Thursday, 29 January 2015

Great Grey Shrike.

At West Hartford, Cramlington, the long staying Great Grey Shrike was still present on Tuesday this week. Showing distantly in the hedge to the north west of the pond near the middle pylon. A lovely bird as always...Park at the fire station and follow the track to the north.
Regards Stewart

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Winter wanders

Glanton: a waxwing flew south east calling as I walked out of the house this morning.

The pink-footed goose flock in the Doddington / Weetwood area north of Wooler was estimated to be about 2,400 bird strong today.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Black necked Grebe, Seahouses Harbour

Today there were 2 lovely Black necked Grebes in Seahouses harbour. They have been present for a few weeks now but this is my first chance to catch up with them. One soon disappeared out of the shelter on to the sea, but one bird stayed fishing around the boats and inner harbour all the time I was there. It is well worth a visit to get such good views of this rare winter visitor.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Birding on the north Northumberland coast

Goose counts around Fenham Flat (16 / 1) produced one large flock in the Elwick area.  The flock contained pale-bellied brent 710, pink-footed goose 1065 and 650 barnacle geese.  There were also small flocks of golden plover, lapwing and small coveys of grey partridge.

I was back on the coast this morning counting waders and waterfowl on Fenham Flats.  Highlights included pale-bellied brent 1300, pintail 256, barnacle 180, long-tailed duck 16, slavonian grebe 3, little egret 1, whooper swan 42, twite 23 and tree sparrow 4.

A stop off at Stag Rocks, Bamburgh produced 2-3 great northern divers, 2 black-throated divers, 5 red-throated divers, 1 slavonian grebe, 20+ long-tailed ducks and 2 stonechats.

Monkshouse Pool produced 3 shoveler.

There was a good selection of birds in the Low Newton area.  These included a Bewick's swan, 5  whooper swans, 1 Eurasian white-fronted goose with the greylag, 14 grey partridge, 2-3 calling water rail, a young male scaup, 2 stonechats and a good selection of waders on the beach including at least 2 purple sandpipers

A good days birding was spoiled by the local shoot trying to flush ducks from Newton Pool. Fortunately, the ducks had more sense and flew out to sea to sit it out.  This was much to the annoyance of a 'birder' who was looking for the Bewick and Y front!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A brief encounter

When it comes to secrecy Otters must come near the top, and finding them at Branton Ponds is a real joy. About 5 days ago Keith had the dog out and was walking past an area of Bullrushes when he heard a splash follow by the unmistakable head of an Otter some 30 yards away. We thought this would be a one-off , not so, yesterday in the same area we were rewarded by a second sighting as it hunted the various bays around the lake. Then today would you believe it but there it was again, swimming about in a purposeful manner, suddenly diving and resurfacing somewhere else, harder to spot due to the wind and the waves, but we find that after many years wandering around the ponds observing the wildlife you can often tell when a predator is about as many of the birds are on high alert. As a final note Keith was around the ponds tonight and noticed a dead fish floating on the water, he came back home to get something to retrieve it to see what had killed it only to find it had gone by the time he got back.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Punk Goldfinch

This Goldfinch has been on our feeders most of today, along with other goldfinches, the usual mass of Chaffinches and Tree Sparrows, with Siskin and Greenfinch and a large number of Blue, Great and Coal Tits that seem to have arrived en masse over the past week.  We also have at least two pairs of Gt Spotted Woodpeckers here and perhaps one or two of last year's broods are still hanging about on the peanuts and fat balls.

I've never seen a Goldfinch with this startling orange face, but perhaps its a regular variation.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

New Year's Resolution

I've made a New Year's resolution to try to post more often to our AWG blog.  Nothing very exciting yet this year, but we had Great Spotted Woodpeckers already drumming at Titlington Mount in the week before Christmas.

Then on 31st December the Whin Sill cliff at Cullernose Point had several pairs of Fulmar already occupying nesting ledges.