Friday, 29 January 2010


I had a quick look around Arcot Pond and West Hartford today. The south west corner of Arcot is still frozen and was covered in this mornings brief snow.
20+ Mallard were the only ducks on the pond but a single Coot - Patch Tick, was amongst the group.
At WH there were three different Kestrel hunting over the fields. 7 Mallard and 30+ Teal were on the main pool with a pair of Shellduck - Patch Tick.

38 - Coot

39 - Shellduck

Saturday, 23 January 2010

West Hartford Wildfowl

I had a quick trip to Horton Burn and West Hartford this afternoon. No sign of the Kingfisher on the burn, again. The water level has raised a lot on the burn so the Kingfisher has probably moved further up past the fire station towards Blyth.

When I arrived at West Hartford I was suprised to find the now fully thawed main pool full of duck! Well full by WH standards.
20+ Mallards were on the water with 10+ Teal, I couldn't count them properly as they were constantly flying off and relanding in different areas, also I was too interested in watching the pair of Gadwall which were amongst the Mallards, my first ever at WH.

After a quick chat to JM (Birding Sometimes) who had just found a Jack Snipe, I was off.

34 - Kestrel
35 - Teal
36 - Mallard
37 - Gadwall
38- Grey Heron

Sunday, 17 January 2010

First Lifer of 2010!

Before going back to Teesside I went out with SH and DMcK this morning to do the webs count. Nothing out of the ordinary was seen during the count at Castle Island.

Before heading to Castle Island we stopped at the field at Newsham were the Bewick’s Swans- Lifer, had been the night before.
Luckily I got a lift from LMcD on Saturday afternoon and saw them straight away so todays’ viewing was slightly more relaxed.

After the webs count we went to East Chevington but it was only a brief stop as we heard about the two Shorelark near Boulmer.
When we arrived at Longhoughton Steel and found the right area we were told that they hadn’t been seen for a while so we searched the surrounding fields and dunes.
In the end we didn’t find them but did get good views of a Snow Bunting amongst with the Skylark feeding next to a group of sheep.

Our next stop was a Linton Pond to look for the Smew which had been reported. It took a bit of finding but eventually the redhead appeared in the North West corner of the main pond.
The suprise bird of the day was a Green Woodpecker which yaffled from behind the hide.

At the field next to Alcan a good number of Whooper Swans were feeding with the Mutes and 400+ Pink Footed Geese flew over.

There was no sign of the Iceland Gull at Blyth Harbour and we couldn’t flush out any Jack Snipe or Water Rail from the Bates Filtration Pools.

Today more than made up for not being able to get out on the 1st of January lets hope there are more days like this to come this year.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Last predictable garden tick

As the title says today I added a bird which is long overdue albeit as a flyover in my garden. 15 Common Gull were circling over and landing on the school field.
That puts the garden list on 48.

I was pleased to see 6+ Long Tailed Tits on the feeders today with two Blue Tits, at least they survived the snow.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Frozen Rail

With being ill and doing work over the last week yesterday was the first time I had been outside this year!
Throughout the week I have added Jackdaw, Sparrowhawk, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Coal Tit and Wren to the patch list as they were in my garden at various times.

Yesterday lunchtime I went off to West Hartford via the Horton Burn where four Snipe were flushed and a pair of Bullfinch fed in the trees. A few Common Gull were flying around also.
Further along, single Redwing and fieldfare showed well.

West Hartford was very quiet when me and my friend ( Simon) arrived but things soon picked up when 5 Greylags flew over followed by three drake Goldeneye.
A Reed Bunting was calling from the back field as was a Stonechat.

After initially checking the main pool which is completely frozen, I noticed something small in the south west corner on the ice.
At first I thought it was a Snipe or Woodcock but as we got closer it was smaller but to crouched down to see what it was.
I thought if it was a snipe it would fly off if we got closer so simon walked towards it. The ice was so thick it wasn't going to crack so I followed him and we stopped with the bird at our feet.

It turned out to be a Water Rail which was trying to probe the ice with its beak, I though it was injured as it wasn't bothered by us standing over it but after a minute long Mexican stand off it ran across the ice into the cover of the frozen marshy field. It stood from the edge of the field and watched us as we went back.
It was amazing to see this notoriously shy bird so close, it would probably be better if it followed the snipe to Horton Burn as it is guarenteed flowing water and food.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Not a bad start

The plan yesterday had been to go with SH and get the year list started but this was cancelled due to the snow.
Instead I stayed in and only went as far as the garden to de-ice the feeders and bird table.
I finished the day on 17 species, a good start to this years patch list.
The birds in and over my garden were:

1. Blackbird
2. House Sparrow
3. Starling
4. Collard Dove
5. Greenfinch
6. Dunnock
7. Black Headed Gull
8. Chaffinch
9. Carrion Crow
10. Robin
11. Long Tailed Tit
12. Blue Tit
13. Pink-Footed Geese ( 200+ over SW)
14. Herring Gull
15. Wood Pigeon
16. Great Tit
17. Magpie.