Saturday, 12 March 2016

Oot n aboot the last couple of weeks.

In no particular order.
Had no luck with the Black Redstart at Tynemouth (it has gone now) and this lush Grey Wagtail was some consolation.No white wingers at North Shields Fish Quay on the way there.

Work continues on the culvert under the Cresswell to Dru Pools road so have only called into Cressy the once in the last 5 weeks or so. Nothing too much of interest as the LB Dowitcher was missing and a spring tide the night before meant that water levels were disappointingly high. Called by Newbiggin on the way up and had a couple of Med Gulls.

Straight after Woodhorn Church gave me many common species getting into the springtime mood before this Buzzard breezed over.

Another day around the Druridge Pools area a Scaup was noted on the main pool. (heavily cropped image)

The Budge Field has a mixture of winter and spring birds now. Many Wigeon and Teal plus the odd Pintail still in residence but numbers of Lapwings with the first displaying birds at the beginning of the week begin to grow. Curlew numbers are still quite high as are Shoveler. Short-eared Owls still patrol, mainly in the dunes, with lunchtime a regular time to see one. The odd early Barn Owl sighting becoming more often around Dru while i had 2 Barnies another day a bit further up the coast in the early evening within 15 minutes of each other. This guy flew almost directly over me.

While the next bird was flying in the vicinity of one of my favourite late summer Dragonhunting sites. There's a small "educational pond" with a platform and a couple of seats and it's a cert for Common Darters and occasional Hawkers and is the site of my only encounter (sound only) of a Bearded Tit at E Chevington.

Not the greatest images as the light was fading fast and ironically a ribbon of cloud had drifted over the sun shortly before the Barnies appeared. The light had been superb as can be seen in this image of one of the "beasts" at E Chev.

What a difference a bit of light makes.
Around 400 Pinkfeet have been hanging around the Druridge fields with 4 White-fronts in amogst them but i always catch up with them when the light has gone. 16 Whoopers have also been knocking about the same area with 12 of them sometimes in the same vicinity as the Pinkfeet but the other 4, a family party of 2 adults and 2 juveniles have always been in the field opposite the cottages as you approach Dru Pools. Occasionally they all hook up. Here the "dirty dozen" dropped onto the Budge briefly before continuing on the join the other 4.

A walk down to the burn mouth at Chevington is a must now to see how the Ringed Plovers which breed on the beach there are doing. Plenty of interaction (when not being disturbed by dog walkers) with 24 Sanderling and a single Turnstone joining the 15 RPs the other day. Have been guaranteed soaring Skylarks for the last week and i had a couple, one calling from a prominent tussock while the other only lifted a metre or so while calling, very close together as i headed to see the R. Plovers. On the way back 2 birds, which i presumed were the same birds, were locked in a ferocious battle on the ground. They rolled about in the grass for a good 30 seconds battling away before disappearing down a small bank and out of sight. A couple of images of our fabulous Skylarks to finish.


  1. Nice post - good to see (or at least read about) some of the places I used to visit ages ago. I saw my first Med Gull at Shibdon Pond in Gateshead.

    I wonder if you would be interested in linking your bird blog posts to Wild BIrd Wednesday - a blog link up that runs on my photo-blog from Wednesday (!) to Sunday. About 40 other bird bloggers already join in. The whole linking 'thing' takes about 30 seconds!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Hi Stewart. how's life treating you "down under". I've got a sister in law living in Adelaide who i've visited twice and love Oz. The second time we came over we decided to drive the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne but there was so much to see we didn't get as far as Melbourne in the limited time we had. Got as far as Halls Gap in the Grampians before we had to get back so sis in law & family could get away for a few days while we looked after their place & animals for them.
      You mentioned Shibdon Pond, it has been getting many visitors this winter as they had 20,000 Starlings roosting there and doing their famous murmuration before they dropped into the reed beds. One of natures spectacles !
      I'm quite happy linking up but you will have to walk me thro' as i'm not a great tekkie.
      I don't blog as much as i used to since i discovered Twitter as i find the short instant format suits me and i can tweet something out as i think of it wild i'm out. I find that i used to forget half of the stuff i was going to write.
      Great to speak to you, so to speak, and tell me what to do to link up.
      Best wishes,

    2. The Tynemouth redstart may well have gone now - it being a week since you posted this - but it *was* still present on March 12 as I spent a very nice morning photographing it that day!

      Dave Howlett

  2. Hi Dave,
    Just seen your posting. I'm sure i saw a reported sighting for either Saturday 19th or Sunday 20th March. Must still be there. Mevvies everyone's seen it (except me) and nobody's looking for it so it isn't getting reported but has been there all this time.