Friday, 8 July 2022

Another day, another Falcon

 Back down in Kent so my son could take his mam to centre court at Wimbledon. I had a day out at Cliffe Pools on Tuesday and apart from seeing my first rare SHRILL CARDER BEE and before that a pair of GREAT CRESTED GREBES performing the "weed dance" the highlight was a juvenile PEREGRINE FALCON landing on the sea wall which protects the reserve and surrounding area from the mighty River Thames on the other side. After a couple of fly byes the bird reappeared barely 20 metres away giving stunning views before a Herring Gull took a dislike and dive bombed a few times causing the beauty to move on, sadly.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Two nice rare birds...... dirty rotten twitcher !

 I was already down in Kent house/ cat sitting when this bird turned up so i had to have a day (i actually went twice) birding so headed down to Worth Marsh via Sandwich Bay Observatory. 


This wasn't the only Falcon present..... a Red-footed Falcon and numerous Hobbies hunted the surrounding fields. On my first visit within a period of thirty minutes i had the Red-footed, a Hobby and then the Eleanoras. All slightly too distant for decent images but it was a memorable half hour.
Saturday gone i picked up Gary from Ashington at 4 a.m. for our trip up to Long Nanny to see the other rarity.


On arrival at Long Nanny we had nine Little Gull on or around the tank blocks close to the footbridge then within ten minutes the American Black Tern lifted doing a quick circuit then back down into the marran grass. Easy peasy ??? Sadly not, this was our only sighting and my images aren't the best but fantastic seeing it in flight. I spent more time watching the bird than taking pics thinking i'd concentrate more on that on it's next flight. Little Terns doing well according to wardens despite the high tides. The close proximity to nesting Arctic Terns was in fact the highlight of the morning. And they didn't once make a deposit or try to draw blood !!!


....and what it's all about NEW LIFE

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Returning Iceland ?

 Monday was my first day out for some time having contracted Covid (despite all the precautions) and then developing further complications in the form of a clot on my lung. While i'm still not 100% i feel that i'm well on the way to recovery thanks to the wonderful NHS staff at my GPs practice and Cramlington hospital. I ventured down to Tynemouth first and headed out along the pier. Funny how times have changed, i used to go along and could spend an hour on my own along by the lighthouse and be asked if i had seen anything by folks who had gone along for the walk. Following the large number of sightings particularly in the last couple of years of dolphins recently when i walked along the pier a large group, many with cameras and BIG lenses appear to be camped out there waiting for the dolphins to "put on a show" It's a bit like how things developed at Cresswell with the barn owls !

I was actually rewarded with a pod of 8+ Bottle-nosed Dolphins myself although they were just out of range for any decent images but the views through the bins were cracking as they interacted and tail slapped before slowly drifting off north. There were a few Auks still in view also but nothing like the numbers a couple of months back, i'm pleased to say. From Tynemouth off down to North Shields Fish Quay for an hour. Not expecting to see too much i suddenly saw a white winged gull lift from the outer quayside then proceed to patrol along the edge of said quay and river. A couple of passes in i thought to myself "You've been here before my friend" thinking back on an Iceland Gull which, over the last couple of winters had done the exact same thing of often sticking to that outer quay. On further inspection i reckoned it looked to be a 3rd winter bird which fitted in exactly with this gull returning. An Iceland Gull turned up two winters ago as a juvenile and last year a 2nd winter bird showed up, both times an Iceland Gull flew back and forth along the full length of the same area between the lifeboat station and the end of The Gut. Having posted pics of the bird on Twitter a couple of the locals expressed their views that this might be a returning bird. It would be nice to think so.

So my first day back out again was excellent, but as you all know i might not see anything interesting again for a while. That doesn't matter in my book. Just being out in the fresh air and enjoying the peace and tranquillity that can be had is the most important thing. You can't put a price on how much that is good for the soul and your health.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

It's getting 'otter

 It sure was at Cresswell on a wild and windy first day of restriction easing on Monday. Despite the "fresh" (as described on BBC weather, more SEVERE GUSTS in my book) wind the birds on the Budge showed reasonably well. Notables being pairs of Pintail, Lesser black-backed Gull, Black-tailed Godwit and a single Avocet. 50 plus pairs of Shoeveler, the highest number i recall seeing here, were spread around all of the site. I absolutely HATE windy days and didn't fancy the walk up to Chev so returned to Cresswell where i had seen 18 Avocets north of the causeway on the way up at first light, Apart from the Avocets, which were hunkered down on the sand bar, only a male Red-breasted Merganser caught the eye as everything else was tucked away on the western shore. Thinking "I'm not going to be here long and i'll head down to the beach and shelter from the wind" i was expecting to be on the move however two Otters appeared and proceeded to play fight and feed for the next 90 minutes with the exception of twice when they disappeared into the reedbeds for around 10 minutes each time. Obviously wonderful to observe as they moved to most parts of the pool BUT never came reasonably close to the hide. No complaints here. They were still around when i left as a couple of folk had arrived in the hide and that was the signal for me to exit. Despite the fact that an unbelievable number of people seem to think things have improve re this pandemic i am still social distancing and disinfecting an surfaces i come into contact with. No ease up as far as i'm concerned !!!!

Here's a quite heavily cropped image of the otters who might be last years young 'uns judging by their similar size and antics. There might be a few more to follow. Also i quite like this image of some of the Avocets that must have move to the north end of the pool and decided to relocate back.


Saturday, 6 March 2021

Killingworth visit

 My first visit since last year. A bit of rain in the air so it wasn't too busy. Lovely seeing 2 pairs of Great Crested Grebes back and displaying along with a dozen or so Goldeneye. A male and 2 female Goosander made up the other interesting birds on the lakes. A togger with a huge lens was encamped on the wall in front of the smaller lake with gaze transfixed on the GCGs (what else ?) so he missed this nice photo opportunity as one of the female Goosanders decided to relocate. I hope that he was happy with at least one of his probable two thousand GCG images taken. LOL