Islands taken from the boat.
This is not a Gilly.
G S W from last weekend at Gossy Park