Saturday, 30 January 2010

Sanderling's Incredible Journey

I have now corrected this sighting after it was established that I had provided details of the rings on the wrong legs
On the 28/01/10, I sent in ring sighting, using this and other photos, through BTO/Euring for this Sanderling at South Beach, St Mary's Island

The correct ring pattern is as per sketch below

I received a reply dated 31/01/2010 from Jeroen Reneerkens pictured below. The Sanderling had been ringed by him at Sandgeroi in Iceland on the 20/05/09.

Subsequently it has been sighted
St Mary's Island - 09/09/10 through to
St Mary's Island - 28/01/10
Jeroen Reneerkens blog tells about his research in Greenland and Iceland with Sanderling and you really must play the video titled 'Julia...' on the first page - incredible.
Information about Jeroen's research into Sanderlings can also be found at Wader Study Group website

.....and we trust the journey still has a long way to go.

Boulmer Freezer

Friday morning saw us heading up to Alnwick. On the way two snowstorms made us question our plans but hey ho. Stopped off at Barters Books and then into town for a coffee. The plan to have lunch at The Fishing Boat Inn at Boulmer was put into action. Snow on the beach greeted us.

Now I know that birdwatching is carried out by some who like to observe from a hide and others like to get out on the trot and see what they can find. Well there is another way. Get into the Fishing Boat Inn early and grab a table in the conservatory. There you can find Sanderling, Godwit, Redshank, Eider, BHG, Pipits, Wagtails and Wren.
Further along the beach Ringed Plover

Alnmouth beach was deserted apart from a single Sanderling, a few Redshank and a pair of Stonechat

On the point at the North end of Alnmouth beach were Oystercather and Gulls

Friday, 29 January 2010

Loads of them

Thursday's visit to St Mary's Island was a cracker. I had never seen so many birds there at one time. Both bays held good variety and numbers of waders.
In all there were Golden Plover, Sanderling, Bar Tailed Godwit, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Knot, Turnstone.

Golden Plover and Dunlin

Purple Sandpiper

Dunlin following Sanderling


This Godwit was missing lower part of leg but it appeared to be getting about ok

and some more magic - Sanderling

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Get down to St. Mary's

A hint of sun this morning, so after reading about growing numbers of birds at St. Mary's we were there before ten.
Both South and North beaches were chock full of birds.
Loads of pics to review so I thought I'd just give you a taster of what is there with a few fly past shots.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Prestwick Carr

Spent an hour this afternoon down at the Carr. Walked along the bridle path as far as the first Red Flag and sentry post. A lot of banging and clattering going on which does not seem to bother the wildlife.
The horsey fields, or lakes if you like were holding good numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover. All the birds were facing west away from the path.

Over to the other side of the path there were at least four Buzzards, and I think that it could have been five, soaring over the edge of the wood.

Up to the red flag I'm pretty certain that I caught a brief glimpse of a Water Vole swimming away from me along the ditch.
After leaving the bridle path a short walk along the bumpy road saw two of the Buzzard fly over. They latched onto some carrion at the south fence line but it appeared too large for them to carry and retain. Just could not make out what it was.
Walking back down the bumpy road a pair of Kestrel cavorted around one another as they flew over.
A very cold but interesting walk.

Monday, 25 January 2010


I recently watched a couple of Pochard at Shibdon Pond, and even though the light was poor, their colours and markings were quite impressive. Apparently they often appear amongst Tufted Duck and these two certainly fitted in with that behaviour

Friday, 22 January 2010

Canny little bird

Forgot about this Pied Wagtail image when we were up the coast earlier in the week.

There were half a dozen of them on the beach at Newbiggin in the late afternoon sunshine.(Thats that big yellow thing thats sometimes in the sky)

After typing the title to this post my first attempt to upload the image went wrong when I mistakenly selected a picture of my 100 year old Mother - suppose the title was ok either way.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Newburn Business Park

Had a swift walk through to the west end of Newburn Business Park this afternoon. It looked more like Newburn Wetlands. There is an enormous acreage of unfrozen water standing there at present with large numbers of Gulls and Curlew and a few Snipe

Certainly worth more visits

Monday, 18 January 2010


I know I keep posting images of Sanderling but I just cant help it. They fascinate me.
We walked along the waters edge at Druridge Bay around midday today -blue sky, bright sun, warm as toast - magic.
There were about ten of these little beauties on the tideline. As they scamper back and forth you would think that they were on wheels.
I noted one of them was ringed and I can enlarge that image sufficiently so that I can send the ring details to BTO.
I must note that I have been really impressed with the ringing organisation because I have always had a reply to all ring sightings I have submitted through BTO.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Shibdon Pond

Shibdon's regular shoreline residents were host to a couple of Pochard. It was surprising how close I could get to them.

There were also a few Tufted Duck.
Out in the open water were two Shelduck, which were much more difficult to get near.
A walk along the boardwalk at the back of the pond revealed Water Rail, Cormorant, Long Tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, and a Robin feeding on insects in a waterladen area.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Blaydon Brent

Shibdon Pond has a decent area of open water at the moment, so thought it was worth a look earlier today.
Before reaching the waters edge I was surprised to see a single adult Brent Goose feeding on the grass, juvenile birds don't have the prominent white neck patch. Apparantly its normal feed is eel-grass or a particular form of seaweed.

Although the usual flock of Canada Goose were also feeding, the Brent would go nowhere near them.

Similarly this solitary Canada Goose fed alone, but also fancied itself as an ice skater - show off!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Derwenthaugh Meadows

Had to call into town this afternoon so on completion of the task I thought I'd just have a look down to the river. Of course, not having checked the tide table, the river was up - no mud - no birds.
So it was along Scotswood Road across the bridge and parked up at Derwenthaugh Meadows. The Snow is well on its way out, but the ponding is still partially iced up. Redshanks were slipping and sliding across the iced bits and Curlew were either finding some areas of softer ground or just scratching around in the flattened grass. Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare were on the ground appearing not to find much of interest. Lapwing were dotted about the area not doing much at all.
Did not over to the burn today, but am going to try and visit this area more often.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Gosforth Park NR

At the first hint of a bit of improvement in the weather this afternoon, I was out to Gosforth Park NR.
Not sure if there would be much about but was looking forward to a walk through the woodland anyway. First spot was John from Howden Blogger who had earlier spotted some deer.
We spent a few minutes watching Great, Coal and Blue Tits at the feeders alongwith a couple of Nuthatch, Robin, Dunnock, Pheasant, Moorhen.
I continued out toward the racecourse and John went to do his shopping before going home. Not sure what time he left home to get the bread and milk but he said something about also being to St. Mary's earlier today. Reckon the porridge would be cold by now.
As I neared the edge of the racecourse there were four deer amongst the trees. So I did my thing of trying to look like a still tree trunk. Its been said in the past that I am quite good at it, at least that was what I think they meant. I managed to half the distance between us, and although one of them had its beady eye on me they did not bolt. As they strolled across my field of view I managed to get a couple of shots before they disappeared into the shrubs.

As I continued on my way I came to one of the ditches which drains the racecourse, looking upstream there were a couple of Water Rail, one of which bolted up the culvert while the other headed for cover. I defaulted to looking like a tree trunk again and the Water Rail broke cover and also headed for the culvert where I got one shot just good enough to confirm the sighting.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Summer Dunlin

I make no excuses for using some of my summer pics to describe this Dunlin poking about in the rockpool on Berwick, Little Beach. For those of you not familiar with Berwick it is the beach adjacent to and the north side of the pier.You can drive out of the town centre along the pier road to a park at the head of the beach. It picks up loads of waders.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Tyne Penguins?

As I was passing the Newcastle Business Park at lunchtime I was quite surprised at the size of an iceflow sedately heading toward the sea with a compliment of gulls.
I reckon with this weather there could be a lot more of them on the way down so I'm off to Waterstones to buy a book on Penguins.

I noticed quite high numbers of Teal. Its strange how they always look pristine even though they are plodging around in mud.