Saturday, 28 April 2012

Round 2/3. (LOTR's in Trow)

 Will they still be there??? the question that ran through my mind this morning whilst deciding where to walk (patch watch) little legs. No choice really had to try Trow again on the off chance the Ouzels  where still around. After two circuits of the main bowl areas and walking the mound it didn't look to nowt showing(bar a Redwing of note). Met with Mr D.G. and Dennis here on the way back and their luck wasn't in either. We had given up really and headed off in different directions. Driving out of the Trow approach road I seen Mr Williams and his good lady on the cliff top edge here.. "Seen owt Adam" I shouted.. "Two Ouzels just showed".. and a male was still visible when I parked up in haste.
Davy and Dennis where called back and thankfully both birds showed for them....eventually.
 Quick visit later with the better half resulted in seeing both the birds straight away...(thankfully for our Lass). And final quick look on the way home..pleased P.D. also managed to see them.
No doubt about a pair of birds today (as thought yesterday)but no sign of a second male today. The birds have been mainly frequenting the west end of the quarry here, often going to ground around the ivy type plants and also feeding on berries here. Often a fly over onto gun point but they always have returned to this part of the quarry after being disturbed.
Record shots again....Just observing them on a local patch for a couple of days is reward enough for me.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Canny bag

 Dog walk this morning started off well, this male White Wagtail was working the rail line in South Marine park. He didn't hang around long and flew off out of the park. The pair of Canada's are now becoming almost resident in this park now. Very little in the way of water fowl here now as to be expected.
 The pair of Linnets behind the fair continue to become tamer... Single female Wheatear beside the pier rocks.
 I had wanted to walk up the pier today especially when I spotted a dozen or Eiders rested up on the bend and a few Terns where hanging around but the gate was shut... Consolation prize being 2 Artic terns doing a fly over.(another first for the year). So thought I would try North Marine park on the way back and headed back along the pier, that's when the day really started to shine!. Alert off Mr Mc..."Ouzel Trow"..I then checked the surface feeding gulls etc. just off Little Haven on the way and this Iceland gull was present. (had it down as 2/3 winter/summer but probs 1st summer.) The north park visit was abandoned because of a pressing engagement.
 This Lesser Whitethroat showed canny in Trow and the Ouzels (yes Ouzels!) didn't whilst I was here. I thought I had seen 2 males and a female but just put it down as a pair.Later I was told another lad had seen 2 males and a sub- adult so 3 have been confirmed.
 Best poor record shot I got and more or less sums up what the birds where doing on our visit. Another Wheatear paid a visit and a Chiffy also.(female Blackcap seen by others).
 Eventually got to the Washington wwt after another brilliant Trow experience so our lass could see the Avocet chicks. Added bonus of another first of the year here- single Common tern on the island (8 seen earlier I was informed). Plus a single Little ringed Plover of note.
 A few other babies on show including these..
The big-gun lens where out today in the wader hide and more where on the way when we left! mobile tiddler was no match..
After the last visit to the wwt I had to make do with the captive Otters on this one...still nice though.

Quick stop off at the flats on the way home and a Green Sandpiper was showing canny on the opposite side of the road ending the day nicely.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bunt hunt

Its there...honest!
 After yesterdays fruitless try for the Corn Bunting at Wellands farm area I had almost give up on the bird.Today I was supposed to be doing a few jobs to earn extra pass outs...that was until Mr Mc. rang with the news he had seen the bird on the farm buildings roof!. ...."Time to walk the dog again I thought" and did!.
After about 30 minutes at the farm area I was about to give up, but the bird eventually showed in the hedgerow just to the north of here and began calling. Its been a long time since Ive seen one of these Buntings in ST.
Today's visit here also got me my 2 first House Martins of the year which dropped over the rape fields along with loads of Swallows and Sand Martins.
 Nope its not the ST bird...but what one looks like a bit closer.(taken at Bempton a couple of years back).
 My first male Orange tip butterfly of the year yesterday at Wellands farm and also first Grasshopper warbler of the year reeling away.
Flats still has the drake Garganey along with 7 Black-Tailed Godwits today of note (and a pair of Gadwall).

Monday, 23 April 2012

Its starting to Tern.

 Back down the old patch this morning, Sandhaven and the pier. Before we had even reached the dunes I could hear the welcome sound of Sandwich terns. About 10 birds where fishing around the pier area but didn't come close enough in for any good shots. No doubt a few will over the next few months and I can fill me boots(again).
Small increase with Warblers in south Marine Park- 2 male Blackcaps, 1 Chiffy and a Willow warbler calling.( different for here).
 Some folk will have noticed that the council have erected a few large signage boards up behind the fair. The few that have been placed here already give a insight to some of the history of this area along with other interesting facts. And a few visitors have been snapped on the beach here and made it onto these boards. We had the pleasure of meeting this mother and daughter team last August when they travelled up to see the Roseates terns on Sandhaven.

Checked the Flats this afternoon- Drake Garganey still present along with Green Sandpiper(only seen one again) and a pair of Shovelers of note... Lesser Whitethroat still showing canny along Blue house lane, but its still camera shy.
 Had to venture onto the Shearwater est. later today and it was great to see one of these crossing the road here!
Only 2 male birds left here now...I reckon its about time these splendid chaps got a few ladies for company.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Short walk along the Cox Green section of the Wear today- All the usual suspects. This was after I had learnt about a cracking male Redstart caught this morning at Whitburn.(teach me to leave the phone in the car!).
Called at Herrington cp on the way back and was nice to see a pair of Great crested grebes here.
Then stopped at the flats- canny few Tufties here today along with pair of Canadas, 4 Dabchicks, 3 Shelducks of note. Also the drake Garganey and a single Green sandpiper showing.(2 had been seen earlier and a Whimbrel.)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Ya see the rain dance worked...just a bit late thats all!

 This was the scene at Boldon Flats this afternoon(blue skies!). The mooooost water the site has seen all winter!, typical! If the sluice gate had still been in place the road here would have been flooded and closed.
 Unfortunately a few Lapwing eggs will have been destroyed with this flood here, but other birds will benefit from it...and a few local birders.
Its ironic really that just 2 weeks back the new ponds at Whitburn had to be artificially filled, this Aprils showers I think would have done the job
 This afternoons visit was my second of the day and in much better weather conditions.The Drake Garganey was right over the other side when we first arrived along with a Black-tailed Godwit.So we went along Blue house lane to catch up with a Lesser Whitethroat and Jan got her best views to date of the illusive species. Other side of a bush always...but good nether the less. Excellent encounter this as the bird was giving off both and usual song.
Hr Hogg was still present when we wandered back along the flats road and he told us the Garganey was on this side of the flood. Excellent views had of my first ST Garganey. (its in the above shot taken from the car pull in area).
 Mr Garganey with Teal....
 Mr Garganey with Mr Mallard....
 Mr Garganey goes solo...
This was the scene on my visit this morning, it soon started pissing down and the toys had to be put away. But I had been just happy seeing this bird then and also my first Sand Martins of the year after Keith Mc,s. text this morning.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Few hours today

 Started out today at the Academy pools, a very easy to forget visit..nowt really showed.
Then headed to Whitburn- 5 Bar tailed Godwits and 20 Sanderling in the small bay area. Then my first Swallow of the year flew over.! Quickly followed by another 2 along the cliffs here.
 Trow this afternoon- 6 Wheatears(5 males) in the two bays here and 5 Sandwich terns off Sandhaven beach.
 This is the only female Wheatear Ive seen so far this year.
 18 Turnstones and 6 Purple sandpipers in the 2nd bay. Probably the pier birds as it seemed a little rough on the south side of the pier today.
Turnstone wars where going off here!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A few more sightings this week.

 Ive watched this Mistle thrush nest for a week or so, its on a public path and right next to private housing and playing fields. At first I thought its got no chance of survival because of its location and how low to the ground it is. But I was over the moon to see one of the parents feeding at least 2 young the other day in heavy rain conditions..and also a Magpie was chased off during this time.(now that brought a smile to my face, song birds 1- corvids 0). Mistle thrushes are excellent parents,anyone one or anything venturing too close to their nest or young will be attacked...

 The Academy pools yesterday... this Cormorant showed well on the side of the larger pool along with 2 others. At first I thought a bit of grass was hanging from the birds bill......nope its fishing line.
 It wasn't until I moved around a little the true horror of this birds plight became known to me. It looks like its swallowed the hook end of some type of sea fishing tackle ...( no expert on fishing kit.). There's little hope for the bird really and catching it wouldn't be easy either.
 Stuck this one on because it highlights the reason why Lizard point car park is closed to the public. Neither the Council or the National Trust can guarantee safety here...careful where you walk.
 Still the birds love it, pleased to say.
 And one or two imm. Kits follow the full adults to nesting sites.
Nice one from the ringing hut yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Otterly Brilliant!

 We visited the Washington WWT today and I doubt we will forget this visit in a hurry!. This was our second visit in the last few days and whilst we seen more or less the same things on both visits, today's was a tad special. Whilst in the wader hide here a bloke and his 2 young lads came in and told us he had just seen 2 Otters on the Wear. By the time we got out and looked there was no sign. So we wandered a little further down river to the kingfisher type screen area, that's when the better half spotted 3 heads swimming out towards the far back.
 Once the female Otter and her two well grown offspring reached the far back they began to fish along here.
 We watched the 3 of them for about 5 minutes as they worked the bank area and came out of the water a couple of time to feed on their catch.
 They then headed up river and we lost sight of them...
Well that's Otters in Scotland, Northumberland and now Sunderland we've seen ...A South Tyneside one would be nice now!.
 Oh and the other stuff wasn't bad either! 8 Avocets on Monday and 7 showing today, a cracking summer plumaged Black -tailed Godwit(both days) and the constant Heronery mention a few.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Whitburn point gathering

 This was the scene at about 11am this morning at the Whitburn point LNR pond project, 14 volunteers turned out to lend a hand.Not just members of the CCG or from our area,but like minded folk willing to lend a hand. Also Senior lads on hand to advise...  
 Fantastic effort made in just under two hours, a ton or two of soil etc. moved.
 Also the world was put to rights..
 And Jimmy not only brought his own shovels but a bottom- less flask..
Graham and the rest of us hole diggers where feeling a tad done in near the end.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Over the border ( Tyne wise).

 Another one of those "where to go for a few hours trips" today with the better half. Eventually headed off into North Tyneside and the first port of call was a cracking site which has been developed so well over the years into a visitor friendly type establishment(far cry from 25-30 years back I think). I think this Red deer Stag vouches for this, he's been here years I believe. Today he was competing with the horses for carrots etc. supplied by a local in one of the fields. Its just a pity the poor stag has no hinds to care for.
Birdy wise today wasn't great, all the usual stuff but nice all the same.
 Still a unreal sight viewing a stag in Wallsend!..
After the highlands of Wallsend it was the Tundra regions of Killingworth for our next port of call. This Whooper swan was keeping its distance but seemed semi-tame amongst the masses of Mutes here, always a strange sight I think to come across in duck feeding areas( One of Arcots finest has informed me the birds been here months. cheers!). Loads of Tufties on Killy lake along with other common wildfowl but no Great Created Grebes on show whilst we where here. Still a nice visit, got to be a year since our last one here.