Friday, 1 October 2010

C'est Finit

Well, there you have it, eight days off work, back tomorrow, and what had promised to be an unusually self-indulgent 'feather fest' did not quite do it.

Sunday was the highlight, at Hartlepool, with the Shrike and a nice Snow Bunting.  The generally low aspect has been my disappointment at not seeing a Barred or Yellow-browed Warbler despite the fact that the entire population of local birders have done so and many hours of my being in the right place at the wrong time, or vice versa.

I have been given some sound advice re. not always following others' birds, but I need to put time aside to do that and often I don't often have that luxury.

Holy Island yesterday was a beautiful if not over-crowded day.  Great to meet Vee and Colin Pears (they're not 'a couple', it's just my poor grammar), and Gary Carroli Smith and Derek C, and like the Magnificent Seven, Messrs Forster, Gilbertson and McLevy (and others u/k) leaving the Great Grey 'School' Shrike and rounding the corner heading for the Vicar's Garden (VG) like Messrs Brynner, Bronson, McQueen et al.

The VG was heaving, but no Y-b W or R-b Flycatcher.  The Lonnens were too quiet too.

And today, mixing birding with pre-work chores, Tynemouth's Warbler 'banker sites' did not yield, and neither did Trow nor Marsden Quarries, or Whitburn.

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Getting boring!

Sorry folks, anothet wee tale of an attempt to see a Barred Warbler, another addition to the St.Mary's parking attendant's coffers, and another blank.

One guy had been there for four hours when I arrived, and so I guess I shouldn't get too p*ssed off as I spent less time than him for the same result.

Did see Redstart and Goldcrest and pursued a likely candidate from The Gut to the thicket between The Gut and the willows (the patch the Linnets like, with the black berries on it) where is entered the plants but I could not see enough to be certain.

Holy Island tomorrow (I need some divine intervention) and probably a good few hours thrashing St. Mary's on Friday morning, I feel.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Hard Work

The past two days have been hard; very hard.  My early rising and driving from A to B (and often C and D too) are taking their toll.  I'm tired!

Today, as yesterday, it was 07:25 @ Snab, with a light and generally easterly wind but very little in the hour I stayed.  Half a dozen Gannet, one R-t Diver, and flocks of Wigeon, Teal and Common and Velvet Scoters, all north, were the 'highlights'.

So despite my resolve to stay put, after 60 minutes I was off the The Pools.  Along the access road, a juvenile male Sparrowhawk was nimbly and effortlessly moving north on the east side and then landed on a fencepost.  Excellent views, with camera in the boot of course, and the third bit of Magpie grief had him off north and low again.

From the Oddie (after spooking another Sprawk), many Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe and Tufties, with the drake Scaup just outside Hide.  And what I believe was a Hare leaving the water in front of the Hide too.  I did not see it swimming nor exiting but as I glanced back, it was very wet and walking gingerly away from the water's edge.

After spooking the Sprawk yet again as I walked back, it was Cresswell, with the usual suspects on the north section, with a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper with half a dozen Dunlin.

Then to Whitley Bay Cemetery, which, excuse the black humour, was dead. 

So to a new venue, Priors Park, on the trail of the Y-b Warbler.  Afer finding a parking place, and almost by accident, I found the place, meeting Tim - Wild Up North - Sexton and Tom - My Camera And Lens Are Bigger Than Your Car's Engine - Tams and we tried to locate the tit flock, which I managed to do after 45 minutes.  Sprawk was about between the trees and a Peregrine was overhead, but the flock (G/B/C/LT and Goldcrest) was warbler-less.

And to make it worse, the Y-b Warbler at Woodhorn yesterday, whose 'tick' has put 'The Other Clown' one ahead, was reported by fellow Crameltonians Crammy Birder and SH!!  Where's the parochialism?

As if it wasn't hard enough!!!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Flat Sea

Trying to follow yesterday's ornithological extravaganza was never going to be easy.  And it wasn't!

07:20 @ Snab, full of expectation but not matched by Mother Nature, I am unhappy to say.

No geese, nor shearwaters, and only one u/k skua.  Small teams of Wigeon, Kittiwakes, Gannets and GBBGs, as well as BHG, Mallard, Grey Heron and Cormorant Two Common Scoter and two Tufties too over the next two or so hours.

R-t Divers were busy, with 2, 1, 2 then 5.  And 13 Redwing in (2 did a u-turn and went straight back out to sea!  I know I'm getting on a bit but that's quite insulting!!).

There was a P-f Goose on the rocks running west from the point (the south facing shoreline), which sat forlorn and let me get very close, its right leg and eye appearing to be in difficulty, so I guess it's not long before it joins the 'choir invisibule'.

On the sea, the GBBGs were gathering around a dark grey 'mass', one even perching on it; a dead seal/dolphin, perhaps.  When I moved from the low rocks to the 'cliff top' I could not re-locate the thing so it remains a mystery.

No Bramblings at Big Waters feeding station late morning, nor Y-b Warbler at Woodhorn Church mid-afternoon.  The Mound was quiet, as, in the main, were the Ash Lagoons, except for the areas of 'thicket' on the side of the Lagoons to the north of the burnt gorse with some interesting calls but no appearances.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

I've Got Wood!

Well, you can only look at so many waves, and wish for a Pom Skua for so long, so this afternoon I took a punt and travelled south to Hartlepool Headland to see the Woodchat Shrike.

Bizarre really, it's not much further than a trip to Alnwick but the tunnel/river subconsciously make it a more significant journey.

Plain sailing really, 40 miles door-to-door, and my first non-Northumberland 'twitch' was a success, with a dozen or so local birders lined up on a pavement looking over a fence across a bowling green at some bushes on t'other side.  It was a little bit surreal, but su-fecking-perb as a tick was added to my Life Locally Informative Species Tally (apparently the word 'List' is taboo).  And good to meet Derek C and Andrew - Do you never stay in - Kinghorn too.

And, as I hear you shout, dear reader,'Show me the record shot!', voila (watch out Sometimes!!):

And as a bonus, in the playground to the rear of the pavilion, a Snow Bunting (naturally, there were no kids in the area, as a man with a camera in a children's place is asking for trouble!).