Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Druridge Stonechat

We had a drive up to Druridge this morning and was pleased to see a number of pairs of Stonechat along the dunes. Spent a bit of time observing them although it proved difficult to get close.

The male seemed to be always trying to get the highest perch point while the female darted from her perch down to the ground, pick up some grub and return.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Shibdon Pond, Blaydon

After completing some domestic chores I dropped into Shibdon.
The most notable sighting was a pair of Ruff which would appear to have been there many months now.

In the reedbeds a very interesting machine was clearing choked areas and creating open water

It was nice to see a few Coltsfoot flowering and a few Hawthorn bushes in green leaf

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Travelling back home from Bamburgh we timed our trip to coincide  with lunchtime opening  at the most comfortable wader hide in the U.K. namely The Fishing Boat Inn at Boulmer.
Early birds get you know what and in our case was the table right at the front, and after ordering I grabbed the camera and popped out to record what was a fantastic range of birds right in front of the hide (pub)

Oh, and the grub was great also.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Budle Bay and Bamburgh

A visit to Budle Bay earlier in the week was well timed with countless Knot, Godwit, Dunlin, Shelduck, Curlew, Wigeon spread around the whole of the bay's  waters edge

A huge flock of Barnacle Geese took up residence on the North side of the bay.
A couple of visits to Stag Rocks produced little, probably due to the very lively sea conditions but I did manage to see a single Long- tailed Duck, 

a couple of Guillemots, Shag, Purple Sandpiper, Red-breasted Merganser, Scoter and of course many Eider.
The strong swell gave me a chance to watch the gulls flying north and taking up a position just in front of the peak of a swell and make use of the air being pushed upward by the travelling wave, breaking away just before the breaking wavecrest.

Friday, 17 February 2012


We had a few days earlier this week staying in Bamburgh. A couple of trips to Beadnell brought a nice sighting of a Grey Plover. We located it on both visits.

There were good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit 

and just off the pier Goldeneye

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Burdon Moor

Seeing that I was in the area I thought that I would spend an hour at Burdon Moor  which happened to be part of my first wildlife watching patch around sixty five years ago.
Its adjacent to the car park for Tanfield Railway which used to be the site for two rows of houses, namely, Andrews Houses, my home for the first eleven years.
Burdon Moor used to be the site of a drift mine, with a great pit pond for newts, but I digress.
I started right on the crown of the moor and the sound of the Tanfield Railway loco whistle put the first Short-eared Owl  to flight. As it flew from left to right, a Buzzard went in the opposite direction, then a Red Kite drifted across.
I drove down to the Burdon Moor NR and as I approached on foot there was a Shortie atop a hawthorn and showed its displeasure at my presence.

 It was not long before there were three Short-eared Owls in flight together.

A couple of Red Kites drifted over

and fifty Golden Plover flew South

followed by a large flock of Lapwing.

Driving home back across the crown a Short-eared owl landed on a roadside post just as I passed. I must do that again.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Prestwick Carr

This afternoon's visit to Prestwick Carr started with a couple of Whooper Swans, a single Greylag and two Short-eared Owls in the fields just north of Prestwick village. One of the owls having a successful hunt.

Up the bridle path there were Kestrel and Buzzard.
Returning to the bumpy road there was plenty of owl  activity, I reckon about seven Short- eared 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Gosforth Park N.R.

My first visit to Gosforth Park N.R. for quite some time, in this afternoon's sunshine, meant that I had my first look at the new feeding station. All of those involved deserve a pat on the back.
Straight away both male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker made a visit.

Nuthatch made short but busy trips into the area.

There were loads of Blue, Great, Coal and Long Tailed Tits. Also feeding were Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin. At one point all of them disappeared in an instant and within a second a Sparrow Hawk shot through the area and away without a kill. It was interesting to watch the Hawk speeding away through the woodland only a few feet above the ground on the look out for its next target.

I left the hide and wandered north west through the woodland where I soon had to decide - woodland walk or lake hide. Although I had been advised that the lake was frozen I felt that that may provide the best chance of seeing something. For once -correct call.
Once into the hide and looking over to the left  there was a Bittern quite happily sunning itself in a sheltered spot.

Then from the right of the hide a strange croak call and there was a second Bittern which flew, from right to left and just a few feet above the other.

Within thirty seconds the bird in flight appeared once again from the right and once again flew over the other. (Now I'm wondering  if there were three?)
Only a small area in the centre of the lake was unfrozen and attended by Mute Swans.
Returning from the lake, Woodpeckers were hammering away and a Jay was seen calling loudly from the tree tops.
Cracking visit!