Friday, 19 February 2010

'H' is for.......

Day off today, car in for service and my 6' 4" frame compressed into a Ford Ka, along with Mrs Liverbirder and kit and up north for a wee trip out.  With the 'anything Davy Tee can do, I can do (better)' attitude, it was 'H' is for Hulne (is it pronounced Hull-n or Hewn (as Hulme is pronounced Hew-m?).  But alas, 'H' is NOT for Hawfinch as an hour yielded cousins Green, Chaff and Gold but not the big fella.  And at 11:00 am, the call of a Tawny Owl, twice, from the tress to the right of the park gates.

Forgot to mention the onset of heavy snow as we drove north beyond Morpeth, where we bagged FIVE Common Buzzards circling over the woods to the east.

Off then to Ross, or Tee-side as it might now be called.  Check out the snow:

Got the limo parked off road, kit on, and it was off to the dunes.  Hods of Curlew, Starlings, Corvids, and Redshank.  A GSW briefly passed over the barrier and as we trudged off to the right, and looked back, a raptor was being mobbed by the Crows.  Grey plumage, black wing tips, Good Lord, 'H' is for Hundred (Year List) and more significantly Hen and Harrier.  Top B*llocks!!  And a female Merlin followed the profile of the dunes, making off north.

Got the the dunes via the necessary deviation to avoid the temporary lake and then the sight of a snow-covered beach:

Note: Mrs Liverbirder hogging all the coffee and Bamburgh Castle in the centre.  What a shame the Corvids picking at the seal skeleton cannot be easily made out.

Nothing much on the choppy old briny, plenty of LT Ducks, Shags, Gulls, Common Scoters and the odd Eider.  Too cold to stay too long, and a conscience about me having all the fun, we didn't dwell and it was back to the car pronto. 

Common Buzzards up and about, a few Oystercatchers to boot, and a few Linnets too as we walked back.

All in all, a bit of a disappointment, weather and birds (or lack thereof) combining to take the edge of what I had hoped would be a much more rewarding day to balance the 40 or so emails that will be waiting for me on monday morning when work resumes.

Davy Tee, you're the man!!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

One Off

Broke 30 species on my patch tour with the pup today, thanks to a flock of a couple of dozen Goldfinch, Siskin, Coal Tit and Blue Tits that flew from the bushes outside the WHBP into the trees at the end of Horton Drive.  And four Mistle Thrushes in the same tree at the east end of the smaller Flash.  And a Shelduck with the Mute Swan on the larger Flash too! 

On a roll, the next milestone was three figures for the year, so two easy ticks of the Iceland Gull at Blyth and the Redpolls at Havannah NR.  Easy!  B*llocks! 

Despite three birders leaving the port telling me it was there, could I locate it?  Could I sh*te!  I spent an age looking at the dapper Herring Gulls, the 'best bib'n'tucker' Cormorants as both are getting suited up for the Spring fornication reproduction period!!

Next time you visit Blyth, try and get a look on the roof of the first yellowy transit shed (No 17).  Today, it had 250 waders on it, a mix of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.  A-bloody-mazing!!!

After spending too much of the day-release period at Blyth, Havannah was too far, so Seaton Sluice to try and add another two to the ongoing 98.  Failed again - added a Guillemot and watched a large (larger than a Manx) all-dark Shearwater flying north but far out; wing beats were slower than a Manxie too, but distance and light meant I wouldn't have a clue as to what it was.

99 please, sir!