Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Lyne and Wansbeck

My turn on the rota for keeping Ulgham woods and meadows tidy. Nothing much to report here. Looking very sparse at the moment. Plenty of birds in the bushes. Redwings on the berries, Willow tit and 2 Treecreepers in the scrub. Dungaits who own the farmland around here usually leave one or two vegetable fields fallow over the winter. This usually attracts good numbers of Yellowhammers and Linnets but this year the fields have been ploughed right up to the hedges.

On my way to work at lunchtime there were 2 Goosanders on the Wansbeck next to the stepping stones and a Grey wagtail on the gravel island.

The pics above are the stepping stones on the Lyne at Ulgham and a pic I took the other day from the abbey of a fine specimen of Harts toungue fern.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

To tick or not to tick

That is the question. I suppose nobody is really that bothered but I must admit while I may not be the purest of the putists I like my new birds to have a wild origin if it is possible to prove. The bird is of course is the Holywell Snow goose. I only went because I was dropping Heather off in Newcastle and decided to take my gear and call in on the way home. It is the first Snow goose I have seen for many years and although it looks wild enough I will wait and see what other birders have to say but it will stay off my list for now. Despite this it is a nice bird that really stands out among other geese and the dark clouds when in flight. I wasn't able to get any shots but there are some on John Molloys blog; birdingsometimes.
Back to work tomorrow so I am not getting out much plus my first day off for a while I came down with man flu and had to go christmas shopping on the same day! Other birds seen recently is my first Barn owl of the autumn/winter at Chevinton moor on Sunday and a couple of Buzzards at West chevington and Blagdon. On the wansbeck Dipper/ Grey wagtail etc.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Linton Lane

Spent the afternoon at Linton pond. Romped around the north side of the nature reserve. This is an expansive area of open scrub and has the potential to hold some interesting species. The best I got today was a small flock of Goldfinches and a few partridges. The pool held a fine variety of wildfowl including the White fronted geese (2 adults and 3 immatures) as well as the Bean. Along the track was Fieldfares, redwings and a willow Tit. There was also 2 Jays. Hundreds of gulls on the pond but no white winged ones but of note were 3 Lesser black backed gulls. Five Snipe flew around the SW corner of the pond. I was joined in the hide by Trevor Blake and ST.

Above a view of the scrub, some cropped shots of Bean, White fronted geese, Pink footed geese and a preening Goldeneye.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sunday 16th November

Out early this morning around the local ponds. Nothing unusual at first at Bothal, Longhirst flash and Linton. I saw DM and SH at Linton and we went into the Alder scrub north of Linton pond to view the Geese in the stubble. Nothing unusual there but a flock of about thirty birds were in the scrub which contained 20 Redpolls. They weren't easy to look through but I managed to scope one of the birds. This was pale with cold colouring on the undersides and a pale wing bar but after that the birds became difficult to watch and no more clinching features could be seen. We flushed a Short eared owl and 2 Snipe. A willow tit was along the hedgerow as well as several Redwing and Blackbirds.

No photos from Linton but I went up to Amble later in the morning and I have posted some Eider shots in the harbour. This must be the only place where they interbreed with Mallard.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Druridge bay CP

A nice afternoon I decided to go to Druridge bay country park. Nothing much on the lake except a nice male Red breasted merganser feeding in the middle of the lake. The above pic is a bit distant but worth the effort I thought. Eleven Crossbills were feeding in the pines in the north east corner. The sun was low when I went to scan East chevington. The best here was 119 Whooper swans. Very vocal flying around a lot they were being joined by dozens of Pink footed geese coming in to roost. There was also 400 or so Pink feets at Widdrington.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Scarce birds

Dull and raining on my first day off for a while. There were 34 Waxwings at Morrisons car park in Morpeth this afternoon. I parked the car a few feet from a bright Rowan tree expecting the Waxwings to fly into it to feed. As it was mild they were flying up in the air catching insects. After taking half a dozen shots my battery went dead in my camera. As expected a few minutes later the flock descended onto the Rowan tree. I called into the local ponds and despite the high water levels there was a lot of wildfowl about. At Bothal and Longhirst flash good flocks of Teal and Wigeon. A bit of wife swapping at Bothal with a female Pochard and a male Tufted duck in one corner of the pond and a male Pochard with a female Tufted at the opposite corner.

At Linton pond the gulls from the tip were flying into the main pond to bathe. There were hundreds of Herring and Great black backs and among them was a third winter Iceland gull flew in bathed briefly then flew off. I believe it was a third winter with grey back and scapulars, white tail and wing tips with just a few flecks of brown on the neck and back. Among the hundreds of Canada geese was a Bean Goose (fabalis). Both these birds could have been photographed...dammit! A Grey lag goose had an orange neck ring with the letters AJJ. A canny afternoon's local birding. Above the Morrisons supermarket Waxwings before my camera packed in.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Winter warmers

I have been neglecting the blog lately due to work and training commitments. I have still been out around the meadows with plenty of Thrushes and Jays around. A Merlin flew over the garden, over ADMc'c house towards St. Mary's church. Kingfisher and Dippers have been almost daily sightings at Highford bridge. This morning I went to Ashington to see the Waxwings, the light was poor and the birds wouldn't keep still but they were a delight to see. On the way home I visited the local ponds and although the water levels are high there was a good selection of common wildfowl. At Linton a Kingfisher was flying around the east pond and two Jays were feeding along the old railway line. Above two of my favourite wintering birds Waxwing at Ashington and Wigeon at linton pond.