Sunday, 23 February 2014

New 'tick' in Marine park... maybe?

This afternoon myself, the better half and Bob stretched our legs around the local duck feeding  area of South Marine park lake. After viewing a Rat or two around the tree'd area along with the usual stuff bird wise here in this type habitat it was time to do the 'once around' viewing the inhabitants and visitors on this lake.
A 'white winged'  adult gull was hanging out with a few Black headed gulls on the lake bathing here, the first thought was Mediterranean gull  .  It became apparent this gull was not a typical adult Med. gull even with the naked eye views we had.
This adult birds wings,tail-  as a Med. gull , white winger.
Body size- as a Black headed gull
Head ....more interesting!  shape and size of a B.H. gull including the bill. Hood pattern as black headed but!  a good degree darker colour wise along side the other black headed gulls for comparison. The birds hood was about 3 quarters complete summer plumage wise.
Another mix to the flock

Sunday, 16 February 2014

More camera magnets.

 I was informed a few days back that a Lapland bunting or two had been picked up (again) along the coast line walk of the Leas between the mound and Manhaven bay. So with the sun god smiling today, I set off to try my luck here for a couple of hours with my wellies in tow.(wise move this one!). I was between Frenchmans bay and Manhaven bay before the first Snow buntings were picked up, 6 flew overhead and landed just south of Frenchmans bay. Whilst watching these my lugs picked up the twitter of more of these belters passing by, sure enough another 11 flew towards the south side of Frenchmans bay...including a nice brown straggler.
 The second group of Bunt's was picked up again not far from where I watched them land.One's arse parked on the nearest bench to them here and scanning began again..this was short lived as they were off again within minutes of my arrival here.Thankfully the 'straggler' piped up and canny views were had as it flew by.

Edit..Mr DJ has kindly allowed me to use this great record shot he took a few days back on this blog.

Really nice to hear Skylarks singing again here, along with a fair few passing through north on this visit.

 Wor local resident Med. gull starting to change into summer plumage.
And about the best of the bunch of record shots I managed from last Sunday's twitch for the Myrtle warber. Just pleased to see the bird.

Friday, 7 February 2014

At last, patience paid off.

 I didn't hold much hope out for any type of sightings 'water related' when I visited a section of the Don's banks today. Especially when I seen the water level here which was higher than my last visit a few days back,which I thought was high then!. I did a short walk along the river bank here and as I thought no signs visible on any exposed marking points to indicate fresh use by otter, hardly surprising as most of the 'regular' spots i know of were under water.   So on the return leg I stood and watched the bank side's in a few places where fresh looking holes looked to have been made by the other mammal who still lives along these bank sides and I've only had brief glimpses of over the last few years here. And then at the last spot I chose to view, Mr or Mr's Ratty came out to feed...first off seen running along a small section of mud, then 15 minutes later a bramble clump showed movement and about 10 minutes after this it ventured down the side of the embankment and showed well for about 15 seconds.
 It's called Spike....after the Gremlins character. No idea why it has a white patch on its head.?
Needless to say I left with a huge grin on my dish after this experience and wet my lips for more of the same.
 Just a couple more from earlier this week, four Snow buntings around the sand dunes area behind the fair. 17 reported around Frenchmans bay( the leas) the same day.
Best count I've had so far this winter of Pochard on Marine park lake on Tuesday gone. This female was just chilling with 8 drakes for companionship.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

I didn't bring waders.

 Only had a couple of hours to spare this morning today and I was still pondering on the carp saga I witnessed yesterday. So the first stop off was back to where this canny sized fish was sighted yesterday to see if there had been more developments. Oh yes they had been..What was left of the fish looked straight out of a comic book really, only the head and tail basically still intact and it had been dragged from the stream to the underside of a hedgerow. Lot's of print sign around the area today and judging by the size of these, more than likely a canny sized dog has been having ago at this fish since yesterday. Still thinking the original thief was a bit more careful regarding leaving signs of it being here and had been disturbed with this catch.

So after a quick once over around the Cockcrow area next, I had the bright idea of having a short visit to Chester-le-street riverside....( daft lad strikes again!)  The above shot shows the river level at this regular waterfowl feeding area today, most of the Swans etc. still there but unfortunately the seating arrangements and riverside path were a little damp.
 Only picked up 3 Goosanders, but they showed well as always here.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


 Dropped into a few local sites today-one or two that you don't hear many reports from and a couple that are well known. The first two shots are of a Carp which looks pretty freshly caught to me, which I came across in one of the small streams not too far away from a area that holds these game fish. This fish was about 18'' in length and 'something' had been making a meal of it! I've no idea regarding the weight of this fish but 'whoever' had dragged it into this stream, hadn't left any fresh prints around where the fish now lay.
 Ok...its a close up of the eaten flesh, are those eggs on show???

Otter sign was found not too far away from where the fish was found with old spraint and anal jelly marking a flat surface. Me thinks more investigation needed in this area.
 Another section of mud checked out today and this one showed quiet a bit print sign. These where all fresh as this section is within the tidal stretch of the Don and a good few of these lead into the water on this low tide visit.
 Lesser Redpoll from Station burn, 4 feeding along the Don's bank here today not much else really bird wise on this visit of note.
Two male Goosander on the Cockcrow pond in Hebburn. These two were of the 'not come to bread' variety and kept their distance from the duck feeders armed with sliced white.

Note to myself.. take the bloody small digi out Every time!