RLB chasing a Peregrine while a Crow watches on...Honest!!!
Ross's Goose still hanging around
First Coltsfoot this year
Started off at Ulgham this afternoon making my way over the former opencast at Stobswood. Lots of birds around and to begin with there was a nice flock of Fieldfares at Ulgham park but nothing until I reached the burn with large flocks of Starlings and Lapwings. There was over a hundred Meadow pipits and 60 or so Skylarks with single figure flocks of Linnet, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting.
I walked towards Robin Hood wood to the highest point along this track which gives good views over the pond behind Middle Stobswood. The Geese were here with over 700 Pink footed Geese and a single Ross's among them. I was scanning the extensive rough ground which stretches from East Stobswood to Peigh Hills. There was 5 Buzzards including a very large female with plain markings. There was also 4 Kestrels and 2 Herons. A different looking bird of prey lifted out of the grass and I thought it was going to fly over my head but glided along the small burn here before diving into the grass. A fine looking Red Kite; my second at this site.I waited for about ten minutes but I didn't see it lift so I walked back along the track and headed off towards the rough grass where I saw it go but another bird of prey caught my eye in the far distance behind the old offices. Looking through my binoculars I knew exactly what this bird was. My first Rough legged Buzzard at this site and my first one in the county since the one at Whitley Bay many years back. This was a fine bird but too far off for any photos with the camera I have as you can see above. It was feeding on voles in the long grass and kept flying up briefly before plunging to the ground. It was very pale underneath and the rump and upper tail was white with a visible black band. The bird looked very big and looked 'fleecy' as it occasionally alighted on a fence post but spent most of the time on the ground. It hovered a few times as it glided around. A delight to watch. The Crows weren't happy and kept chasing it further away. 2 Peregrines came over and the Buzzard chased it off and the other was chasing the large Starling flock. I lost sight of it as it went past West Stobswood farm. I believe this may be the bird that was in the area in November. It may have left the area or perhaps it has spent the last few months just feeding in the rough behind these farms not visible to anyone from the main road.