Saturday, 27 March 2010

Ups and Downs

Wasted a morning, tyre rubber and diesel today by going for the 'third time lucky' Kielder Goshawk tick.  Like Eurovision, it was Liverbirder, nil points!  Crossbills, Buzzards, wee things and a Peregrine tho'.  Decided to try for the Black Redstart at Druridge at 2:30 pm.  It's great when you arrive and see better birders' cars there.  Northumbrian Birder was with Lord Dack Snr of Seaton Sluice and within seconds, l'oiseau!  What a stunner; flighty but more often visible than not.  It favoured the plantation or the bare, low sycamores to its east and north, but never venturing far from the perimeter fence.  And then, like the Famous Five, it was home for tea.

Sorting the Wheat(ear) from the (Chiff)chaff

Crackin' start to the day; weather superb and no-one else about.  Off out at 06:30 and back an hour later with just under 30 species.  Bullfinch (not seen for a month or so) on the r/about o/s the business park, but the best was a superb male Northern Wheatear sitting on a dead bush next to the grey 13013 box to the south of the sub-station and was quite obliging in terms of letting me get within about 12 feet (come on, Sometimes, one for the expert cameraman here!) .  On the flash were a pair of Oystercatcher, Greylag and Shelduck but generally not a lot else.  A pair of Kestrel's were playin' chasy and passing the sub-station, Mr Wheatear was now on the muddy area south of the road.  And the Chiffchaff was calling its lungs out on Crosland Way on he way back.

I did post the Wheatear on Birdguides at 07:45 but 45 minutes or so later, nothing!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Patch Work

Later start to work today, so a 6:30/7:30 am stroll revealed several points of interest, mostly good, but not entirely so.  A Woodcock was flushed from the north end of the copse, as was a male Roe Deer (I don't know who was more spooked, him or me).  The F*ck Factor was that someone has been 'tear-arsing' around on some form of 4 x 4, probably Sunday afternoon when the gate was open for the workies at the new Fire and Rescue HQ.  My patch might not be much to look at, but I have noted more than 90 species since I started recording them.

This evening, same route.  No Alpine Swift or Great Grey Shrike, but 8 Pied Wagtails as a close second (!), 14 Oystercatchers and a few other 'bits' on/near the water.  A Jay flying from the r/about east was a nice surprise (as were 20 Whooper Swans over the house at 21:30 last night).

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Nice Legs.....................

..............................shame about the distance.  Like Old Mother Hubbard, and in keeping with my usual prowess, I arrived at Cranes-ville to be told I had missed it by 20 minutes.  It had flown off south then west and was behind some bushes and out of view.  In for a penny, it was off to get a different view from another vantage point to the west of where it appeared to have landed.  Driving through Eshott, I took a punt on Bainbridge Lane (nice place, by the way).  At the south end, a few minutes with the scope picked out the bird (thank the Lord it's 4 foot tall) in the grassed field to the west of the stubble field, and lower in ground level so out of view from the main road.  There's a large grey water butt lying on its side top the SE of the Lane, on the fence line, and the bird was in the grassed area to the east of it.  There is a God!

First Day of Spring

Walked the usual route today.  Sunny and quite warm as we started out.  Crosland Way, Nelson Industrial Estate, east end, north side, as the path emerges onto Crowhall Lane, the sound of a Chiffchaff.  Within a minute of Sherlock Holmes-like creeping (minus the deerstalker and magnifying glass), VOILA!  Head height, ten feet away, chiffing and chaffing as it went!

Goldcrest calling on the roundabout, and so to the flashes.  Usual suspects, Shelduck, Canada Geese and Teal on the smaller, gulls and ducks on the larger.  The only raptor was a Kestrel

Weather then started to get colder and the sun went in (was that the sumer gone?), so back home for a few hours chores that might then permit me to chase the Crane later.

Last Day of Winter cont....................

Drove Mrs Liverbirder to East Woodburn (EW) yesterday afternoon and having dropped her off, travelled on to Bakethin.  Quest 1 - the melee of Crossbill/Siskin/Brambling/Chaffinch.  Walked up hill and down dale, saw two Crossbills (including a female giving a cone some hammer, which was nice), but Gary Smith's midweek mayhem turned into Milward's weekend whisper.  Quest 2 - Goshawk somewhere Kielder-ish.  Consistency prevails - nil points!  But the weather was superb, so all's not too bad.  Popped to Bakethin to check out the river, and on the north side of the bridge noticed a Dipper, motionless on a rock (and it remined so for 10 minutes!).

Back to EW for tea.  Then a stroll in the dark, Tawnies everywhere, but could I see (tick) one?  And Little Owls too!

But on the drive from EW to Kirk Whelpington, a Tawny was hunting the fields, so not too bad an end to a day with so much potential.