Monday, 22 December 2008

Garden visitor

Nowt to shout about to a lot of people, but a single Goldcrest working its way around the dead plantpots in the back garden made a welcome sight to us.

Our usual garden visitors , Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren and Blackbird have been a bit scarce over the last day or two.
We are at the end of a run of about 24 back gardens and often have a Sparrow Hawk sitting on the fence after a failed sortie, and I wonder if it has recently had some success.
Earlier today we were driving down the Derwent valley so thought we would stop at Thornley. Saw a couple of Red Kite, Wren, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Half a dozen squirrel (grey) and a Sparrow Hawk having two failed sorties through the feeding area.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

River Circuit 2 - late surprise!

Decided to do my Tyne circuit, starting Newcastle Business Park, Lemington Gut,River Derwent confluence, and Dunston Timber Beach. Arrived at river just after top of the tide, 4.5m, so there was no mud visible, but there were many Black Headed Gulls on the Dunston Staithes and a flock of about 50 Lapwing wheeling overhead looking for somewhere to settle and a couple of Cormorant feeding.
Went up to the west end of the Business Park but with no mud there were only 2 or 3 pair of Teal which took flight and across to the South side of the river,
With the scope I was able to see many Teal and Redshank sitting out the high tide on the riverside boulders from Dunston, past Costco and west.
So onto Lemington Gut with the first sign of mud showing and around 16 Teal, 20 Black Headed Gulls, 2 Black Backed Gulls, 12 Redshanks on the river outside the Gut.
Mud starts to apppear here when tide height is about 3-3.5m

Walked along the grazed field alongside the gut which although emptying was holding 10 Teal, 6 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron. In the bushes either side of the Gut were 8-9 Blackbird, Pair of Siskin (90%),Magpies and a few more little brown jobs that I was unable to get a clear view. The grazed area, kept trim by a few horses which are very keen to see what a camera tastes like, held a couple of dozen Curlew

Enrance to field alongside Lemington Gut
and the odd Grey Wagtail. This area will be getting more visits as time goes by.

Head of Lemington Gut

Onto The Derwent mouth where mud was just appearing with tide height 2.5m where there were Redshank, Teal, Blackheaded Gull, and a Black-backed Gull following a Salmon trying to make its way up the Derwent through the shallows, with tail an dorsal fin visible .Black smoke and an explosion behind The Skiff was the signal for the birds and me to scarper this spot.
All the usual birds, Teal (there are hundreds of these birds on this river stretch)Redshank and Black Headed Gulls, lined the wateredge behind Costco.
A bow wave moving down stream caught my eye, strange since there was no animal visible. Then a seal head appeared.
Last stop Timber Beach Dunston and there it was again, except this time there were two seals at the waters edge. So right up until the last, nothing out of the ordinary, then two seals at Dunston.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Great little pond

Yesterday we decided to get some of the Xmas pressies delivered to the family in Stocksfield so took the opportunity, when passing, to visit Sled Lane pond just outside Crawcrook.


Although the pond was 60% frozen there was a nice mixture of birds with Goosander,Goldeneye,Little Grebe,Tufted Duck and many Mallard,Moorhen,Coot, Blackheaded Gulls.
So decided to give a return visit today to try to get some pics. On arrival the pond had even less open water and had expected some no shows but apart from female Goosanders having gone awol they were all still present.

With ample parking outside Bradley Garden nursery and just at the end of the pond this is an easy spot to visit.