Saturday, 10 September 2011

Sharp Exit or Out for a Duck

Early start at Cleveland today, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was gone, and at Saltholme's Allotment Pool, the Blue-winged Teal was also not wanting to show itself.

Did see a Cape Shelduck though.  Which was nice (but by no means compensation).

Friday, 9 September 2011

Good Bet

Just got back from Doncaster and yesterday's Ladies Day.  Made the same trip last year and as a horse racing philistine, loved it, hence the return.  Next year's will be better as it will also be on my birthday!

Before leaving for Donny, BirdGuides had a Wryneck on the Lakeside's hill, only 1/4 mile from the friends' we were staying at.  And reports continued throughout the day, the bird showing well or remaining elusive.  So at 6:00pm, a quick drop in to see the plot en route to the local oriental cuisine purveyor, and at 06:30 yesterday, me, the scope, the bins, the cameras, the drizzle (that fine rain that Peter Kay (1' 45") acknowledges gets you very wet!) and little else, alone on a hill in South Yorkshire.

Joined five minutes later by a local, we pincered the area and waited.

And then, from behind me, it arrived (and I was so excited, I think I 'arrived' too!) and landed in a tree not 10 yards away.  And my colleague came over (he was clearly excited too) and managed a few photos (that are en route to the NE).  My first view of a static Wryneck - superb!  And tbh, more exciting than the Mega Lifer we drove past on the way back here this morning.

As for the nags, backed 1st and 3rd in the fifth race and 1st in the seventh so it was evens in terms of the gambling honours.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Extreme(s of) Birding

Today's highlights:

Church Point - One Arctic Skua south.  Nowt else!

Royal Newbiggin - near the Ash Lagoon Bank, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Coal and Great Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Song Thrush and Linnets.  The Sky was busy with Skylarks and heaving with southbound Swallows and House Martins.

Cresswell - 600 Canadas, a few Greylags and some commoner ducks.  An odd goose - assumed hybrid of Greylag and Canada.

Lapwings rising from the SW field suggested raptor, and from the west a Marsh Harrier, pestered by gulls, then Curlews, then corvids.  This made for some excellent photo opportunities, all admirably missed!

So with a memory card full of quality images (!), off north to The Pools, and en route, the abyss to Cresswell's nadir, as a wee Pheasant walked from the east side and despite my best efforts, it did not remain 100% fit and healthy.  The little fella was lying in the road, looking up at me with 'cow eyes' and trying to get away.  It could fly but not walk so I did what any real man would do, lay it in the grass and hoped for a miracle!

Druridge Pools' seawatch was uneventful - R-t Divers, Common Scoters and little else, except zillions of House Martins and millions of Swallows south.

To complete the tour, West Hartford had three BHG, one Pied Wagtail  and three circling Common Buzzards.

Arcot was even flatter.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Where's Wally?

For those of an age, or who do not have progeny, Where's Wally? keeps wee ones busy for hours, trying to find this:
in a scene like this:

Now imagine Wally is an American Golden Plover, and the beach scene is Whitburn Steel, a broad expanse of Golden Plover-coloured sandstone with other rocks too, without landmarks, and covered in Golden Plovers.

Add some spice by way of canoeists, cockle-pickers and Kestrels just to mix up the pack occasionally.

And there you have it, how to occupy a Sunday afternoon.  Throw in a Roseate Tern amongst the Commons, Arctics and Sandwiches and an ice-cream for 'Er Indoors and it all turned out quite nice.

All Quiet on the West Hartford Front

09:30 today - two adult LBBGs, two young'uns, half a dozen BHGs and...