Thursday, 2 January 2014
So I was at Wessie H about noon today trying to add to the year list for Cramlington and it was dead. The female Kestrel was active as ever and successful, taking her prey to a fence post for lunch. Facing into the wind, with me 30 yards or so to the rear of her, the gourmet cuisine was eventually identified from glimpses as Kes's tail was maneouvred to combat the wind. It was a huge frog that writhed and wriggled as it was devoured slowly and probably painfully from the head backwards. But why was a frog available for Falco-related nutrition on 2 January 2014? It was a mild day but my garden pond frogs only emerge at the end of February or early March. So the poor amphibian wakes up, and realises it's two months too early. Shit!!!! And then, as it's about to turn over and have a lie-in, as it were, Mrs K drops in and it's even bigger shit!!!!
So just for a change, I was walking Herself on Tuesday morning when two local dogwalkers started a conversation with the implicit challenge of,'You know a bit about birds, don't you.' Yesterday's equivalent conversation of a duck that whistles was correctly met with a response of 'Teal' but Tuesday's was the answer to 'An albino baby heron on the burn yesterday (Monday).' 'Highly likely a Little Egret', says I. After the finer points of dark legs and yellow feet were discussed, we went our separate ways. So this morning, same time and same place and the two dogwalkers waving like madmen and directing me to the east end of Horton Burn near the park. 'It's there now! It's there now!' And it was (there). And it was (Egretta garzetta). And after alerting Crammy and Lindsay, and waking Sometimes up from his much-needed post-night shift beauty sleep, I left the trio to follow it and get some photees. And a Grey Wagtail on the burn on the way home too. Bargain!
Monday, 30 December 2013
So 2013 draws to a slow and painful end, with my quest to add Golden Plover to the Patch List becoming predictably negative. Repeated visits to both Beacon Lane and Cramlington Learning Village have only yielded odd stares from the farmer and caretaker respectively. 136 (135 if you take off the R-n Parakeet) is well above the previous Cramlington record of 125, and like all records, it's there to be broken. Confining my exploits to NE23 has been well worth it, with numerous local Lifers: Black Kite; Yellow Wagtail; Tree Sparrow; Mediterranean Gull; Avocet; Sanderling; 'that parrot'; Kittiwake; Gannet; Redstart; Little Stint; and Spotted Flycatcher, and half a dozen of these self-found. Each one has had the ever-aging 'ticker' beating a little faster, and that's the best and easiest exercise I can think of. More in 2014? You betcha! So to all those who have assisted, supported, amused and educated me during this year, I say a huge THANK YOU! And a particular note of appreciation to The Guvnor, Crammy, Sometimes, Linz and Dee. To you all, a healthy, wealthy, peaceful and successful 2014!