Monday, 22 April 2013

A few from this weekend

 A cracking few hours on Saturday just chilling watching 5 Yellow wagtails along with a few Wheatears, Meadow pipits, Reed buntings and Pied Wags feeding on the spoil heaps at Safc academy. This spot over the years often has attracted migrant birds on passage.

 On my first attempt at trying to see these birds a few days earlier ( whilst the blue-headed wag was here). the place was lifting with Wheatears. About 4 here on Saturday.
 Added bonus on that day of the fence line Snipe showing well just outside the car at the Moor lane flash.
 When I returned to the car on Saturday after enjoying watching the migrants around the spoil heaps this little belter had dropped into the flash on Moor lane. Also my first 2 Swallows of the year over the Academy pools this day.
And the flutterbyes were becoming active along the Hawthorn path area with about 6 of each of small tortoiseshell and Peacock.

 Highlights of Sundays visit to the Marine park was seeing these 2 ringed Herring gulls. The one above visited here last year and I recorded it on the 18th of May and also on the 29th of June.
Also my first Willow warbler of the year belting out its song almost as soon as I entered the park.
Not seen this one here before, details sent off to the ringing lads down south.

The Kittiwakes at Readheads landing are still about with 32 birds in the area at around noon on Sunday, about 14 appear to be on old nests.A count over the next few months will be needed to get a more accurate number of birds nesting here this year.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Todays adventures.

 This afternoon I ventured into a place that brought back many a childhood memory, a section of the Don that Ive not been to for many a moon. I think the last time I was by this section of the Don's bank I left with wet feet after falling in here from on a rope swing. ;-)  or chased because of venturing onto private land . I honestly didn't recognise this site as its matured over the years from what I remembered.
My reason mainly for this visit was to check for Otter sign with the survey organised by the Durham wildlife trust taking place next weekend and its within the the patch area Ive been allocated to survey.

That square looking stone in the above picture spot!
 Pretty fresh spraint and remains of older shit... This made the visit well worth while, not to mention my first Chiffy of the year calling in this area and a couple of male Bullfinch's of note.
 Bobby got a warm welcome here from these 'not too pleased' pair here.
 Sleepy Tawny from Whitburn today, well hidden...sort of.
 Another spot I dropped into today, the Lakeside ponds. This is the south pond here which is vastly over grown since this privately owned site has not been managed and looked after for the anglers. Looking good in my eyes! the other lake here still has open water and attracted a Great-crested grebe last year for a short time, which was an excellent bird for inland Jarra! Second Chiffy of the year calling here.
 Whilst in these parts today I ventured a little further onto the West pastures area. Knowing what this notorious area is like for dodgy folk I was surprised to see hardly any cars parked up or the same ones passing up teem times...( before anyone says owt...No I wasn't disappointed ).
Two of the fields in this area were lifting with Fieldfares! ...impossible to count but estimate 200-300.
The pond area held a few Wigeon and Teal still along with 20 or so Pied waggies and this White waggy. Also 2 Buzzards soared in the distance towards the Wardley area.

Not a great day for photos but a canny visit around the doors never the less.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Its like waiting for a bus....When one does arrive so does another 2 !!

 Finally after weeks of waiting my first Wheatear of the year was had today, and not just one either! 3 of these stunning male birds showed together along the fence line of the old shooting range field in Whitburn.
 They were first picked up on Jackies beach when me and Berb picked 2 up here before they flew off into the field above this beach. That's when number 3 joined them. Give it a week or so and the cry will be 'its just another Wheatear'.
 Dropped into the Washington wildfowl centre the other day. The car park was that busy here that the overflow one was being used, I had forgot the kids were off school.Great for this centre! but not so good if you want a nice quiet visit.....Surprisingly the wader lake hides were pretty quiet considering  the amount of folk who must have been in this centre this day.
 I had to count the Avocets here three times! as 11 of these fantastic waders were present on the wader lake here. I hadn't checked the centres web page for a while , the last time was when 7 birds were reported on this. So seeing 11 here was a pleasant surprise.

 Plenty of tension and scrapping going off with the Canada's and Greylags.
And this immature Mute swan ended up on the Wear after being chased numerous times along the lake here by this adult.
Couple of Black-tailed Godwits along with the Herons nesting exploits being the other highlights of this short visit which is one of the benifits of being a member of this wwt, you can pop in when you want, for as long as you want.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Serial Trillers

 Its April.....honest!..I had thought I might have been posting Wheatears or Chiffchaff on here by now not these winter beauties....
But nope, so far hardly any of the white rumped summer migrants have been sighted along our coastal area as yet, and hardly a 'Chiffing' thing heard or seen.
So when I was kindly informed that these bellters were still hanging around this morning (after being sighted yesterday), well we just had to go and have a look being only minutes away in the car in South Shields.
First pass and none were in view, second time lucky!.  32 had been sighted first thing this morning feeding on a canny number of berries left on the trees and this our second visit here, 18 birds showed.

We did a 3rd pass this afternoon and at first no birds to be seen and then 9 came over the roof tops and started to feed here. The visit was cut short when the the birds flew up onto a ariel before flying off again...the reason? the local Spuggyhawk bombed through seconds behind them.

As Jan was returning to the car she over heard some woman passing by saying to her companion- ' I hope they aren't taking pictures of bairns' referring to me and Ian mc. (who had his little lad present in his buggy). Thankfully this woman's companion reassured her that the cameras were being pointed at birds. The joys of urban birding and busy public places...! ;-)