Monday, 20 February 2017

Bittern

On Sunday I got a text message from Mike Carr to say he'd just had a Bittern at Branton Ponds, we were straight out  but didn't see the bird. Mike then sent us a stunning flight shot of the bird which left us drooling, so at first light on Monday we were in position staking out the site, eventually we briefly saw the bird as it flew from one side of the pond to the other, then back home for breakfast.
This is the second record for the site after a bird in 2014 and many thanks to Mike who provided the photos.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A small sign of Spring

At Branton the signs of spring can come in many forms, bulbs sending leaves skywards, frogspawn in sheltered pools or maybe some early insects on the wing. One of our favourite indicators is usually found curled up on a dry south facing bank, and today looked perfect for the first Adders of the year, so with this in mind I set off checking likely spots all to no avail, as I returned home the second shift headed out in the form of Keith, as the day grew warmer the prospects improved and he was soon looking at looking at a small male Adder basking in the sunshine, our first of the year, a couple of days later than last year but hopefully a sign of things to come.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Pacific Diver

Over the last couple of weeks, a very rare bird has been frequenting either Druridge Bay Country Park or East Chevington North Pool. The bird, a Pacific Diver Gavia pacifica is the north west American counterpart to out own Black throated Diver. This is the first record for Northumberland and maybe only the 8th for the UK. The bird is best viewed on one of its sorties north onto the lake at DBCP where it sometimes comes to within 20 feet of observers.It is more distant when on East Chevington, but regardless of that, if you are in the area. call in, its well worth the visit, you might not see another for a very long time.

Nearby are a nice wintering party of 7 Shorelarks and 80 Twite feeding on the beach at the Chevington Burn mouth. Even more reason to pop in!

Pacific Diver, on DBCP lake.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Doon Sooth

Today we decided to head south of our usual patch in search of Gulls to add to our year lists, by down south this meant the delights of North Shields Fish Quay. We were not disappointed after checking out numerous large Gulls on the Fish Quay roof our first target in the shape of a juvenile Iceland Gull was hard to miss as it cruised close to the quay amongst the trawlers. Next a feeding frenzy of gulls produced our next bird in the form of a juvenile Glaucous Gull a big brute of a bird which was very happy to exchange blows with the Great-black Backs, as we watched the melee a Kingfisher flew past the Low Light. Next to Newbiggin which produced 7 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, at Cresswell 80+ Pinkfeet fed in a field. At East Chevington near the burn mouth the 7 Shore Larks were still present, whilst on the North Pool we found a male Scaup and another Kingfisher appeared. Our last port of call was just north of Warkworth where 35 Whooper Swans fed in a field with several Mute Swans.   

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Wild Goose Chase

With Keith full of cold I decided to have a day's birding in the Bamburgh area, the first port of call being Harpers Heugh to look for Geese, unfortunately as with almost every area I visited today the shooters were out in force. There were a few geese in fields just west of Budle Bay, mainly Greylags but also 3 Pink-feet and a single Brent Goose. Next to Stag Rocks where at least 50 Long-tailed Ducks were offshore accompanied by Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser and 15 Red-throated Divers. In yet another change of scenery I headed off to Spindlestone Hides where the feeders had Chaffinches, Blue,Great and Coal Tits on them along with Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch, but no Marsh Tits. My final visit was to Elwick where the fields were alive with the sound of geese, there were about 2000 Pink-feet and almost 1000 Barnacle Geese, also 6 Bean Geese, 30+ Pale Bellied Brent Geese and the unusual sight of a Bar-headed Goose.      

Saturday, 26 November 2016

East Chevington 26th November

Shore Larks are one of those birds which are either here in small numbers at this time of year or totally absent, so when 7 turned up at East Chevington it would be churlish not to go and have a look. The birds were soon located but getting good views were not easy as the number of people on the beach meant that they were very flighty. It is the most we have seen at any one time in the county but not for some favoured locations, north of the border at John Muir Country Park there has been a flock of up to 35 birds for the last few days, lets hope they stay for a while longer so more people can enjoy these stunning little birds.
    

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Waxwing Winter

This week has seen a large movement of that favourite of winter visitors into the county - the Waxwing. The last Waxwing Winter was in 2012, so lets hope this is a good one, its certainly started well.

Birds have been reported in the following locations - Cramlington [200], Ashington / North Seaton [350], Alnwick Moor [30], Amble / Warkworth [35], the A1 between Alnwick and Morpeth [3 flocks largest 200], Cragside [7] with many others scattered around.

Why not check out your nearest Rowan that still has some berries or even Yew's, they always seem to eat these before moving on to other types of berry.

Part of a group of 60 at North Seaton Cemetary today.