Saturday, 8 January 2011

Stag Chilly

Dear Reader - I defy you to find a better title that links Northumberland ornithology with an American-branded, meat and kidney bean-based, spicy Mexican meal!

8am at Bamburgh, bloody cold and not a diver of any species in sight for the hour or more I was there.  Greeted by three Kittiwakes (N), and on the sea, nearly as many Eiders as there were Oystercatchers along the shoreline.

70 P-b Brent Geese (S), 5 Long-tailed Ducks on the sea (4 M/1F) with 9 Common Scoter, one very lonely Purple Sandpiper along with 10 Dunlin on the exposing rocks as the tide ebbed.

By far and away the best aspect was the superb views of a Merlin looking for breakfast, putting all the beach-based birds up several times, and pursuing four Dunlin, separating off one and then missing it!  This was the second of two sorties over the beach, the bird first seen flying in from the north and disappearing towards the castle, and then in from the north again, causing havoc before u-turning and then heading back north towards Budle Bay.  Magic!

Monk's House Pool was very quiet, most of it frozen, so the commoner gulls and ducks were the only birds seen.

A mixed flock of grey geese in the field at the Hauxley turn-off merited a search, but was mainly Greylags with a handful of their Pink-footed 'cousins'.

East Chev. was equally sedate, and so on the way to an even more desolate Bothal Ice Rink, a quick look at the Linton Whoopers, yesterday's report 31 now swelled to 43 on one side of the road and six on the other.

A walk around Plessey, from the new windmills to Plessey Mill Farm and back added Pheasant, Yellowhammer (five along the road) and Nuthatch (one in the woods) but generally it was very quiet and still very cold.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Garden Tick!

New one this morning, 'ticked' by 'Er Indoors' as she was on the phone to me at work, in my very small piece of Crameltonian suburbia, OYSTERCATCHER!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Another Ring-necked Duck!

I am nothing if not consistent! 

Today's sortie to Clevelend failed to yield the R-n D at Dorman's Pool.  Three Tufties failed to fit the bill, despite my best attempts, and neither did the duo of Little Grebe, nine Coot, two Moorhen, Gadwall, Canada Geese, Magpies, Crow or Sprawk.

Having never been to Saltholme, I called in and it was closed until 10 bells.  On the frozen lake were a gaggle of ducks, made up of Mallard, Teal and Wigeon.  All the feeders were very busy too with the 'usual suspects'.

Next stop the Marina at Hartlepool for the R-n Grebe and GN Diver reported yesterday.  En route, near Greatham Creek, Rooks and Greylag Geese, both firsts for 2011.

Found the Marina and the Lifeboat Station, but neither of the targets.  C.10 G-c Grebe off the harbour mouth though and several Cormorants commuting in and out.

After a quick visit to Jackson's Landing - grebe and diver-less but c.10 R-B Mergansers, it was back north and a stop at Rainton Meadows for the redpolls.  And eventually, the quarry located from 'Redpoll Hill', in flocks of Goldfinch, Siskin and Lessers, several Mealies and at least one Arctic.

And on the way out, a nice Willow Tit near the feeding stations.  Bonus!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Game of Two Halves

Had a good couple of hours (eventually) this afternoon.

Whilst walking the dog along the burn, a Kingfisher flew off east along the stretch to the west of the fire station, using the tunnel under the B1505 to get to the other side and out of sight.

Walk over, off the Arcot Pond, which was frozen over and ornithologically quiet.  A Common Buzzard was seen several times and a Jay heard in the golf course.  One Woodcock was flushed from the area to the north of the pond.

Next, off the Blyth Staithes, following Crammy Birder's lead from yesterday.

Fieldfare greeted me, and on the larger filtration pond c.45 Tufties and a few Pochard and Moorhen too.

The jetty to the east of the boat club had Oystercatcher roosting along with Redshanks, Turnstones and several of the commoner gull species.

The Red-breasted Mergansers were on the river, two males and a female, as well as a Red-necked Grebe, Eider, Mute Swan, Shelduck and a very nice surprise of a Slavonian Grebe.

A Grey Wagtail walked the shore-line wall, and on the spit, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Sanderling.