Thursday, 29 December 2011

A windy day out with killy birder

Yesterday me and Brian (Killy birder) set out to try and get a closer look at the waders along the coast between Seaton Sluice and St Marys Island. We began at Seaton Sluice and at first there seemed to be  only a few birds about until Brian spotted Eider ducks out on the rough sea, we moved around next to the hide and on the rocks below spotted Knot, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Turnstone. It was fairly windy then and the birds were quite far away so there was no real chance then of a good photo, but I did get a good view through the scope. We then moved into the "hide" and there was a few Curlew on the rocks below and at least one Cormorant flying south towards St Marys.
 I then spotted at a distance a larger bird which at first I thought was a Curlew until it grew closer and realised it was a Goose of some description, we couldn't decide at first whether it was a Canada or Barnacle, well at least I couldn't! until its underside came into view and it let out a call and it was a Barnacle Goose. We headed off for lunch at the fish and chip shop, and then off to St Marys and on the walk along the wind grew in strength until at one point I could barely stand up never mind take pictures, Along the path apart from a few Gull, Curlew and Knot there wasn't much to be seen until a Kestrel popped up over the cliff and was barely managing to hover because of the wind. My camera may have "Image stabilization" but it doesn't make a difference when you can keep the camera stable! I did in the end get a few pictures but not many, but I did have a good day out and look forward to the walk at Cresswell soon, thanks again Brian.
St.marys island





Friday, 23 December 2011

Sparrowhawk and kestrel

I spent a bit of time on Wednesday watching the feeders in the back garden to see what came in, I expected Starlings, Sparrows, Dunnocks and maybe a Robin, occasionally there are other birds that come in but not very often. After the Starlings and the Sparrows departed it all went quiet and I was about to put my camera away when I saw bird on the roof of the house opposite and it looked odd, I then put my camera to my eye and found it to be a male Sparrowhawk, I quickly began taking photos and then after turning around it shot up into the air and over the house, I've heard of it coming near the garden but never actually seen it, so I was happy in seeing it even if the sparrows/starlings probably weren't!
 The next day I spent in Northumberland, I had hoped there would be a little owl and on looking there wasn't but I kept on walking and as I crossed a field I saw a Kestrel fly past me, I watched it fly over a wood and it then started hunting. I quickly got into range for a photo as it went from one end of the wood to the other, every so often stopping and hunting, I went into the wood and waited and was very happy with the 2 or 3 good sightings I got nearly right over me, It then set off and sat in a tree and I moved off trying not to disturb it.
I had a quick look at Killingworth lake and the lighting was not very good so I took few pictures but I did find the four Goldeneye (2 male,2 female) and to my surprise 5 lapwing.
Thanks for looking and Merry Christmas :)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Short-eared owl and Great grey shrike

A quick trip up to Prestwick Carr in poor light today. We arrived at about 3 to find one or two people stood looking into one of the fields, I was told the great grey shrike was on a bush in that field, putting the scope up I found it but my camera wouldn't reach so I turned to using my Ipod through the scope - It did a good enough job for my purposes, I was also told only 2 SEOs had been seen and neither flying. We walked a bit further along the road and found a SEO on the top of a tree, great views through the scope and even got a few shots from my camera although some needed quite a bit of cropping to gain a close view.
Great-grey Shrike (Ipod through yukon scope)
Short-eared owl (Ipod through yukon scope)

Short-eared owl

Short-eared owl

A bit of a wider angle to show the habitat 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Gooseanders galore

Seeing as I wasn't going to get far on Sunday, I took another visit to the Killingworth Lake, The lighting by the time I got there was brilliant I saw no sign of the Goldeneye although I may have missed it as I didn't look in-depth for it. I sat in the company of 3 swans that were stood beside me and I sat and looked out to find 1 Male Gooseander quite far out and lots of Mallard in front of me, I sat for about 10 minutes and within this time about 6 Gooseander, 3 male and 3 female came within very close distance, which is new for me as last year I could barely get a photo never mind getting a half decent one. The colours showed very well in the light espiecally on the 3 males. I also got a few swan pictures while I was there too.

Another robin I took recently

A collared dove I took recently

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Goldeneye, Ice and Infrared

I had a quick trip to the lake today just to have a look round really. As I walked towards the lake the first thing to greet me in the middle of the lake was a Drake Goldeneye,  which I was happy about since I had yet to see one this year and i have never seen a Drake. Apart from this the big lake had the average on it really, Although I was surprised to see about 1/4 of the small lake to be frozen over. I've also added To this post a few of my older pictures which I have been messing about with to try and get a infrared Look to them. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Big waters and Prestwick carr

We arrived at Big waters at about 1:30 ish and took a quick look in the bottom hide to find a few Black-headed gulls and about 3 cormorants. I made the decision it would be best to head for the hide at the top of the lake, all the way up Blackbirds, Finches and other smaller birds made their presence know by singing loudly. Looking out of the hide straight ahead were the Whoopers and possibly a few Bewicks Swans most of them had there head tucked behind there wings, so I couldn't tell. Lots of Teal, Mallard, Wigeon in front of the hide  (First time ive photographed a wigeon) Shoveler, Moorhen and Coot were also present on the water. GS woodpecker on the feeding station along with the normal, A reed bunting also appeared along with quite a few tree sparrows which is good to see. After a little while of sitting we decided to head to Prestwick Carr and see if i could get any shots of the Short-eared owls. It hadnt been 10 yards down the path and i quickly spotted one in a field infront and to the left of us, I got speaking to 2 or 3 people while inbetween getting excellent and close sightings of the SEOs, They have to be one of my favourite birds now, I counted at least six but I did hear quite a few people had seen 7 or 8 of them. It then started to rain and there was no sign of any birds flying around so we decided to head off. Loved watching the owls though!



Drake wigeon (left), Female wigeon (right)

Short-eared Owl


And in for the kill!

Just disappointed it didn't turn to face me