Saturday, 21 March 2009
Quite a few people out walking although no one was in the key hide, opened shutters, checked book, a Iceland Gull and Common Buzzard had been seen at 11:00, this was 14:50, put bins up and there was the Iceland just flying round the pond, a nice Juv and my first for the area. It was gone within minutes. On the water there was 3 Canada Geese, Pair of Great Crested Grebes, 14 mallard, 28 Tufted, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Female Goldeneye, 9 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 6 Pochard, 7 Coot, and 5 Moorhen. A pair of Greylag were in the field. The feeding station was busy with Water Rail, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Pheasant and a cracking Male Reed Bunting.
Also about were Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, 1 Snipe, 1 Bumble Bee, and 2 Peacock Butterflies.
Sorry no pics this time.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
On the way back to the car I was joined by a flock of Long-tailed Tits. Due to the lack of time I drove to the car park up the road at Old Hartley, lazy I know, I walkd along the burn hoping for the Kingfisher as my neighbour seen it there the other day. No joys so off back to school.
When my dad got in a biked down to the Pond, the handles missing from the outside of the door, making it difficult to get in. I was hoping that the Little Gull from earlier on had returned, Northumbrian Birder was in the hide, he had no joys and nothing out of the ordinary. Quick scan and decided to bike down to the North Pool and the wagon way, hoping for Yellowhammer and some more waders. Along the track from the Public hide to the wagon way I was stopped by three toads, first for the year.
Picked up 2 Oystercacther, 2 Redshank and a lone Drake Shelduck on the North Pool.
Bike to the avenue but no luck with Yellowhammer, although I did see a Mistle Thrush on the wires. On my way back to the hide I heard some Linnets and then clocked them, there was 10 in total, and behind them was a Yellowhammer, another patch tick for the year.
Back at the hide for a tally up on the water there was 32 Tufted, Pair Great Crested Grebes, 8 Mallard, 5 Pochard, Pair Mute Swan, Pair Canada, 6 Greylag, 4 Coot, 7 Moorhen, and 14 Wigeon. 2 Grey Heron were saw flying South past Obelisk. A Stock Dove flew over the top of the hide, at 18:05 a large No. of Gulls descended onto the pond mostly GBB and Herring with 1 LBB amongst them. Roughly about the same time I saw the Kingfisher fishing from the far post, another patch tick for the year. Other birds around included 1 Song Thrush at gates, House Sparrow flock in hedgerow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, 5 Long-Tailed Tits, Blue Tit, Great tit, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Wren and Pheasant.
As I reached the Meadow Field next to the Beehive I heard 4 different Grey Partridge calling, 2 in horse field 2 in plough, they were accompanied by 8 Curlew.
73 for the patch list this year.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Last time I was down the Quarry there was a pair, but only seemed to be one today, you can't see on the phot very well be it also has a white/yellow forehead. I was thinking along the lines of hybrid, Barnacle X Canada, any ideas?
Last stop was Red House Farm Pond, Pair of Mallards, and a Moorhen were on the pond, with Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Chaffinch round about.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
The two Rookeries down there were busy with birds bringing bedding material, soft grasses, mosses etc, should be laying soon. Female Sparrowhawk over the burn put most of the Woodies up and made most birds express there grief. Lots of Goldfinch, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Jackdaws and Magpies about, with a couple of Carrion Crow on the sea-marsh bit. Feral Pigeon flock and a Song Thrush on my way back to the car. Quite a lot of Daffodils as well.
Next off to the Pond, got there about 17:30 and was greeted by a Song Thrush at the gates. On the pond there was 31 Wigeon, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Greylag, 1 Canada, 3 Mute Swan, 19 Tufted, 8 Mallard, Pair Shelduck, 4 Male and 1 Female Pochard, 4 Coot, 1 Common Gull, 3 Great Black Backed Gulls and a Moorhen. Also about Female Sparrowhawk, Reed Bunting, and 30+ Jackdaws moving West at 17:36.
Brings my patch list to 69.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
I was joined by Simon and he agreed the bird didn't look right, at 16:36 the Med Gull flew off to the west looking pretty fine other than the trailing leg, I guess it most of just of needed a rest and a drink to sort itself out. I follow Boulmer Birders blog I find his field notes and sketches amazing so I had a go drawing the pattern of black feathering on the head and the beak pattern, I also noticed the amount of the black this gull had on its wings, which I made note of. Here are two poor quality pictures I took, the 2nd to show wing pattern.
Scanning the rest of the gulls I found 2 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, amongst Herring, Common, and Black Headed. On the pond in the way of wildfowl there was 40+ Greylag, 2 Canada, 16 Mallard, 2 Great Crested Grebes performing the reed dance, 1 Little Grebe, 15 Tufted, 21 Wigeon, 6 Pochard, 2 Teal, and 2 Mute Swan, 6 Coot, Moorhen and a Grey heron were also on the pond. The feeding station was relatively quiet with 2 Long-Tailed Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker being the highlights. Large Numbers of Goldfinch were in Birch Trees at main gates, and the usual House Sparrow flock in hedgerow leading from estate.
A walk down to the public hide produced 1 Curlew with 3 overhead. i decided to have a walk down to the Obelisk to look for Little Owl and Partridge. When I got down there I picked up 2 Red-Legged Partridge almost straight away they were feeding under a pheasant feeder, also down that way I seen a few Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Rook and a Brown Hare which was new for the area.
I continued down to the path leading to Dene travelling through tall hawthorns, 5 Linnets, Female Sparrowhawk and more Song Thrush were in this area. Quick check of the North Pool produce nothing, then it was off home at 18:30.
Good evening with 45 species, bringing my patch list to 67.
Oh had a Song Thrush on Newsteads Drive on the way to school this morning as well, hopefully they'll breed again.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
I'm sure there must be more younger people with an interest, not a great deal more, whether through life this interest withers away, through school, street cred, girls or probably parents I'm not completely sure, but it must disappear almost completely. Also the way of life has changed, I sit in awe when I hear the stories of my dad going everywhere not a care in the world, doing everything, ALWAYS outside, knowing most species of bird and mammals, building camps, tree houses, camping, making fires, just simply walking any distance, and being out in any weather. There was a passion, which seems to be lacking in young people today.
I see it at my local Scout troup, if you read Robert-Baden Powell's Scouting for Boys its amazing what they did and learnt, the current Scouting authorities do not encourage these sorts of outdoors activities. Encouragement is key to continuing the interest of your surroundings, every kid has that interest, but as we get older it dies away if were not careful. I say stick in to any young person out there who has a passion for the natural world, in any aspect.
Enough of my rant, back to birds...
We made our way up to the Lough over the heather, when we reached the top someone was having a fishing retreat and the bird was nowhere to be seen. Another birder joined us quick scan and we began walking round the lough, scanning the skyline I spotted what looked like the bird, quick look through a scope and it was positive. It was West of the lough quite a way away, walking up it dropped off the horizon, once at other side it couldn't be found until we began walking back to the Lough. Brilliant views of a bird which I had never seen before, it was bigger than I pictured, after about 30 seconds it moved slightly then off into the willows at the back of the lough.
We followed a well worn deer track back to the car, others birds around included Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Common Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Song Thrush, and a group of Carrion Crows.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
I volunteer and generally help out at a Falconry business at Stonehaugh, http://www.northumberland-falconry.com/, on my way I drive up the old Military Road. About 1.5 mile up the hill from the Chollerford bridge (going towards Wark), there's a small wood, 2/3 on the left hand side of the road and a 1/3 on the right. Theres a cottage set back in the field to the right with no road access. I have known for a few years that this is the congregation point for all the Rooks and Jackdaws in the area, before they take flight for the roost.
On Sunday I pulled into the layby and watched the happenings of the flock, the noise was unbelievable. Every now and again as a car passed with its headlights on, the whole flock would take flight, sounding like the roar of the waves I'm familiar with down the coast. I wouldn't like to guess the number of birds present, in the hundreds I would think, with a proportionally larger amount of Jackdaws than Rooks, and large numbers of Rooks arriving just as the light fades.
As each group or pair of birds arrive they seem to drop into the congregation like leaves falling from a tree, landing on the outside branches. At 18:15 the whole roost left in one motion, flying over the plantation behind the cottage, here the mystical roost flight process begins, with the whole flock moving as one, swirling and diving in the Sky. Unfortunately at this point the light faded and watching the flock became more difficult. A amazing experience which I think, if you already haven't seen then you most see for yourself.
I would thoroughly recommend reading 'Crow Country' by Mark Cocker.
If anyone knows of a local roost site, or wants more detailed directions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org