Saturday, 6 November 2010

Turned Out Nice!

Well, dear Reader, another tale of another search for another tick! 

If that prospect irks you at all, stop reading now.  I do not want to be blamed for deterioration in anyone's health due to raised blood pressure originating from my approach to ornithophilia.

Still reading?  Good.  Let's go!

Off west this morning in search of big black birds (as opposed to big Blackbirds).  Plenmeller was the site, and what a lovely one it was.

The departure weather was superb; clear; crisp and cool.  It remained that way until just past Haydon Bridge when it soon became overcast and 'foggy' due to low cloud.  Bloody typical, ten miles from arrival and bugger all to see!

Still, might as well give it a go, so on reaching Plenmeller Common, it was back to clarity:

Plenty of activity from these little fellas;

And after nearly three hours of scanning, nothing bigger than a crow, except................

Flying north, three birds, one ahead of other two, the rear duo Crows, the front one flapping and gliding, and flapping and gliding, the wing beats much more controlled and deliberate than a Sparrowhawk.  The bird itself was much more sturdier, and its direct flight path took it to within a few hundred yards and from bins to scope as it continued north and into a copse of trees, causing Red Grouse over which it travelled to scatter and the Wood Pigeons sunning themselves in the southern edge of the trees to get the flock out!

Good Lord!  What an unexpected surprise!  A Goshawk.  Not a first, but a first for this year.  After quite a few trips to Kielder with nothing to show for it, finally bagged one as an add-on.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Second Time Around

Well, dear Reader, whoever you may be, just to show I do not only chase ticks and birds located by others, I went back to Commondale this morning to see the Rough-legged Buzzards again

Another journey of 130 miles or more, including through Cleveland, or 'Gridlockland' as it should be called, the outward trip taking nearly TWO hours.

And nothing added to my L.I.S.T., just 90 minutes in the freezing cold wind, accompanied by six others, including BirdForum's Durham Thread's entertaining duo of Scuzz and JayBee. 

And most importantly, three juvenile RLBs, two in the same scope-view at some points, loads of hovvering, a little bit of perching, and lots of flying, but this time with excellent visibility and more time than last week to enjoy!

The Red Grouse put on a good show too, but other raptors were absent whilst I was there.

Nonetheless, a crackin' trio and well worth the increased carbon footprint!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

(W)Ring Duck's Neck

Dear Reader - it's 3 - 0 to the yanks!

It was March 2007 when I ventured south to Far Pastures NR to see a Ringed-necked Duck.  Despite many hours of searching, NOTHING!

And then I got home and checked BirdGuides and it had been seen.  Do I, don't I?  Yes, I do go back the next day.

And once again, a lengthy journey, this time a longer stay to cover the previous day's appearance time, but alas, NOTHING!

And so to last night and a consultation with the internet that showed one on home turf.  So, despite my parents being up for the weekend, a few hours were stolen to finally bag the critter.  Branton GP duly found, car parked and a beautifully lit water course full of wildfowl; except the R-n D.  And despite a thorough search along with others, NOTHING!

Bit of a pattern developing here, I think.