Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Temptation got the better of me.

For a while now a Desert Wheatear has been showing nicely on a beach up north, until today I had resisted the temptation to “Twitch” the bird. But the better half fancied visit to pastures further a field last night and on waking this morning she wasn’t well, so buggered off on me own.( well she wouldn’t like the wind conditions today anyway).
Once out of the car at Newbiggin a couple of familiar faces appeared…lads from a tad further south than me, nice to see Derek B. and Davy J. again and glad as they saved me a longer walk to the area favoured by the bird.

Less than a mile trek north along the beach a few folk where positioned as if praying….when I reached them it became apparent why!, the little beauty was feeding along the edge of the beach/grass here. Plus the wind conditions played a part in this.

After about half a hour I departed feeling very pleased about the whole experience of this little bird hopping around feeding within 12 feet away at times. Photo wise I got what I got.. just pleased any turned out with the wind conditions.

Dropped into Marden quarry for the Lesser Scaup again- still sticking to the centre of this pond area on this visit, so nee better photo's of it. 3 Goosanders present(2 males and a female) plus Stock doves males displaying.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A couple of visits to the pier area.

A couple of dog walks around the local pier area the last couple of days have'nt been great for sightings but nice all the same. And not great for photo's either.

A few Razorbills off the pier most of the birds, never coming close in on these visits.

Couple of the Rock pipits showed better, these are a nice sight in Winter here looking for scraps along with a few semi-tame Turnstones.

And today I counted 34 Shags between the S/Shields pier and Trow, many of the birds in small groups. The condition of the sea here allowed a good view over this bay type area. Also 4 Red throated divers in this area, another 2 Red throats in the Tyne area between the Shields piers.

This "non-winter" converted Black headed gull has been on Marine park lake the last couple of days, along with the "almost" resident drake Mandarin and around 30 Tufties and 3 drake Pochards. Mute Swan numbers slighty increasing.

Yesterdays visit was at high tide and waders where rested up on the usual northern side on the pier. Around- 50 Dunlin, 20 Redshanks and 10 Oystercatchers, 3 Purple sandpipers on the approach to this point. 25 Ringed plover on the return leg almost on Sandhaven.

8 Sanderling on Sandhaven today, low count for this time of year.

And.........I had to look twice viewing this sight today. Ive seen this before here but its still a strange one especially from a distance!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Around the doors today

Started off this morning by visiting Whitburn with Max. The tide level was a couple of hours away from beeing at its highest and most of the waders where rested up on the favoured higher rock positions here. But the numbers of waders here for this time of year didn't seem anything like what they normally are, especially with Sanderling 25 being my best count on this visit. Sandhaven beach at South Shields has also had very few of these waders visit so far.
Only a few Golden plovers on what was left of the exposed rock area they like here, and none on the rifle range field!... strange I thought and never encountered the flock today dispite visiting a few sites.
A couple of Barwits and 4 Purple sandpipers with the other waders at Whitburn and a couple of Red throated divers just off. The beach area was very poor, I didn't even come across a Rock pipit!.

Dropped into Boldon flats next- No Geese present on this visit but Teal and Wigeon numbers on the increase here now. Also Lapwing and Redshank numbers on the up.

Newton garth farm- Quick look here as Ive not dropped in for a while, hundreds of Rooks and Jackdaws in one of the horses fields and a covey of 15 Grey Partridge along with the normal gulls.

Saxon way, Jarrow. First of two visits here today - Waxwings still present around this area and a few behind this street doing their flycatching act. I managed to count 63 birds as they where settled before a Sparrowhawk flew over and put every bird in the area up! (ending the count before I had finished) and the show was over as the Waxwings flew off high towards the Don valley.

On my second visit today to the Jarra hotspot for Waxwings(they had returned) a few more thrushes showed than on my first. At least 8 Redwings and 4 Fieldfares but fewer Mistle and Song thrushes now in this area. Noticed this ringed Waxwing on this visit.

Between the Waxwing encounters I visited Red barnes pond area(behind the Cock crow inn,Hebburn) not been here for a while. Keith Mc. posted on the CCG forum about this female Goosander being present here a few days back, so popped along to have a look today. She didn't disappoint coming to "sliced white" supplied by the locals duck feeding here. Nice sight in ST.!

8 Siskins showed on arrival here.

There's still a few berry days left in Jarra so we hope the show continues.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Make hay when the sun shines!

Off down to Marine park this late morning with Max in tow, small sections of the lake here frozen up as expected. 3 Drake Pochards along with around 30 Tufties and the "now" tame drake Mandarin avoiding the old sailors here.
Had wanted to venture along the pier but yet again on this walk the gate was locked!

But pleased to view the great work ST council are making in the dunes area here as Ive not visited for a few weeks. The sand dunes have been surrounded with fences and signs telling the public "no access". A "planting up" of the dunes with native species of dune type plants is well under way to preserve the sand dunes here. Seeds where collected from the Druridge bay area (with kind permission) and are now in the hands of expert growers.

I live in hope of a few terns or other bird species taking advantage of this enclosed area.

It was a case of the sunny side of the street in Saxon way today! The general view was about 60 Waxwings present today , but very difficult to pin down a exact number as they have been very flighty over the last few days, with loads of Mistle thrushes around. Plus any crow that flew over put the birds up!
This wintering female Blackcap joined in the berry feast today here, this area of Jarra is a well known one for wintering Blackcap.

This is the only Redwing Ive seen around these parts (today) very few spotted, plus 2 Fieldfares today.

On the dull side of the street(light wise)- a joy to witness.

And a bit better for photo's on the sunny side of the street when the birds dropped to feed here.

A local resident asked me to view a dead bird in his back garden today, a Waxwing which looked like it had flew into something sadly.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Slip sliding away.........

The dog needed a canny walk today so set off for Colliery woods, Boldon. I’ve not visited here this Autumn/Winter so far this year so a visit was well over due.
When I opened the car door after parking up on the trading est. opposite one of the southern approach paths here I heard an almighty racket. A few blokes had parked up to play with their remote controlled cars just off this approach path.
I skated around the “boys with toys” with the conditions under foot, whilst Max nearly dragged me down a few times (frightened by the din).
The noise obviously fell away as I walked/slid further towards Station burn. A couple of Redpolls flitted across the pathway but didn’t stick around.
Walked (shuffled) around to the outskirts of the Cotswolds est. to where I know a local resident has feeders out. This local here must have a canny garden “tick” list for ST.! It’s a regular spot for seeing Willow tit,Bullfinch and other “not so easy” birds to catch up with in ST. It didn’t disappoint this time either!, within minutes a whole host of birds got used to my presence here with Max, including Willow tit(s) and Bullies.
On the “slide” back managed to bump into around 40 Lesser Redpolls with about 30 Goldfinch’s for company…and a few tit sp. Jay heard but not seen.

Had a quick look at the Jarra Waxwing hotspot before returning home, Saxon way. Birds still present…poor light again but a pleasure to watch. Another watcher was present from Roker but left soon after I arrived.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Jarra delights!

There’s a certain housing estate in the centre of Jarrow(Saxon way/Queens road area) that is a magnet for thrushes this time of year. We should all thank South Tyneside council or the planners for this when the estate was first built, as some of the streets and garden areas have been planted with berry producing trees which attract the berry snatchers on mass at times.
The “Great Waxwing hunter” alerted me yesterday that 3 Waxwings had been spotted on the estate, he phoned me back (after purchasing his morning paper on the estate) a few minutes later to inform me that around 50 Waxwings where present!
I managed to get down there this morning and around 40 Waxwings showed nicely (as they do) but in poor conditions.

Around 30 Mistle thrush present also, myself and Dougie seen around 150 of these here one day a couple of years back.

More Songies here than you would see in a average day around the doors- maybe 20..or so. Plus large numbers of Blackbirds as you would expect, a few Fieldfares but did'nt see any Redwings.

This winter so far has'nt been a "Waxwing" one, Ive only seen two groups of 4 over the last week or so before this mini invasion at Jarra. I say "mini" as I have witnessed between 200-300 here before.