Friday, 13 June 2014

Black-winged Pratincole, Hauxley. Right place right time, just.

THE Howdon Blogger picked me up at 4.30a.m. as arranged and we headed up to the Druridge Bay area. The plan was to call in at Cresswell, Druridge Pools, East Chev.,Hauxley and Amble (for lunchtime)
Anyway, having been to Cresswell and while at Dru Pools due to timing we decided to go to Hauxley next as it would be best for THE Bloggers chip fuel stop. As we headed there Great White Egret, Hauxley came up on Johns phone. Champion.
Enjoying nice views of the Egret from the Wader Hide with occasional interactions from the Grey Herons we noticed the Tern Hide opposite was rather crowded. A Red-breasted Goose had also been reported earlier so thought that was the reason for one or two arms and legs projecting from the openings. Jokingly John pretended to shout  across the reserve in the hides direction " The Great Whites over here !!" There was plenty other activity with Oystercatchers continually peeping and posturing around the edges of the islands and Shellduck squabbling on the water. The seemingly day trip for some of the residents of the Washington Wetland Centre, a number of the geese, also provided splendid entertainment. We were literally leaving the hide when a gentleman came in and said "There's a Pratincole  over in front of the Tern Hide"
In double quick time we set off but about half way round a message came up that a Black-winged Stilt was there. The bird has shape shifted !!! As we approached the hide a respected birder was leaving with his faithful companion ( a fine beast, i may add) and said "There's a Black-winged Pratincole out there and don't let anyone tell you different"  TOUCHE.
John got a seat in the front row but i was at the rear and managed a couple of squatted chances at viewing and photo opportunities but the bird lifted barely five minutes after we arrived. The bird was being tracked in flight by those at the front and i went outside to try to get views. The bird circled a few times but i only got on it once and it was high. I deleted almost all of the in  flight shots there and then. Much debate ensued on going back into the hide  and a few people had canny images of the bird on the ground. The debate was still continuing as we left and here are 3 abysmal images i captured. The in flight one, although embarrassing, i kept just in case it helped with i.d.
Heavily cropped

Here's one you can play "SPOT THE PRAT" on.             Yes, i know. He's holdimg the camera.
All awful, i'm sure you'll agree.
Back to the geese. There were 7 Bar-headed, the Red-breasted, a Swan Goose, the Egyptian Goose looked quite a home there and many Canadas and Greylags, as you can imagine. A strange scene at times  when they drifted about on the water.
Cresswell earlier had 18 Little Gull and 20 plus Black-tailed Godwit. Barn Owl made brief appearance. We were privileged to witness a pair of Avocets mate then they walked off with the male covering his partners back briefly with his wing. 3 Otters briefly appeared distantly in front of the reeds nearest the causeway. WE THOUGHT IT COULDN'T GET ANY BETTER AT THAT STAGE.
The Druridge Budge Field had 2 Spoonbill and 2 Little Egret. The main pool was quiet.
East Chevington also was relatively quiet.

UPDATE  Check out Hector Galleys images HERE on Birdguides. He did have a ringside seat (that's my excuse)


  1. John,

    fancy doing a competition on your blog then supplying the answer before any of us have a chance to get it right (and we all would have)

  2. If you had read it earlier you would know i left it at least 4 hours before i edited the post and added the answer. Nobbody got it right b4 i did (although they were all thinking it, presumably)