Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What a beauty!

Great to come across a pair of Snow Buntings on the Pier this morning. This ringed male give outstanding views just a few feet away briefly. I did'nt notice the female until the male fly off and the female joined him from the pier side.

58 Sanderling on the beach and pier and 25 Dunlin. Couple of Redpolls in Marine park today also.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Looking good!

Dragged Jan and Max down to visit the Whitburn point LNR late morning today. My first visit here since the stone viewing screen has began to take shape and Jan's since the work on the project first started.

Its looking a excellent construction already even if only half completed.

The quality of this stone masons work is evident for all to see.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Brents and more.

Headed up North with Jan and “little legs” this morning, whilst this wasn’t a “feast” species wise the quality made up for this.
Holy Island was the first place we visited and what a sight greeted us in the Rocket field here- Brents galore! The most Jan has seen outside of Norfolk. A regular watcher here had the number down as some 600, I didn’t argue but I thought maybe 200 less but still a great spectacle never the less. At least 4 dark bellied birds picked out in the mass here.

We moved around to the castle approach area and viewed the field from this position here. Soon afterwards most of the flock took off and headed off easterly, the rest soon followed. What a fantastic sight and sound…the geese junky (Jan) had had her fix.
Also a couple of Blackwits and about 10 Shoveler along with Teal and Wigeon.

Stag rocks – picked up 3 Slavonian grebes a canny way out (unlike a visit a couple of years back) with Common Scoters and a few Red throated divers. Another birder here put me onto the Black Guillemot which was a tad distant also. Dipped on Long tailed duck.
10 Whoopers just south of Alnmouth.
Another fine visit to this cracking area of Northumberland even if the whole of Holy Island cannot be explored by the better half now.

We dropped into the QE2 Park on the way home after brief views of Cresswell and Snab point. The greeting from a Whooper Swan here was a strange sight mingling with the tame Mutes and looking for food through the car window. Max wasn’t as impressed as we where, especially as our left over sarnies where fed to the Swans. Canny supporting cast here with Goldeneye’s, Gadwall’s, 2 female Goosanders and numerous other waterfowl that I could see. The low winter afternoon sun on the water here made viewing here almost impossible.


Couple from over the last week-
Our “almost” resident Marsden(South Shields) car park Med.Gull is starting to look smarter.And the Red Barnes(Hebburn) female Goosander is still present

Back to basics now camera wise, set up fell off my new monopod last week which will mean a trip to Canon(when work comes my way again). So the 350D is back in use.....to say I am gutted is a understatement. But I am messing with RAW now.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Trow Quarry yesterday.

Not a bird related post from this site as most would expect, but a one to hopefully encourage wildlife in the future. Last weekend it was hoped that Willow cuttings could be planted here but the frozen ground conditions here put pay to this so yesterday a few locals put in less than a hours work doing so.

Full permission from the National trust and South Tyneside council had been obtained for this venture, members of the Coastal Conservation Group and other like minded folk who had the time took part.

Willow cuttings where kindly obtained from the WWT at Washington and also within the Whitburn coastal park ( varied species) . Experimental this type of planting here but its well worth a try. If this proves to be successful more planting is planned for here in the future.

Willow cuttings have been chosen for this site because they don't need any "digging" in, just pushed into soft soil and are a relatively easy to establish. Any cover for the migrant birds in this area is better than none.

Nice to see a couple of youngsters getting involved with conservation work yesterday. The kids loved it and where a tad disappointed when we ran out of Willow to plant!.

Thanks goes to Ray Scott for these photo's, who just happened to be in the quarry with his better half whilst this work was being carried out.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Ice surprise this morning.

On the return leg of this mornings pretty fruitless dog walk I scanned the gulls "again" in Marine park. At last my first white winger for this site showed in the form of a Iceland gull which was bathing in the centre of the lake at first. Then after a short while it gave stunning views on the lake edge.


Off onto the small section of ice left for a preen

Ive got the bird down as a near adult because of the bill, I would welcome any one's thoughts on this.

Fly-by of the cafe..

After about 20 minutes of watching the bird I left feeling over joyed at seeing a Iceland gull actually landed on ST turf this year and especially on a patch I walk often.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Yesterdays Whitburn visits

Two visits to Whitburn yesterday either side of high tide. The first in the morning with Jan and Max in tow, the next just myself to enjoy the waders.
5 Grey plovers present-

8-10 Rock pipits

Great number of Bar-tailed Godwits for here..18 was my best count.

72 Wigeon just off the shore, a few come onto the rocks to feed as the tide was on the way out.

7 Knots

I reckon about 130+ Dunlin present along with- 32 Sanderling, 10 Purple sandpipers, 20+ Ringed plovers, 60+ Oystercatchers and plenty Redshanks and Turnstones.

Excellent few hours spent with the waders etc. Just love sitting and watching these birds.

Rifle range field- Golden plovers spread across the whole of this area in feeding mode along with a few Lapwings. Did'nt see any Curlews at these sites today.

On the way home the Marsden car park Med. gull put in a brief appearance...


Pier today- 1 Great crested grebe off the surf at Sandhaven, 2 Red throated divers and 3 Guillemots. 3 Grey plovers almost landed on the pier but thought better of it and headed across the Tyne instead.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Here Wear go again.

Had a hour or so again today at the mouth of the Wear, its been a week or so since I visited last. Plenty lads fishing here again but hardly any gulls flying about whilst I was here. Could have been because it was high tide... I don't know?.. Canny few gulls rested up on the south pier area. After about 20 minutes I picked up a Juv. Iceland flying towards the fish quay area, that was the last I seen of this bird on this visit. Then walked around to the Marina area and the Adult Iceland gull circled a couple of times here before heading off ...last I seen of this one also on this visit.

Back at the old pier, a couple of Purple sandpipers feeding with the Turnstones here.

And a couple of Harbour porpoises between the piers which was a nice.

Dropped into the Marsden car park on the way back, no sign of the Med. gull (not seen it for a couple of weeks now). But around 70 Jackdaws had taken over the grassed area here mostly in small groups.

Quick look in Harton Cem. before heading home- looks like this Stock dove had a lucky escape from a predator not long back.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Like waiting for a bus!

First time Ive ventured down the big beach area(Sandhaven) for a few days this morning. Nowt exceptional in Marine park as I passed thro- except for getting "hacked off" about the about of bushes and shrubs being cut down to just over a metre high. This has occurred around the area I am living now also, the contractors explained when I asked about this- " Women especially feeling un-safe about dick heads lurking behind these whilst they walk past". Shame but that's the way it goes, the council is taking no chances.
So once on the dunes area today I picked up a few birds high up on the beach area....a few Dunlin and 10 or so Ringed plover. The south side of the pier was no resting place for waders today as the sea lashed against it.
A large flock of small waders "put up" as I approached the pier from the beach....Sanderling in numbers Ive not seen here so far this Winter! managed to count 73 birds (when they rested up for a short time). In fact this could be my largest count to date here! Another local lad had almost 60 of these birds here a couple of days back Ive just found out today, looks like a movement of these birds starting to take place.

The average count over the last few months has been around 10-20 Sanderling, which is lower than normal but Whitburn has had better numbers.

One bird did have signs of being colour ringed/flagged but only a green band(or what was left of a flag) was showing on its leg and I couldn't see any other rings.

Cracking sight love these little waders!