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Wednesday, 28 February 2007


Sunday, 25 February 2007

24-02-07 The Back Garden

Friday the 23rd went to Hollyell Pond to check the gulls but with no surprises and called in to Blyth Harbour again thinking Friday afternoon all the fishing boats would come in bringing vast numbers of gulls with them,how wrong I was with less than I saw on the last visit and again no sign of the Snow Buntings.
Sat 24th not sure where to go as the weather outlook was not good,in the end decided to go to the "town" went to the bedroom to get changed and caught sight of a Sparrowhawk in the garden next door it had just caught something and was sitting on top of a small Willow, so I just looked at it thinking it would fly off but instead it began plucking the bird so I dashed off for the camera and took some shots through the window,still it sat so I climbed on the chair and slowly opened the top window but there was a branch in the way moved the chair to the next window opened it and took more shots but again a branch in the way how do I get higher quickly so I placed a set of drawers across the arms of the chair and climbed up with care and balanced here I got more shots,still it fed,and fed, and fed,scratched its head a couple of times looked around on hearing something and still it sat my arms ached with the camera, so I sent off for my bins and had a good look more photos more through the bins and all this as I was perched on a set of drawers balanced across the arms of a chair,with nothing left it flew off landed in a tree nearby spooking everything in it's path it then doubled back and flew out of sight.45 mins we had watched this bird too good an opportunity to miss it obviously either felt content to eat there or was very hungry,still got to the "town" but also caught in the heavy rain.

21-02-07 Blyth Harbour

I suppose I might as well put in the negatives in these pages an afternoon trip to Blyth Harbour with hardly a gull in sight a Cormorant sitting nearby as soon as I got the camera on it off it went, again no sign of the Snow Buntings

Thursday, 22 February 2007

20-02-07 JUST A WALK

Looking back on the Crag edge

The weather seemed OK when I left home but worsened as I drove inland to Wanney Crags and it was overcast and threatened rain all afternoon Meadow Pipits flitting about plenty of Wrens singing by far the commonest bird seen ,and the commonest heard but not seen where Crossbills calling just in from the edge of the woods but unable to see any ,heard them in flight also but again not seen,this area is very wet and boggy I walked all over with out a foot wrong until I crossed a very small wood bridge first foot on and I was on my back in the ditch,luckily my camera was OK.
Lots of signs of old industrial activity in this area and the modern tree felling with large areas opened up the only raptor seen, a Buzzard at the top of a tree on the drive back why is it there is always someone right behind you and you can't stop, also passed a dead bird not there on the run up all I saw was a black body with some bright red on pulled off the road and ran back thinking Black Grouse but as I neared it was only a Pheasant one of those really dark birds .
I once found a Barn Owl in a hole in an Ash tree as I drove passed and looked back in the interior mirror,but I also thought once I had passed a dead Peregrine only to find a Woodpigeon and small plastic racquet that gave the bird a barred effect,but you had to be there.
Could be a market for a field guide "Roadkills and how to Identify them at speed" (with recipes in the rear for the adventurous)

Plenty of singing Wrens
I think this is the flower of the Moss
Towards Sweethope
not sure what this is it seemed to point South lined up with the map ?

miles and miles of Nowt!!!

Monday, 19 February 2007

18-02-07 That Lark

Barn Owl on the Harvest Mouse release pens

It was midday before I got out on Sunday so I thought I would go up to find the Shore Lark again and look out for the favourite glove I lost on my last visit,picked out the Shore Lark in with Skylarks and tried to Digiscope it looked ok on the camera monitor but not very good when I looked at them at home also tried to get this unusual Jackdaw with light brown in the wing,from here to the screen still good numbers of Wigeon & Teal always worth a look,on to East Chevington,the highlight here was a Barn Owl hunting over the South Pool

17-02-07 INFINITY & BEYOND !!!


Actually it was just outside Morpeth at Stanton went on one of the DEFRA walks and combined it with footpaths & bridleways to make a circular route,I was surprised to see this private hanger and airfield just off the road ,inside the hanger is a prop aircraft like a fighter or trainer the grass runway was a strip down the centre of the field,on the edges someone had set up barrels in the trees for owls,only problem would be they where exposed and if in the sun would be like an oven inside,unless the leaves gave shade I checked a couple but no sign of pellets.

You need a map to find other routes from these walks as sometimes the way is not clear,we had to go through two farmyards and one had no markers at all,although the farmer was very pleasant,the light aircraft took off as we walked along the bottom of the track,how the other half live what!! these tracks on a field edge look like Badger to me,not many birds on this walk,two GSW, & Jays ,with a small flock of 100+ mostly Fieldfare again with a few Redwings in ,did see lots of single & twos & threes of Redwings along the route,surprised no Buzzards one Kestrel being the only raptor although the area looked very good ,Song Thrush,Wren, Chaffinch,Yellowhammer all in song,we passed the site of a Roman camp and near the Devils Causeway,also the remains of a sunken road it was quite wide but ran out in an open field perhaps it had been ploughed in but further down there is a ford marked on the map so I thought perhaps a drove road,we will perhaps do this walk later in the year as there are some interesting off shoots to explore.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

16-02-07 Blyth Harbour "TWITCH"

A few hours to check out the Harbour at Blyth looking for my own white winged gull,no sign of the Snow Buntings as the wind was blasting across the dunes, lots more gulls than on past visits checked and checked & checked again, no luck it was high tide and I did notice hundreds of gulls feeding over the sea just east of the pier right where the sea hits the pier over the rocks. I got involved in a sort of "twitch" as men with cameras at the ready came down to watch this ship leave the harbour with the aid of two tugs and head out to sea it was a very tight turn to get out of the dock but it is only when you see it go past the lighthouse that you realise how big it is,so I got caught in the moment and took some shots ,"twitch "over they all left and I went back to checking the gulls.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

14-02-07 NEW TRACKS

Heron Tracks

Found the Barn Owl nest

from the farmers directions

Spent today exploring where I have not been before hoping for raptors but the wind was perhaps to strong a very cold Westerly,I did have two Buzzards that followed me for some time always keeping a safe distance,I did come across about 400 Fieldfare with a few Redwing and further on about 200 more, I think they start to gather in huge flocks before they head back to the breeding grounds,I Digiscoped a Fieldfare nest in Estonia it was a large nest just on a flat bough,a lone Mistle Thrush probably wondering what was going on with the invasion,came across the tracks of a Heron I thought they where worth a photo ,also past a sheep farmer and we had a word the usual talk about weather etc he was saying there had been a heavy fall of snow last week no lambs unlike the coast,,after about 5hrs I got back to the car to find more Fieldfare sitting right above it before flying off,also a Buzzard flew past low over the field,and also what I thought a Green Woodpecker seen very briefly,sitting having a coffee before heading home,a Landrover pulled up and the driver asked if I was having a problem,turned out to be the same farmer I talked to earlier,he told me of a Barn Owl nest nearby,so I checked it out on the way home and sure enough it was sitting in the open ,I had the foresight to put the camera on the front seat and electric windows open very quietly,so got a couple of shots in the fading light,

The only sad thing,I asked the farmer if he ever got any owls on his side,NO the gamekeepers sort them out !!!

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

13-02-07 Druridge Bay

Today I went up for the Shore Lark reported again in with the Linnets & Twite, drove past Cresswell to avoid the crowds,well there where two cars there anyway,no I wanted to get some shots of the Shore Lark if possible so it was my intention to walk around the back of the dunes and stake out a good spot,I should have checked the field properly on the way past,I did not locate the flock at first so parked at Druridge and walked along to the heap that the birds seem to like and I had seen the Shore Lark on here before,a strong Westerly with no shelter did not bode well for Digiscoping the area is more open than it looks from the road,the flock settled nearby but no Lark other than Skylark and as the flock lifted and flew around I could see no sign of the Shore Lark so I took a couple of shots not the best I have taken,but you get what the conditions allow,on the walk back Twite where sitting in a bush behind the small wood.
On to the screen again plenty of Wigeon,Teal and some Shoveller and a Carrion Crow that thought he was a Peregrine as he made four attacks on the small pond trying to catch anything he could even having a go at a male Shoveller,a male Goldeneye tried his luck feeding for sometime in the shallow water.


Golden Plover & Goldeneye on the small pools

Sunday, 11 February 2007

11-02-07 NEWBURN

Most people just take the dog out!!!

Reports of Glaucous & Iceland Gulls at the old Stella power station site seemed a good opportunity to see these birds as I have not caught up with any for some time,there where already a few birders there with the birds picked out both 1st winters at a good distance actually photos taken in Northumberland and birds in Durham,but it was worth a couple of shots and they turned out ok,the Iceland took off and went up river it looked as though it was going to come back down and fly past us but it went down somewhere between the bread and pickle factories so at least it was on the Northumberland side,Redpolls flew over but did not settle I tried to find them later but with no luck.

1st Winter Iceland

1st Winter Glaucous

Wednesday, 7 February 2007


Went to Blyth South Harbour for the Snow Buntings hoping to actually get them on the snow Goldfinch singing nearby and Collared Doves pairing up hard to beleive thay only started nesting in this country in the early 50's,some years there are 20+ in the garden,8 Buntings now the flock very mobile with about 100 Eider also in the harbour area more gulls on the shed roof now but to far for bins & non in the harbour.