Friday, 29 July 2011

This evenings wander

Back down Sandhaven again on the dog walk this evening(well thats my story any way) and it was a bit more productive than last nights visit. When only a couple of adult Arctics terns and a Juvenile were present of note...I say "only" Ive seen more Arctic terns on this beach already this year than I seen all of last year! Strange to say Roseates are commoner here usually.

An adult Arctic and a Juvenile here this evening along with adult and juvenile Roseate plus- 70+ Common terns and a few waders- 5 Sanderling, 3 Dunlins(first ones ive seen returning here) and 15 Oystercatchers.

This juvenile Common tern showed very dark brown colouring, don't think ive seen a one this dark before here.

This Juvenile Roseate was settled well away from the adult Roseate on the beach so more than likely not its offspring.

Thankfully the only disturbance here this evening was gulls diving in when the adult terns returned with food for their young. Max was on his lead (as always when I approach the terns) and with caution the birds allow close views.
Two ladies had travelled yesterday from Martin mere to our pier looking for luck last night for them when I met them at the pier viewing point. Felt sorry for them!.. Mother and daughter team, the daughter wheeled her mother away after a hour here to return to south Yorkshire I think with the promise they will return.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Its starting to look Rosy!

From Sandhaven this evening my second visit of the day, Jan wanted to get her first Rosy here of the year also after learning of my visit at mid-day today. These two didn't hang around long, watched them coming in off the sea settled for 5 minutes and off again.

Two different adult Rosies flew along the mid- pier area mid-day on the south side, always difficult getting shots on this side of the pier with bright conditions.

These two I picked from thier call before I seen them, just great to hear them again on the patch.

Adult common and Juv. showed nicely on the north side of the pier.

And this shot should have been posted first!( but as a numpty still with the pc. etc. its here!).

The story goes-

Picked a adult Rosy up on the beach this first visit today, had Max in tow also so had to box clever trying to get a closer view and a couple of record shots!.as I had spotted a family approaching the tern roost on the beach. Knowing every bloody thing would be up in no time I raced across the baron area to the rocks at the north end of Sandhaven...managed a couple of record shots (dog thought he was going onto the beach..daft pouch!). spotted the Juv. when I reached the rocks before the disturbance happened.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Storming time!

Distant but good views(with bins) today from the 2nd Trow bay and Frenchmans bay of Storm Petrels going back and forth along a certain stretch of sea here at dinner time today. This would probably point to the birds having found a area to feed upon.
We watched the birds for about 30 minutes from these vantage points and estimate about 15 in the area. Made especially special as it was a first for Jan. Mind it did take about 10 minutes before see picked her first one up! " going just past the ship NOW" and " a couple just infront of them gulls settled on the sea" didn't help really, it became frustrating.! But thankfully she got her "eye in" and was picking them up after learning what to look for....(small bird that looks like a House martin keeping very close to the seas surface..."best one I could come up with").
Really great to watch this special treat here today, first time I have seen them off here.

But last night-

After the numbers of the birds seen going passed the "obs" at Whitburn yesterday there was going to be only one conclusion as to the where abouts of "certain" member of the group and others this evening.
Aye Whitburn Coastal park!

Dispite the fantasic numbers passed thro- this day only 2 birds where processed, another escaped the net after bouncing back out and a few others flew around.

Today I learnt of a possible reason for this.....and some of us suspected it on the night, the conditions etc. carried the tape lure sound in the wrong direction.

But a great few hours on a Sunday evening/early Monday morn. on the edges of our fantasic coastline.

Set up and waiting, early doors... The packing away was timed- 6 minutes!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Watching paint dry.

Today started with a earlish visit to the ringing station at Whitburn coastal park, by the time me and Dougie arrived what little action(bird wise) seen here today had occured.
But a scan from here on the sea did result in a Harbour porpoise, Great skua and numerous gannets, guilles etc.
But the main reason why some of us came down here today was to help re-decorate the Whitburn bird observatory, members of the Durham bird club and the Coastal conservation group got together to give it a "lick of paint" inside. Within a couple of hours the job was done.

And then we waited for the floor paint to put the furniture back.

At this stage many a "active service" tale was exchanged (Walter the "gaffer" mainly), plus Scilly isle cappers, Grasshopper and Toad observations "whilst our arses were parked" plus insects of interest!.

There was a "slight unforseen" moment(cock up) when a member of the group had to back track....Jason when asked wouldn't take his socks and shoes off to do so.

Two Sooties going pasted ( naked eye spots) were a canny bonus also.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Artic rolls

Two visits yesterday to the pier area- the mornings walk over 200 rested Common terns on the north end of the beach.
By the evenings visit not even half this number here. But I timed this visit to be able to sit at around the high tide mark on the rocks to watch the terns. This is a pleasure to do this time of year, especially on a warm evening when the beach is not too busy.
A couple of scans and I picked 2 Artic terns still in thier summer finery(almost). Not a easy bird to see on this beach normally so I was well pleased to find these two rested up here.

This morning's visit produced 100+ Common terns and 30+ Sandwich,but a noisy Whimbrel did go over the pier my first for the year just waiting for the rarer seabirds to return and grace the beach.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Over the last week or so

Sandhaven today- one of the first sights I witnessed once at the base of the pier was a adult Little tern adult being chased by a Common tern over the pier and around Little haven.
Little terns are not a common bird here but we do get the odd few especially at this time of year, but its about being in the right place at the right time(as most wildlife watching is).
Once at the pier viewing point for Sandhaven I scanned the mainly Common tern nursery here today, picked up 2 smaller looking juv. terns in the distance. Sent Jan and Max off to little haven beach so I could have a wander onto Sandhaven( dog ban in force this time of year) to have a closer look. Sure enough 2 juv. Little terns first here this year.

Yesterday Sandhaven and the pier area had the largest numbers of birds here I seen this year so far(bar waders in winter)- hundreds of Terns, B.h.gulls + other gulls, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots and a couple of Artic Skuas.

Many of the Common terns are still in protective mode with thier young and Max was being mobbed when I took this shot after the 6pm dog ban.....a good way off resting birds.

The Mandarin drake seems to have taken a liking to our Marine park and has chosen the site to change its plumage into the flightless state(at times) of "eclipse" moult. Its been a education watching this bird going into this state of moult change as many of us watchers have never witnessed this before in ST.

This Guillemot was out of the water on the side of the pier a week gone Saturday, plenty of them around our coastline at the moment and the sound of the young calling can be heard on any coastal visit.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Golden wonder

Walked along the coastal path to the Rifle range field today as I had heard that the Golden plover numbers were starting to build again here. Sure enough some 200+Golden plover on show here today with hundreds of Lapwings and Starlings. Just a fantastic sight seeing hundreds of plovers here in various molt stages. Lets hope the numbers carry on building into the thousands like they have in the past.
The MOD no longer use this site and the future of this important area is uncertain.

Dropped down onto Jackies beach to let Max cool off in the sea as it was a tad hot this morning. Glad I did because a Hummingbird hawk moth was buzzing about here, a first for me.
Watched the moth for about a minute before I lost sight of it and only managed a couple of record shots....not a easy subject to capture a image of.
Back up from jackies and the plovers were still restless, a couple of girls in the field looking after the horses here didn't help. But this works in ya favour here because it pushes the plovers closer to the coastal path to allow better views.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Cracking day around the doors, Dolphins and more!

I recieved a phone call this afternoon from Mark Newsome(cheers!) to let me know that 3/4 White beaked Dolphins were just off Lizard point and showing well. Now this brought memories back from last year when I ventured down to the Coastal park numerous times and only managed to see a small pod of these critters at a distance on one occasion whilst some folk had them all singing and dancing so to speak!(and another ill fated attempt at trying to see a Sperm whale came to mind also). But thankfully my luck was in this time!

Pretty sure there was 4 Dolphins present as I had 3 fins up at the same time and another broke the surface away from the these. They stuck around the area between Marsden bay and Lizard car park for around 30-40 minutes whilst I was here and gave some excellent views even if distant at times and not really close enough for my camera set up.

It looked like at times they were in feeding mode and seemed to become very excited jumping out of the water and swimming around the same area.

Just a fantastic end to a great day around the doors.

Before the Dolphin excitement we had ventured first off to the Scotch est. dene in Jarra to try and see one of my favourite critters...the Banded demoiselle. At least 4 on show here with one male showing really well(makes a change as they tend to stick to the longer grassed areas here). A cracking looking critter even the females look tidy!.

Station burn also had a couple of male Banded demoiselles on show. But the highlight from this site was a singing Garden warbler, a bird Ive never seen here before!. families of bullfinch at both Don sites.

Nipped down to the Coastal park on the way home after visiting the Don sites and were greeted with a excellent view of a Juv. Cuckoo sat on the gate leading into the point LNR. raised the camera and it was off!.Picked it up again later flying north along the cliff line.

Butterflies appenty today at all sites, highlights being; Coma- Scotch est dene. 2 Red Admirals Whitburn cp.