Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year to you All

Monday, 20 December 2010

Still here

Its been some time since my last post which has had more to do with, demolishing a brute of a garden wall and replacing it by a retaining structure and fence above, than the weather. But I'm getting there, and I digress.

You will see that the 'back garden' will need a serious makeover once I'm rid of the bricks, sometime next year.
So ideas on how I can improve bird visits are starting to come to mind. In the past we have had plenty of visits but as soon as they pick up food they were off next door to consume it.
One of my current jobs was to prune next doors tree and I chucked all the twiggy bits into a heap beside the bricks. Almost at once Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, BlueTit started to  use the 'twiggyhut' as a place to linger. There now seems to be at least one bird or another in there all the time.
So the new garden layout is going to contain a 'twiggyhut', perhaps with a honysuckle holding it all together.
Its going to be quicker than waiting for a twiggy shrub to develop.
Dreams of ponds and Damselflies are also drifting about. My current pond being a sunken black plastic dustbin, which with one plant in the water, stays gin clear all year round and is used by birds and frogs.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

More Snow, more birds

These snowfalls seem to be driving the birds in close to feed.
Today has brought many  Great,  Blue and Coal Tit, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Starling, Robin, Dunnock and House Sparrow onto the garden feeders. Also spotted half a dozen Waxwing when out for a newspaper this morning.
Grabbed the camera but they had moved on before I returned.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Desperate Times

The amount of snowfall only a couple of miles north of Newcastle city centre is remarkable.
6"+2"earlier nights +4" Last night has really got the birds struggling.
This Wagtail this morning is only the second we have had in the back garden.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Watching and Waiting

This afternoon I had a wander at Prestwick Carr.
The shooting range was in operation so my planned walk up the bridle path was scrubbed. Pity because there appeared to be a large Redwing flock on the Hawthorn between the first and second gate.
However a walk along the bumpy road brought a couple on nice sightings, both of birds just sitting waiting for some bait to appear
This Buzzard did pounce once onto the field below without success.

 and the Kestrel had to take flight in search for its next meal.

No sign of Owls

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Seems a bit tame but....

With all of the news about exotic Herons, it seems a bit low key to post a pic of a Blackbird,
but the reason I grabbed the camera was because I had twice watched this bird hovering while plucking cotoneaster berries from the bush, unfortunately it didn't perform for the camera. It is the only time I have ever seen a Blackbird manage to hover.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Third time, catchy time

Following our two sightings of Waxwing earlier in the week, with poor light, and no camera anyway, it was nice to see some more this morning.
Driving through Prudhoe was just approaching the fire station when I spotted them flying across the road. So a quick park up in the swimming pool car park and sure enough there were seven or eight of them flying from one tree top to another in the area of the Fire station, and I had the camera.

Its always worth dropping in for a look at Sled Lane pond if you are in the area, particularly when you can enjoy a Blagdon Burger at the garden centre cafe which is adjacent to the pond.
On the water were two male Shoveler with one female

Wigeon and Tufted Duck were present in good numbers as well as this, which at first I thought a Scaup

With reference to Collins the white band  just behind the black bill tip suggests it may be a Tufted / Scaup hybrid. But most likely I've just read that female Tufted sometimes exhibit the broad white band.
Any opinions? 

Thursday, 4 November 2010

More of the same Waxwings

Had to return to Kirkharle today and sure enough there is still a  flock of Waxwing feeding on the elderberries along the side of the approach road. However they have appeared to have consumed 80% of the berry harvest so I reckon they will be gone sometime tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


We visited Kirkharle Courtyard this morning and finished off with a nice lunch. On the way out a Buzzard was seen coping with a strong westerly and as we exited the site there they were, getting stuck-in to elderberries.
I managed to edge the car slowly alongside the bush without spooking them, so we were able to watch about three dozen Waxwing feeding at low level no more than ten feet away.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Clara Vale

Its been almost a year since we last visited Clara Vale LNR, so we popped along there this morning.
A Water Rail was not long in putting in an appearance. Just look at the length of those toes! No wonder it appears to walk on water.

and it was quickly followed by a Kingfisher. It looked like a neon sign.

A couple of Redwing dropped down from collecting holly berries to take a drink

There were also  Coal, Great and Blue Tit, Wren, Goldfinch, Greenfinch.

Nice place.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Slavonian Grebe

We were at Drurudge Pools around midday today and whilst most things were far far away, this little cracker drifted past in front of the hide.

Which I am taking to be a winter plumage Slavonian Grebe. I'm sure corrections will come in if I've got that wrong

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Higher and higher

Was just finishing off a bacon sandwich at lunchtime, gazing out of the window, when this  bird appeared high over Salters Road,  in the west sky, soaring in circles while drifting east. I'm assuming a Sparrowhawk?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

New tenants move in

Up until about three weeks ago we had a pair of Blackbirds who had reared young throughout the summer and were looking decidedly worse for wear with bald patches on their brow and upper breast. Then we had a week away and they must have found a new feeding patch because we have not seen them since.
This morning a new pair arrived looking all bright eyed, shiny and ready for anything.

Whether they will hang around we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bridle path

With the unexpected sunshine this afternoon we decided to have a saunter up the bridlepath at Prestwick Carr.
A flock of Goldfinch flew ahead of us  as we walked, followed shortly by about fifteen Mistle thrush lifting up from the hawthorn bushes. There were plenty of Great and Blue Tit darting from bush to bush but all were a keeping low profile. Chaffinch, Wren and Robin all doing the same.
We walked as far as the second gate and stood with the sun on our backs, scanning the east field for something special, but in vain.
On the return a Roe deer broke cover and crossed the path. The horizontal willow seemed to be chock full of small birds providing only the briefest of glimpses.
Back at the cross roads a Buzzard was spotted on top of one of the dead trees, seemed to sense us watching and was off

Not a lot seen but a very enjoyable wander

Monday, 11 October 2010


It seemed ungrateful not to give the most recent migrants a visit so after lunch today we had a trip to St. Mary's.
Leaving the car at the first carpark we headed for the path down the west side of the reserve. Within 10 yards Goldcrest were tumbling out of the hawthorn hedge. We stood within three feet of them feeding totally unconcerned

You just could not be anything but entranced by them - I mean,  just look at it......

A Blackcap was feeding on the elderberries

and a female Redstart was insect catching

There were Robins everywhere, and being watched by about a dozen others this female Red-flanked Bluetail

Small picture but enough to confirm what we were watching. Then  this  bird below which I don't know what it is so comments welcome.

A very enjoyable visit - thanks birds.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

'Ower the wata'

It was necessary to head south of the Tyne today so on the return trip we stopped at Whitburn and had a walk along the cliff top path.
The tide was well on its way up so was starting to push the birds toward the cliff face.
A couple of Bar-tailed Godwit bickered at the waters edge

There were good numbers of Redshank, Turnstone, with Sanderling and Dunlin present

A huge  flock of Golden Plover were gradually being pushed off the rock ends and they gradually made their way to the old shooting range fields

Goldfinch fed on the seed harvest

and I don't have a clue what this was on the sea surface, being mobbed by gulls for 3-4 minutes

Then it was time for ice cream and coffee next to the car park

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Watergate Park

Following a trip to Sunniside earlier today " to fix me Mams telly" we had a walk around the lake in Watergate Park . I had visited this reserve only once before.
The idea to visited was sparked by a pair of Kingfishers flying across in front of the car at Watergate, between Lobley Hill and Sunniside, only 2 or 3 days earlier.
We wandered down the side of the water toward the bridge at the South end and watched a Buzzard being very seriously mobbed by a dozen Corvid. Whilst standing on the bridge a couple of Little Grebe were diving out of sight, and a Kingfisher call alerted us to the same heading towards us, under the bridge and into the sheltered reeded area behind. There must be 10-12 Little Grebe on this stretch of water.  A single male Pochard rested amongst Tufted Duck and Mallard.
At the north end there are a couple of Dragonfly ponds. Don't know why I had not visited these during the summer, but not to late as a pair of Southern Hawkers and I think a  male Migrant were still present.
Quite a nice outing.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


I have just remembered that on our way to St. Mary's Island a couple of days ago that I stopped at the Beehive flash and took a couple of shots of a pair of birds which I could not identify at the time. So I have just had a look and although I'm not totally confident I think they were Ruff.

Pics should enlarge on click
Comments welcome

Thursday, 30 September 2010

St. Mary's Brent

A visit to St. Mary's this afternoon was quite productive.
In the North Bay a single Brent Goose fed on the green seaweed

A couple of Bar-Tailed Godwit moved uneasily from patch to patch

While the Dunlin were heads down getting stuck-in while they could

Small numbers of Sanderling mixed with the Turnstone, Redshank and Ringed Plover

and Curlew
Large numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover gathered in the South Bay rock ends as the tide came in.

Rock Pipits and Wheatear were also present