Saturday, 13 February 2010

Look What The Wind Blew In

St Mary's at 11:15 hrs, North Bay chokka with Ringed Plover, Knot, Lapwing, Sanderling, the odd Curlew, a few Rock Pipits, one or two Oystercatcher and one Barwit.  Bloody freezin', winds from the north.

When do White Wagtails arrive?  I am positive there was one in the first car park at St Mary's, along with a Pied Wagtail.  Thoughts?

I was stealthily (for a man with an ailment) trying to get near when a taxi pulled in and the birds pulled out!

14:15 hrs, three Waxwings at Wideopen, in the apple tree (still with red apples on it), Stalks Road, south side, 100 yards east of the A1 bridge.

If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry, each time we meet.......'s because before last weekend's stonkin' session (oooo-errrr, Mrs Gimlet!) I went A over T on black ice (just like the 'Where there's blame, there's a claim' woman on the wet office foyer floor) and appear to have fractured a rib!  Coughs and sneezes might spread diseases, but right now they also feckin' hurt!  And for the next five weeks will continue to do!!

Early Riser

Up at 7 am and out with the pup at 7:20 hrs today for trot (for 'trot' read squelch/wade/trudge) from home to WHBP and back.  Pleasant but quiet, with less that 20 species noted.  Immature Mute Swan, two Herring Gulls and a few dozen Teal on the water, the ducks taking to the air as two Common Buzzards flew through.  One settled in a nearby-ish tree along with a brown raptor the same size as the Crows that mobbed it.  Too far to see clearly with the bins and through the tree's twigs and branches, I would guess a female Sparrowhawk.  They are the highlights, next stop St Mary's later this morning.  Au revoir!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Stonkin' Weekend

Me and my Chief Spotter went up north for the weekend, a slightly premature anniversary stop over at Doxford Hall, after five hours around Holy Island.  We arrived just after 11 am, to be met by a zillion Brent Geese, as well as the usual wader species.  I have been using my BlackBerry to access Birdguides via the net and this proved useful on Saturday as in my haste to get there and parked I missed the Little Egret, and also the two Black-tailed Godwits on the Rocket Field, both of which were reported whilst Mrs M and I were still there,  More later.

Anyway, checked out The Heugh first.  Plenty of Slavs, one RTD, a pair of RB Mergansers amongst others.  The harbour had year ticks for Rock Pipit and Bar-tailed Godwit.  The sea on the island's east coast was an Eider fest, but nothing of what I really wanted, GND, BTD or a RN Grebe.  As we neared The Lough, a pair of well-laden (kit, not girth!) birders were leaving and mentioned a male LT Duck.  In we went as Mrs M had never seen one and I had not on fresh water and in close view.  The light was superb, the bird perfect, but as usual, the cameraman was poor.

Next was trek to Emmanuel Head, with a few waders on't beach but little else.  Next stop, via The Somme, was a walk back via Straight Lonnen, and off to the right, a session of 'Two Crows vs Small Brown Bird' wing-to-wing combat, the out-numbered party off from its tree to sit on a nearby stone wall.  Eh voila, female Merlin! 

Rescanning the Rocket Field picked out the Black-tailed Godwits, who, after about five minutes, took to the skies with most of the other birds.  I could not see why, but my Spotter asked, 'What's that flapping around up there?'  Answer?  A male Peregrine (we're on a roll (and before we even got to the hotel!)). 

After a swift one in a local hostelry, and a sandwich or two, it was off to the causeway's west end, and the south side, for the Little Egret, again ably located by Herself.

After and evening's indulgence at the Hall (the food was 10/10), today broke with GSW in the trees outside our suite's window, and a Red Squirrel for good measure.  A good 90 minutes exploring added Nuthatch and Treecreeper, and on the lake at the back, Little Grebe.  And a family of Mute Swans followed us as we navigated the lake's muddy perimeter path.

Next, off the East Chev. on the way home, with little to see (except my first ever 'Stoat in ermine' - stunning!!), and then, after another BlackBerry consultation, The Pools for the four Smew.  Fortuitously, as we drove through the tight S bend, a couple of birders were watching the huge flock of geese to the west and my question from the car of 'Anything out of the ordinary?' was met with the reply, 'Two Bean Geese.'  Music to my ears - so a quick stop 'ticked' them.  Never had as good a view before.  Crackin'!

The Smew were still there, looking good, with many Tufties for company.

Home for 3 pm, and time for a wee sit before domesticity returns!