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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Swallow,Holywell, Blyth Harbour.

!6th February had a run to Swallow Pond  for a change of venue with reports of Mealies in with the Redpolls  it was a nice sunny day  which had brought out people in  numbers , the only sighting I had of  Redpolls was a flock that circled over the track then headed back west, so I headed off for the quieter  site of Hollywell Pond which was very quiet , so to take advantage of the light I thought I would head for the harbour again , not many gulls around , but the Snow Buntings still present sitting on the security fence their favourite perch, they where obliging enough to sit around so I took a few shots, thats my header  for next month sorted..
 The only two photos I got at Swallow Pond this one has a twig in front, and the frenetic Long Tailed , but I do like that face , cute or what !!!!!

 That does not look like a comfortable perch  does it !!!
 Trying to sport the Waxwing look .
Its been great to have these around for the Winter ,they brighter up any slow day .

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

No it is not a joke, but it is funny !!!!!!

Hope the Government don't get wind of this they might want to impose a new tax !!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Iceland Gull............. Fish Quay

Tuesday the 15th February, I wasn't really going to bother going out an other dull day in the offing , but the report of a Glaucous Gull at the Fish Quay North Sheilds and the sun trying to get out  I was off first problem road works at Spanish City took ages to get through then the road by the boating lake was closed ? so I had to work out how to get around and down to the quay. Well got onto the quay a few birders around, told me the Glauc was still around  and 2 minutes later the bird flew past us ,I remarked immediately that it looks more like an Iceland to me just going off its size and the bird not having that fearsome mean  look of  a Glaucous , but then I thought is it a Glaucous but at the smaller end of the range ? it landed briefly and I got some digi shots showing primary projection two toned bill with a slight (very) pale tip, "dark iris". This was at times a rather timid bird landing on the shed roof a couple of times chased off by Herring Gull Juv. I still think this is an Iceland Gull , but looking through the photos on my other posts of Iceland  ,provided I have I.D.'d all those correctly , the head of this bird does not fit the classic form, the bill looks a little long and in my last shot this looks more like Glaucous. When you read up on Gulls structure is to me the hardest  to assess  , but the head does look more rounded, so I'm going for 2nd winter Iceland Gull , iris is supposed to be pale at this age but can eye colour change quickly, not seen any photos with a transitional shade ?. Gulls can do your head in !!!!!!    I have labelled other posts with Iceland featured which were not previously linked.
Any comments welcome  even if it's just to say I'm wrong   !!!

 A very timid bird constantly chased off by other gulls
This shot looks a bit more like a Glaucous Gull

Friday, 18 February 2011

Great Grey Shrike ...Harwood

14 February it started as a bright and sunny day so I decided to go up to Harwood Forest, taking the bike with me as it is a long walk in to the area favoured by the wintering Great Grey Shrike, just  turned along the track to Harwood village and the clouds started to move in parked out on the road in a small layby as there is no vehicle access either through or around the village , biking was a bit of a trek up hill especially with all my gear .
Stopped at the pull in area as you go down to Tutehill Moss, scanned the area for an hour or so then walked down to the bridge  a group of 8 Crossbills dropped in to the  Birch which was the only tree for 100yds so I got  a few shots off before they headed on their way, Crossbills by far the commonest bird of the day with loads going over  and singles sitting on tree tops, a couple of Buzzards over , single Sparrowhawk , Mistle Thrush , Song Thrush , GSW, Siskin.. It got greyer and greyer then the rain with a heavy shower so I had to head into the trees it did not bode well  2 1/5 hours with no sign of the Shrike, but shower over it got brighter  scope out again scanning around , after checking "things " that I thought could be it , eventually picked it out with the bins got the scope on it was only about a foot from the ground on the edge of the small trees , being someway off I decided to walk down the hill again packed the scope down but in the mean time the bird was gone , gave it another hour but no sign.

Crossbills Harwood forest Northumberland

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Holywell to Ross Sands February 5th,9th,12th.

February is ticking along on the 5th I cycled to Holywell along the coast ,40 Curlew, 5 Grey Partridge, 3 Hare, and 20+ Common Gull on the school field can attract a few hundred at times. Nuthatch , GSW & Tree Creeper ,which landed at the base of a tree just feet away  of course I had not brought the camera , predated Woodcock in the cem 70+ linnets along the track, 25 Mallard,2 Gadwall, 15 Tufted & 5 Goldeneye, I just got sight of a large gull  leaving the pond west, it was overall biscuit coloured , two toned bill, plain tail but slightly darker  tones in the wing tips which puzzled me , of course I immediately reached for the camera which I did not have . I thought Glaucous at the time given the build but the wing colour bothers me .

9 February just another cycle to the harbour, just to clarify the harbour is the South Harbour Blyth accessed from the beach road park near the caravan storage and walk in. The Quay is the area further up river you can drive to the waters edge at places, especially opposite the Alcan jetty.    A small Common Seal  feeding in the harbour and 6 Snow Buntings still around but again no sign of the RNG.

12 February I went with the NTBC to Ross sands unfortunately the weather was not in our favour with rain and poor visibility ,first stop Budle Bay, single Brent many Bar TG, Redshank & a few Dunlin  nevertheless, I picked out about 10-12 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter , Long Tailed Ducks, but oddly no divers they could have been just further out. On the Walk back it was brighter a Merlin on a post . A look for the Geese to the west eventually finding three Pinkfeet and over the hill some Greylag which held 4 Bean Geese , which took some picking out, some could see them easily and some not at all ( including me) getting at the right angle and with a bit of sun the birds stood up and showed to all. Stag Rocks it was brighter again a flock of Purple Sandpiper dropped in I got a quick count of 65 ( I think later the total was 135?  ) again plenty of Long Tailed Ducks one or two close in , a few more Slavonian Grebe, but again no Divers.
Stopping at Monks House Pool we picked out an overall  whitish gull odd looking thing, large white covert patch with a few flecks on the mantle and body ,all dark bill beady dark eye (against the light ) and lightish brown tips to  the wing and undertail coverts, not the best of views as it was among many other birds , I wondered if it was a hybrid of some sort  or perhaps had some Kumlieni influence , whatever it is , its worth looking out for.

 Kittiwake and Common Seal Blyth harbour
This  Spider was on the wall at home only about 1/4 " long

Friday, 11 February 2011

Cycle along the coast 1-2-11

Tuesday 1st February just a slow cycle along the coast , can't have been very exciting  as I have nothing noted in my book , the beach at blyth was alive with Starlings using the playground as a  place to preen on a few singing away, lots of Black headed also feeding the scraps from fish & chips, no sign of any Med in with them. Along at the Seaton Sluice these Alpacas (also brown ones) ? looking rather odd on the coast, I'm sure I saw a note on the fence sometime ago saying if you want to feed them call into the house for a bag of food , great for the kids ,I think I spent most of the time talking  at the wetland hence no notes, it seems a sunny day anyway going off the photos , my memory is clogged with useless data wish I could get a reboot!!!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

31st January .......the month ends

31st January this month ends ,spent today as most days of the month at Blyth Harbour still no sign of any Glauc/Iceland coming in the only bird I have heard of is an Iceland at Newbiggin area, Red-Necked Grebe still on the river and some Mergansers  Snow Buntings still flitting around but no photo opportunities. 

 I was trying to get a shot of one after the other but is was impossible.
 Red -necked Grebe coming into the river

F Merganser with 1st year Eider

Friday, 4 February 2011

Blyth Harbour............ 29-01-2011

Just a couple of hours down at the harbour 5 Mergansers which flew back up river the Red Necked was feeding near the east pier , was hoping the boats would bring in a Glauc/Iceland plenty of birds following the boats in .Snow Buntings just over the wall on the dunes as I headed back home.

You have to swallow very fast when feeding in the harbour

the late afternoon as the sun starts to set

The river held loafing gulls that had come in with the boats