Friday, 30 March 2012

My first Coma and Orange tip of the year.

 Nice walk along the Don this afternoon either side of the Jarra / Shields boundary stretch. Dropped into the Scotch est. dene (Inverness rd. dene) first and was very disappointed to see major fire damage to a lot of the vegetation here. But with a bit luck this will grow back in time for the Demoiselle season here. This little gem of a site didn't disappoint despite the fire damage as my first Orange tip of the year was on the wing here in the female form at the base of the steps leading to the A19.. Chiffchaff (2) and male Bullfinch also of note here.
Along Station burn next and one of the first futterbyes seen was this Coma. in exactly the same spot Ive seen them for the last few years.( next to the tunnel at the west end). Also another was about mid way along the Don here. Small white, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Green veined white also seen today but none of the buggers posed for the camera. Chiffchaff (3), male Bully, Heron and Spuggyhawk note worthy also the amount of Chaffinch's here,far more than in days gone by.
And this Cormorant bit off more than it could chew this morning by the pier. After watching the bird battle with this fish (no idea with fish..anyone ID?) for a couple of minutes and trying to get it down.....The bird gave up and released the fish. Greedy git!.. 23 Sanderling in the area along with 3 Purple sandpipers and a handful of Oystercatchers and Redshanks.
South Marine park still had the twitch worthy Canada pair this morning (for those who haven't seen them yet in ST this year... some might laugh but its true!). Another Chiffchaff also in the treed area along with the usual.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A few since my last post...

 Another Med.gull! OH YES...This time a one on the Bents park footy pitches from a couple of weeks back or so. What a cracker this one was in full summer plumage, another 3 where around the Trow area this day about the same time...but different birds.
 20 Pinkies have been on Boldon flats for about a week now, which is great considering the sluice gate was lifted earlier this month. And the 8 Ruff have now been present 2 days ( one bird with white feather features to its upper body)..but distance is a problem trying to get any record shots here.
 My one and only Wheatear of the year so far, picked up near Trow point last week.(gun rock).
 The prehistoric looking black things have just about fully returned to nesting sites now, they look to be going to breed on 3 high level positions like last year. A few Shags are still to be had in the area especially juvs. Kittiwakes now fully back on nesting ledges along with Fulmars. The Razorbills have floated in and out like they do here, sometimes back on ledges. But none present near the cliffs today.
 The Leas are alive again! Loads of Linnets, Meadow pipits and Skylarks back after their winter absence (almost).
 Fantastic to see these Swans along the coast! The Whoopers where on the sea off Souter before flying off north. I checked Marsden area and then Sandhaven before I found them again settled for a short time off the big beach near the pier.
 Nice visit today to a couple of the pools in the area- This Heron was not too bothered here by mine and the dogs presence. The Dabchicks ( Little grebe to some...Nar still like the older name) on the other hand where a different story. Not had a great deal of luck getting shots of this species in ST ..that continued today.
Not a easy bird to see away from the coast in ST...this one was on a "so called" disused fishing lake a week or so back, which is now a bit of tip to say the least.!
The Dabchick pic. after me and Max sat waiting for a while.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Toad in the........Tool bag.

Today” has to go down as one I doubt I will forget in a hurry.
A nice bloke (the huge list, whose postal address should read-c/o Whitburn Bird Observatory) alerted me to a mass of amphibians on the prowl by the Whitburn point LNR. This morning.
Me and Max headed down late morning and eventually ventured along the coastal path between the “Obs” and the northern end of the Nature reserve. I’ve never seen so many Toads in my life, they where all over the place!, many on the path and many more in the grassed areas here beside the wall. I then met a bloke known as the “Toad man” locally here who was “bagging” the little hoppers. After a brief conversation with Alan my gear (and the dog) got put in the car for a half hour to help the lad out. The only bag of sorts I had in the car was an old one that had all manor of screws, fixings and shite basically in it, the contents got tipped in the boot and off I went.
In less than 30 minutes I had bagged 62 Toads and Alan whilst here had collected 185. They all got a helping hand and where released beside the established pond within the LNR.
And this is just the start I was told to a 3 week Toad frenzy!

The completed stone viewing screen viewed from the south end of the LNR across the existing pond.

Had a quick look at Jack rock area (Lizard Point) and Marsden bay on the way back and pleased to see Razorbills(30+) in small rafts along with larger numbers of Kittiwakes( 80+). First time I’ve seen either just off the shore like this here this year. (Mr Scott did canny yesterday).
Caught up with the Marsden Med. Gull also: This time it was on the southern end of the Leas, looking really nice now in almost full summer plumage.

And last stop off was to check on the Shields inland Kits site. One bird on the nest ledges and one flying around the building.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

SAFC Academy.

A stroll down to the Academy pools today after reading of a Drake Scaup present on BF. Thankfully the bird was still present when me and Max arrived. Nothing much else of note around the pool areas except for a few Reed buntings.

The return leg via the east side of the training pitches was a reminder that spring is just about upon us. A few Skylarks singing and about a dozen Linnets flitting about plus a few more Reed buntings near the mounds of grass cuttings. About 8 Meadow pipits in the area also. This male Stonechat flew along the fence line before feeding around the grass mounds

Then a Pied wagtail got my attention nearer the entrance. He flew up and another bird followed…this Snow bunting. This bird was of the showing type and was hardly bothered by mine, the dogs and a few other folks presences here.

Dropped into Lizard point on the way home. About 16 pairs of Cormorants look to have started to take up residence so far on Jack rock. Plenty of courtship and pair bonding taking place along with repairs to nests. No Razorbills or Kittiwakes arrived to these cliff sides as yet.