Saturday, 12 November 2011

No. 248 - Yellow Bean Swan

Not the newest meal at my local Chinese takeaway, but the latest three listed species today!

After sorting a car for No. 2 son 'early doors', turning t'interweb on just after 10:50 had a huge grey square on BirdMap over this fine county of ours and the Greater Yellowlegs rollercoaster left Cramlington.

Two minutes down the road, and a cry for help from Crammy merited a U-turn and after a hurried collection, off north, with news it had just flown south.  Then it was back at the North Pool (and a pit stop required as the dieselometer was showing 'fumes-only'!).  With just 100 yards to go before the right turn to Megasville, news the bird had flown off high and long and west! 


Despite Crammy's attempts to see a vaguely wader-like profile going high over the car and tick it (!!), we continued to the North Pool hide to see a mixture of birders, some with a facial expressions akin to having just bedded Kelly Rowlands, and others with the look of someone who had just done the same with Susan Boyle! 

We joined the latter queue and stood until 12:10 before driving off along the access road for a 3-point turn to the doldrums, following iPin and ahead of the No. 1 seawatcher.  And on passing the path to the hide, Mr Robson lept out of his car (he did a fine emergency stop beforehand) to announce the bird was back; some Sweeney-like parking and a wee sprint and voila l'oiseau rare!

This afternoon, off to Boldon Flats to add a Bewick's Swan to the Life list.  Having seen them before at East Chev several years ago (and missing the Blyth birds), I failed to record the fact and knowing that last year's (at Boldon again) did not stay long, it had to be done.

And as bonus, in the greylag flock near the northern-most viewpoint at the road side, three Bean Geese.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Great Grey Shrike Ate Short-eared Owls

Bloody puns! 

Great Grey Shrike, eight Short-eared Owls.  But now I have your attention....

Spent a great hour this afternoon with Lanius excubitor and Sir Cowell of Kingston in the presence of two of my favourite birds, the shrike and Asio flammeus.

The shrike was much further west than I thought, a field or two to the west of where those who have viewed the SEOs before will have stood.  The bird was up and down the hedgerow running south from the south side of the bumpy road.  The shots were from about 100 yards away.

The owls appeared at 2:25pm, and they were spectacular.