Thursday, 30 August 2012

The last week or so...

After many a wander along this old pier, my personal count of Roseate tern numbers peaked last Wednesday for this season here. A grand total of 14 birds using the rocks and pier area for resting up mainly. This count also included 5 juveniles, the most Ive seen this year also. These birds were split into two groups on this visit, one group on the north side (rocks) and the other on the south side(over the wall).  Its not bad at all for a heavily used piece of of man made structure! And like many have said who have visited over the last few weeks : its probably one of the best sites away from breeding grounds to view these terns so closely.
 But unfortunately not close enough for some I've been told...some arsehole ventured onto the pier rocks trying for closer shots!!!
One of the juveniles Roseates was blue colour ringed like the one I seen a week or so back( no idea if its the same one?). This blue tape was only applied to 5 juveniles rings on Coquet island as part of a survey they were carrying out.
Four Med. Gulls seen on 2 occasions on the Leas, between Trow entrance and the Marsden car park. Two of these birds are acting as if paired still, following each other around. The regular Marsden car park bird turned up last week and pleased to say its business as usual with this one, just sitting around waiting for scraps off folk parked up here.(or down the bay here).
Boldon flats has been a massive success this year with the rain we've had which has topped this field up nicely at times. This and the cattle on here at this time of year have created ideal wader habitat at times. Last Sunday seen a first for me here after dropping in around tea time, 3 Wood Sandpipers together and one was calling,something else Ive never heard before! this also had a couple of lads here searching for the culprit making the call until nailed down.
Tuesday evening just gone:  Off up the Northumberland coastline on a pelagic. This first Ive been on for 2 years. Always worth trying to make one of these trips if you can, nowt is guaranteed but its always a great experience regardless of sightings. The highlight of this one was a few White-beaked Dolphins giving brilliant views briefly, roughly somewhere off the Whitley bay area. One of these Dolphins came right along side the boat before they all moved off.
As the sun went down the Northumbrian coastline looked nice. Warkworth castle I think in the distance?
Could this be my last shot of resting Roseate tern around the pier this year?  This was taken on yesterdays visit and the only Rosy that was present around the area on this visit. This adult was rested on the south side of the pier. None heard or seen this evening.
Common terns are still hanging about on the last two visits around 30 birds feeding mainly around the pier area in the rougher water conditions. Some of the juveniles present at the moment seem to be the last off-spring breeding wise of these birds as expected this time of year here. 6 juvs. on Sandhaven this evening.
Purple Sandpipers (3) back on the pier from at least last Wednesday and still there this evening.(if the same birds? which I think they are).
Four Whimbrel with one Barwit passed over heading south yesterday together, which took me by surprise and the camera was'nt out! This evening 4 Knots landed briefly on Sandhaven before heading north. Bonus of a single Wheatear (male) this evening also on Sandhaven rocks.
Rock pipits along the pier are almost hand tame at times again looking for scraps (4).

Saturday, 18 August 2012

What a belter for here!

 Dropped into a few areas this afternoon around the doors. First off me and Max went into Trow quarry and around the Leas mound, which was pretty fruitless really except for Little owl, single Willow warbler and nice views of Razorbill adult and juv. off target rock area.
Then down to Whitburn steel area -hardly any gulls on the sea at this time so no hopes of the Bonapates gull showing well feeding with black- headed  mates here on this visit. Single s/p. Barwit was more or less the highlight on this visit. Over 150 Golden plovers flew over heading inland whilst on the approach road to Whitburn, another resting site somewhere near.?
Boldon flats was next, poor for myself without having my scope at hand.  Plenty of Curlews and a Green sandpiper lifted from the longer grass. Some good waders reported here this morning..(again).
Mill lane on the way back to the coast..Hundreds if not thousands of gulls feeding on the ploughing of a field here and a few birders trying to find a needle in a haystack.!.. (myself included for a while). But nice to have a bit patter here with a couple of lads.
And then the pier's magnet kicked in,the call was just too strong to resist again especially at high tide,mega busy again.
Very few terns around again on this visit but a nice bit patter with another couple of lads with cameras here enjoying the views of a single adult and juv. Roseate tern at close quarters.

 I had been a lazy git today on this visit and parked in the pier car park, paying the 60 pence fee for a hour here, unlike what I normaly do and park on the west of the Marine parks for free and walk over.
 This parking time limit was playing on my mind a little whilst rattling with the lads here, so I checked my phone to see what time it was.Thats when I seen a text off Ray Scott to inform me that he had had a Black tern on the rocks here about 30 minutes before I had arrived. I mentioned this to the lads I was talking to here and as if by magic...the bugger landed right in front of us as we spoke!!!!!
 Its a first for me here and I doubt I will ever get better views of this tern ever!..Stunning along with Rosy views. ( above shot ..only cropped side ways)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bonjour Yankee (again).

 After devouring the evening meal (me tea) today.  I got the shout from a few lads that the french sounding yank gull had once again been picked up along our shores!. Me and Max went forth.
Only a few folk present at first when we arrived but this twitch number built up slightly a little later as obviously word spread and peeps managed to get down for a quick look. 
The tide was on the way out so views from cliff tops at the north end of the beach beside Latimers at Whitburn were good but not as good as some of us have had in the past here.( a visit or two at the higher tide level I dare say will be on the cards again.). Myself and Derek C. ventured onto the beach with the general public and tried for a few record shots behind the seaweed barrier.
 But its been a fantastic hour or so down here this evening, the finder D. Foster also picked out a Yellow wagtail and two Black terns were present also! Larger numbers of waders and terns here now than on visits in the last couple of weeks.
This Bonaparte's gull I think has graced our coastline for the 3rd year in row! ?. Where's it been and gone between the reports along our coastline around this time of year..? a question many pondered this evening.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The last couple of visits enjoying the views.

 This has been the view of Sandhaven the last few visits from the pier. Not exactly the Med., but fully used in these nicer weather conditions to its full potential. Its great to see the beach as popular as this because it brings in a vitally important boost to the local economy.
 On the other hand it does push the Terns etc. that generally like to rest up on the golden sands here onto the pier area. Now this might be great for us birders and photographers regards getting outstanding views but I'm pretty certian it reduces the numbers on show around these parts at this time of year.

 6 adult Roseates around on todays visit, 5 landed together on the rocks(could only cram 4 together in this record shot) along with 3 Juvs. Another adult was seen and heard calling whilst fishing.
And this family shows a nice selection of jewellery !One adult ringed on both legs, the other adult only one leg, and the juv. has been ringed with a BTO ring? and a blue band on the other leg.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Its lovely along the Shields pier at the moment. ;-)

 A wander along the local pier yesterday resulted in outstanding views of Terns rested up mid way along on the rocks here. This is a spot these birds use sometimes when the southern side of the pier is too rough sea wise to rest up and Sandhaven is too busy with beach bums etc. for them to settle too long.

 Yesterdays count of Roseates whilst I was here was - 3 adults and 3 Juvs. (another juv and adult on Sandhaven).
 And fantasic to have a bit patter with a couple of lads from the the Lakes area on Sunday who had travelled to our neck of the woods to view the Roseates...they left happy.

 A few shots from today's visit at 3pm( the 3 above). Around the high tide mark again and on the pier rocks, but slightly different numbers: 4 Juv Roseates with 3 adults, another Juv. on Sandhaven.
  This un-ringed Rosy juv. rested up with the other terns here today on the rocks.
 The Kits corner of pier is starting to build up nicely again with these birds leaving the nesting sites locally. A Shag also paid a visit today.
 Nice mix of waders at Whitburn yesterday ..including my first Knot and Barwit of this late summer/post breeding.
And finally this one has to be included.(mega record shot) Seen yesterday going over our heads on the pier and heading for a gathering of gulls near the north side of the Tyne. The Skua took down a Herring gull juv. whilst we watched at a distance. Bonxie has the nod.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

What a night!

 I have to admit the thought of being eaten alive by midges(soft shite that I am) has always put me off going looking for Nightjars, hence I had'nt seen a one, before last night. But the offer of attending a ringing session in Northumberland was just too good to pass up. (especially as 3 had been ringed a few days earlier at the same site.)
I 'ordered' the better half to try and find the best new midgy gear possible before this evening and she came up trumps! (which seems to have worked this time!), a few of the lads turned up with head nets, body vests and full type bed come the bride- Mr CW or was it prince of Arabia.?
 After a meet-up on the A69 with Adrian it was a case of follow that car...! various twists and turns on country roads later we ended up on the edge of a conifer forest.( I might as well been blind folded didn't have a clue where I was, just as well I wasn't driving).What the few of us who attended know is it was in Slaley forest somewhere and the main man has permission from the Forestry commission to be carrying out this survey work here.
With a couple of nets positioned in a area Adrian had had success in previously, a few of us had a wander up the track leading to the south-east.When we reached a 'Y' junction in the track, the first Nightjar of the evening was heard calling and very close!.. this was 9.25pm. (I checked the time). This bird put on a canny show around this area, floating over our heads at times and landing in the same area it had came from (one of them moments you cannot forget..Incredible for me!). Another net was set up in this area after these sightings, and despite constant contact with the the Jars it didn't produce.

 BUT....the first net/s did produce, only once on various checks, and 2 birds.!..(guess who has the bird in the hand.?  ;-)  looking forward to the blog post.).
The bird in the above shots is a male showing the white flash on the outer wing(when extended) .
What a bird to see so close up and also to encounter in natural habitat so to speak.
Don't think the smile has left my face yet and neither will it when I mention this night again.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Short walk this evening (guess where?)

 If anyone hasn't got a interest regards the Terns rested up in the South Tyneside area (especially Sandhaven)  at this time of year I suggest this blog is not for you at the moment.As this one might go into overload over the next few weeks, hopefully!. ( Turned on by Terns our lass says...!).. Just making hay when the sun shines in my eyes as much as you can. And loving it!

 A squadron of around 30 Sandwich terns were present on this short visit at first, a group like this I've learnt you cannot think about getting near. They take all of the resting terns with them when "spooked/disturbed) Similar to the Redshank and waders.
It was about high tide on this short visit and after the main Sandwich tern group had departed the other Terns settled more.

2 adult Roseates and 2 young-uns. single Arctic tern and a nice supporting cast. Not bad for about 10-15 minutes here.
Manhaven bay yesterday, another cracking hour or so on beach clean up duties, its a addictive.