It's nice to see birds that are not rare but are rarely seen. Last night on my way home from Amble a Long eared owl was sitting on a fence post on the edge of Northsteads plantation near West chevington farm. No photo equipment for night time photography but it just sat on the fence post unperturbed by our presence and it didn't even fly off. It's pose was almost identical to the pic on Newton stringers blog. A nice surprise as I was looking for Barn owl at the time.
Quiet around the meadows with one Fox sighting. Nuthatches and Tawny owls are very vocal at the moment and there are still two Goosanders on the Wansbeck in Morpeth town centre.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
The silly season usually starts here in November with a couple of reports of Rough legged Buzzards but I have never found a one myself until today that is. I arrived at the former Widdrington tip, now an excellent Alder plantation with lots of damp and wet areas as well as some small pine plantations. The first bird I saw was the Buzzard, well actually it was a Meadow pipit but the Buzzard lifted off the ground and looked so heavy in flight that it didn't look like clearing the hedgerow. It then glided with it's wings held in a 'v' and as it banked against the pines I could clearly see a white rump and tail with a black terminal band. The bird landed in a tree and the overall ground colour was white with black scaly markings on the belly and black streaking down it's neck, contrasting with white on the forhead. However, being the cynic I am I couldn't convince myself and by the time I got back to the car I had convinced myself that I had seen a pale bulky looking female Common Buzzard. I cannot get back here until Friday at the earliest but it will be worth looking out for. This is good habitat for Buzzard and they are frequently seen here. I didn't have my scope with me today as there was an opportunity to digiscope the bird as I was close enough.
The target bird here was Jack Snipe and I flushed one next to the flooded pool in the middle of the site. Also here were 8 Snipe, 40 Chaffinch and a few Goldfinches.
The pics above are Widdrington tip and a nice bunch of Oyster mushrooms beside my Auntie's house in Amble.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Spent late morning and early afternoon at Cresswell today. Started off in the dunes and the beach to give Bennyboy a good run about. We had the whole beach to ourselves. A bit quiet on the bird front here with only a handful of Twite and Goldfinches in the dunes. A small flock of gulls caught my eye off shore feeding on the surface of the sea. When I was watching them a Dolphin leapt out of the water; not sure what species though.
At the pond there were plenty of birds. Good numbers of Redshank, Curlew and Dunlin as well as Lapwing and Golden plover. There were also a nice variety of wildfowl. Species of rapters seen were 2 Merlins; male and female, Peregrine flying north, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Only the female Merlin came close to taking a Lapwing but the waders were too alert. The Bitterns were showing as usual as well as a Water rail. One of the Bitterns flew into the reeds next to the other one but was soon chased back to where it came from; very territorial these birds are. These birds are not easy to get a decent photo of from the distance they were today but I've posted a couple. The Lapwings looked splendid in the winter sunshine.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Following our first significant fall of snow and with the kids being sent home from school at lunchtime I went out with the camera around the meadows. I had no choice but to take them sledging on the abbey hill. The above pics are looking west at Lowford bridge; the same view as the title picture, Lowford bridge, some hardy tups, along the footpath, the kids sledging and Amber with some snowy friends. Quiet on the bird front with Jays and Bullfinches the only birds of note.