Monday, 25 November 2013

Another Viking

I spotted my third Nordic type Jackdaw of the year this morning on the grass outside Bedlington Cricket pitch. The bird I saw at Lynemouth Flash in August and one for a couple of days in September near Gosforth both showed characteristics of the species but the bird I saw this morning is the best example I have seen.
Amongst 20 or so other Jackdaw it stood out as its body was a lighter shade of grey with darker wings and a full bright white collar. I know there is more to it than that but it looked good for a Nordic to me.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Very Vis Mig

On Saturday whilst viewing the north pool at East Chevington from in front of the hide we noticed small flocks of Starlings coming in off the sea. A smaller bird was present near one of the flocks and it then separated and headed towards us. As it got closer we could see that it was a tired looking Goldcrest , it flew through the channel in the cut reeds, up the bank and then hovered like a Hummingbird in front of me and tried to land on my shoulder! It must of thought better of this and then took off over the hide.

After seeing the Woodcock in my garden last week I have seen a few more on my travels both typically in the evening at coastal locations. Last Tuesday at 20:45 one was sitting on the roadside grass opposite the Sea life Centre at Tynemouth. Before I had a chance to get closer a dog walker flushed it and it flew off over the cliffs towards Sharpness Point.
On Monday at 17:15 between the car park at Blyth Community Hospital and Morrisons a Woodcock was curled up on the grass next to the curb. This bird seemed very tired and made no attempt to move as car passed it so I left it in peace.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Lesser = More

I managed to head up north with GB and LR on saturday morning. Whilst waiting on news of the Long Nanny Shrike we called in to East Chevington. Very similar to last week with two drake Pintail and Shoveler being the wildfowl highlights. No sign of the Bearded Tit but a Water Rail ran through accross the gap in the reeds again and we briefly saw a Bittern in flight low over the reeds in the SW corner before it landed out of sight.

When news arrived we headed up and were greeted with great views of the Lesser Grey Shrike- Lifer, on the fence at the Newton Steads car park. In 2008 I dipped the LGS at Long Nanny and its not often you get a second chance of the same species at the same location, well nearly.
The Shrike was very obliging as it hopped around the ground and sat on thistles and fence posts around the car park before occasionally flying around and exploring the coastal bushes and fly catching before returning to its favored spot. A few Tree Sparrows were also in the coastal bushes.

Next we tried for the Bonaparte's Gull at Bamburgh but had missed it by 20 minutes. Despite grilling the ever expanding flock of BH Gulls on the sea off the castle it never reappeared. With the tide coming in the Common Scoter raft got closer and we picked out at least three Velvet Scoter amongst them.
Long Tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were also on the sea but we didn't see a single Auk sp.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Back to basics

I filled up the feeders ready for the winter yesterday. Today the garden was alive with activity. The feeders had attracted multiple, Blue, Coal and Great Tits, Magpie, 8 Blackbird, Green, Chaff and Gold finch, Jackdaw, Starling and two Fieldfare.
A rare occurrence in the garden the Fieldfare sat eating berries on the fence before being chased off by the Blackbirds.

With all this activity the inevitable happened and one of the eight Blackbirds hit the window. It stood open mouthed on the patio comically rocking back and forth on it legs. I went outside and checked its wings and waited until it flew form my hands to the safety of the trees. I then checked the amount of seeds in the trays and as I did a Woodcock exploded form the ground and flew west over the neighbors roof.  It must have been a migrant roosting on the leafy cover under the row of fern trees bordering the fence. This is surprisingly not the first garden record as I flushed one form nearly the same spot in the heavy snow of 2001.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Back to normal

After recent twitches and neglecting the patch it was a welcome return to real birding today. Out for WEBS early morning with SH and DM first stop was the count at Castle Island. Nothing out of the ordinary and no sign of any Quail we headed off to East Chevington.
We had just missed the bearded Tit, Bittern and a Glacous Gull on the north pool but did manage fleeting glimpses of a Water Rail in the cut channel in the reeds. Our next and final stop was a more productive Cresswell Pond where the Black-necked Grebe showed well but distantly as did three Scaup. Two Whooper Swans rested on the edge of the west shore.

This afternoon 20+ Pink-footed Geese flew south over my house but something was strange. They were calling very loudly and instead of flying in a traditional V shape they flew tight together as a a group and flew around in circled over the street for a while almost like they had been chased by something.

I had a quick trip to West Hartford yesterday. A Redshank landed on the smaller pool and a few Siskin few in the plantation.