Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Around the patch

This week I have been to Angerton lake to the west of Morpeth and Linton and Bothal to the east. At Angerton a good variety of wildfowl were on show. Eight Goldeneye with males displaying, Wigeon and Teal and nine Little grebes. Further back at Longwitton (Beech avenue), 300 Chaffinch, 400+ Fieldfares and 100 Redwings. Also here a huge flock of Starlings numbering in excess of 800 and over a thousand Wood pigeons. Three Buzzards chased each other over oldpark wood. There was also a flock of 240 Redwings on the A1 on the Mitford side beside castle plantation.

At Linton yesterday the weather was cold and wet and I couldn't get a decent picture, hence the above cropped Teal. Very quiet on the Gull front. The most numerous and most vocal were Teal with 167 on both pools. Three Shoveler were also noteworthy. Also numerous were Mallard 142 and Coot 73.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ulgham and Linton

Lovely, cold but sunny day. Started off at Widdrington tip and this is the first winter visit here when I have not seen a Snipe. Very quiet on the bird front with only four Grey partridges and three Reed buntings. My turn of duty at Ulgham local nature reserve. Almost birdless here with only a small party of Coal tits in the wood. I was thinking roll on spring when I came across an attractive clump of Snowdrops which added a splash of colour to an otherwise drab woodland floor.
On my way to Linton a flock of 45 Fieldrares and 2 redwings were at Crowden hill. I spent a couple of hours at Linton pond sifting through the gulls but saw nothing unusual. The gulls were quite flighty and a Fox was on the north shore but a Merlin flew over the pond and spooked everything. There were 19 Tufted and 66 Coot here. Bothal was quiet except for a stonechat at Bothal barns. I think this is the first time I have seen one in this area.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Carlisle park

I took a few pics on a walk through Carlisle park this afternoon. Two Goosanders in the town centre one of which has angel wing and is unable to fly but does breed, but no sign of any males on this part of the river yet. The fungi are Turkey tail which is common but comes in a variety of colours and Velvet shank; a true winter species which needs frost to help it thrive.
Earlier in the day I had a quick look at the ponds but saw nothing of note but Bothal had most of the wildfowl with large numbers of Teal and Wigeon.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Linton pond.

Yesterday was the first opportunity I have had to visit the eastern extremities of the patch. It was quite a productive visit. I took Bennyboy to the wooded part of the reserve and he kindly flushed a Woodcock for me....NS...usuful tools these canine friends and I always clean up after him! A Fox was eating something in the field to the north of the main pond.
A third of the pond was still covered in ice but it was dominated by Gulls...Herring gulls. I was in counting mode but after over 900 HG another 500 or so descended on the pond. The highlight was the above Iceland gull which spent half an hour on the pond before flying north. Another noteworthy gull was Lesser black backed. Also on one of the islands were 18 Moorhen.
I visited Longhirst flash; 500+ Wood pigeon here and seven Reed bunting as well as small numbers of wildfowl. At Bothal pond there were plenty of Gulls here and 163 Teal and 204 Wigeon.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Long eared again!

Spent new year at work but at 9 30 at night I had to go to Amble. My usual route is straight up the A1, across to Chevington moor and north from Red row. This is good Owl country. At this time of year 5 species can be seen around here but tonight was heavy rain so I wasn't really looking for anything. At Chevington moor a Barn owl flew just ahead of the car and on my way back the Long eared owl was sitting on a fence post a few hundred yards to the east of where I saw it last week north of Northsteads plantation (presumably the same bird). It was more wary and as I turned the car it suddenly became narrow and upright with the ear tufts erect, it's orange eyes were bright in the headlights. It flew off but only went a few yards before disappearing into the pines.
I'm keeping a local patch year list for 2009. The boundaries are a bit generous; a mile or two either side of Morpeth but including the ponds of Linton, Longhirst and Bothal a few miles east of Morpeth. It was still light when I came home from work and picked up some common woodland birds including a nice flock of Siskin at the top of Abbey meadows and two Dippers at Highford bridge.