Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Swans on the pond

Whilst on my way back from Middlesbrough on the train this morning, I got a text from SH about 2 Bewick’s Swans on Arcot Pond.
Luckily I was getting picked up from the station and passing Arcot so called in and spotted the 2 Bewick’s Swans on the near side of the dead hedgerow in the water.

The Bewick’s are a long overdue first for Cramlington. Bean Goose will surely be the next first, I hope.

Also on Sunday I helped SH and LR with the Lindisfarne low tide count. We were counting the section between Fenham and the causeway in very strong winds.
The highlights were a Peregrine, a flock of Twite and 2 Little Egrets.

125 - Bewick's Swan

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A few things

I helped LMcD with his WEBS count on the River Blyth the other day at low tide.
Nothing much of note, 3 mobile Snow Buntings in Blyth Harbour was the highlight of the day.

With Geese everywhere but Cramlington we went for a look at the 8 Euro White Fronts at Swallow Pond. They were easily found in the field east of the pond. Excellent views of the 7 adults and 1 juv feeding in the field only metres away.

When we got to Prestwick Carr on the way back we were told that the 13 Bean Geese had flew off, but we got brief views of a couple of Short Eared Owl sheltering from the wind.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Suprisingly Ruff

Birding of late for me had been frustrating. One assignment handed in means that I am off this week, so yesterday I had a walk over to West Hartford.
Apart from the usual Lapwings and Gulls, 2 Ruff were feeding on the near shore of the main flash.

Also I have been enjoying watching the GS Woodpecker which has been visiting my garden over the last few days, couldn't find the Waxwings on Horton Drive.

Monday, 14 November 2011


I wont bore you with details about how I saw the Greater Yellowlegs – Lifer, At East Chevington on Saturday, (Liver Birder) was put it much better than I could.

Apart from Saturday I couldn’t get out to do any other birding this weekend but 3 Waxwings nearly made it onto my garden list.
On my way back from Morrison’s I spotted 3 in the tree tops on Glazebury Way, I ran back home and looked from the window but the trees were just obscured by the roof of a house opposite. When I went back out for another look they had flew off.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

County and Patch

I was out for a few hours with SH this morning. Our first stop was Woodhorn churchyard. The highlight there was a Crossbill flying over.
Next we went up to Hemscott Hill Links. Whilst watching a mixed flock of around 100 Golf, Green and Chaffinch, Linnet and Twite, 10 Snow Buntings flew around in a group.
Also a Little Owl flew from a stack of hay bales near the roadside and landed on a fence post amongst the dunes, it must have been sunning itself on the reflective surface of the plastic covering the bales.
A few skeins of Pink Feet went over south and 8 Whooper Swans were on Cresswell Pond as we passed. Another Snow Bunting was calling from near the causeway.

Whilst driving back through Cresswell Village I noticed a bird hopping around the guttering of the new house at the south end of the village opposite the 30 mile an hour road sign and the green bin. When we stopped I saw that it was a first winter Black Redstart. We stayed and watched it for about 10 minutes as it flew from the roof to the garden catching insects as it went.
BR is a long overdue county tick for me and only my third ever bird after the pair I saw at Hartlepool last winter.

Not much at West Hartford on the way back but 2 Fieldfare in the trees next to the main flash was my last easy patch tick. Also more Pink Feet moved south. A Stoat was running along the track between the pools as well, stopping and looking back at me as it stood up.

124 – Fieldfare
A Comma in Woodhorn Churchyard enjoying the unseasonal weather.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Holy Island to the patch

Last Friday I went up to Holy Island with SH. We spent a few hours checking a large part of the island with very little to show for it.

The highlights were; a pair of Stonechat and a Lapland Bunting at Chare Ends, a Brambling around the vicar’s garden and a Black Tailed Godwit on the harbour pool. A few thrushes were on the island including Redwing feeding on the lawns in the village.

Next we went further north to Goswick Sands. With the tide coming in quicker than we thought we didn’t stay that long and amongst the close in raft of Scoter we couldn’t pick anything out. 4 Long Tailed Duck were also near the raft.

Budle Bay was also quiet with the highlight being a sleeping Little Gull. It was the same at Stag Rocks and East Chevington, nothing out of the ordinary. Our final stop was St. Mary’s but we were too late and there was no further sign of the Richard’s Pipit.

Yesterday I got a call from GM saying that there was a Marsh Harrier over Northburn First School which backs onto my garden! I went straight into the garden but nothing; I was then told it was going west so I ran to the top of Nelson Hill.
Nelson Hill is Cramlington’s best vantage point so I spent an hour scanning from West Hartford over the industrial estate over to Northumberlandia. At one point all the gulls and Lapwings lifted from WH but I couldn’t see what caused them to get up.
During the hour on the hill 3 female Crossbill, 1 Great Black Backed Gull and 1 Grey Wagtail flew over south. I plan to spend more time scanning from the hill in the future.

A few hours later I got a call from SH saying there was a Snow Bunting at West Hartford! A short while later myself, LMcD and JM were watching a female Snow Bunting feeding in front of us on the path leading to the waste ground before the larger flash. It stayed until dusk not bothered by us in the slightest, happily feeding on the edge of the path and long grass.
This makes up for missing the male SB at WH last December when myself and LMcD failed to find the bird in the snow, it was well camouflaged I suppose.
Also at WH were 3 hunting Short Eared Owls and a female Goosander flew west over the substation and the larger flash.

122 – Snow Bunting

123 – Goosander