Sunday, 29 January 2012

A day of raptors and many dippers

Heading off from an icy Winlaton Mill yesterday morning (29th jan) the sun was out and the sky blue, it was the perfect day for the Raptors we were hoping to see, me and Brian (Killy Birder) were once again out and about.  With lots of noise and movement in the trees as walked down towards the Nine Arches bridge and Far Pastures, we stopped and looked at the river to find little activity and then on to one of the lakes which was nearly totally iced over with only a few Gulls, 2 Swans and a Moorhen inhabiting it, crossing a small bridge, we were told there were goosander further up the river, we made our way there and as we walked along the path, we spotted a Dipper and then another, they moved down river after a little while, leaving a Wren plodding about on rubbish and debris  in the middle of the river
. As we waited the Wren was joined by Long tailed tit, Jay, Pigeon, Crow, Woodpecker and then over head the first Kite of the day circling above us, a Heron also came down and landed on the river after the Red kite had gone, as I stood looking at the Wren I looked up and seconds later a Kingfisher flew by very quickly and very close giving an amazing view, I looked across to see if Brian had seen it and I soon realised he hadn't as he was stood looking at his phone after receiving a text, Sorry about that Brian! On the way to Far Pastures 2 more Kites were seen and a brief glimpse of a Peregrine falcon and Roe deer in the woods.
 At far pastures there was little of interest as the lake was iced up and there was nothing there, back to the bridge for the "Roost" brought more then 20 Red kites, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel although it was difficult to count just how many Kites there was coming into roost, we then finished the day with a dipper singing away.

Wren

Wren

Wren

Roe deer

Roe deer

Red Kite

Red Kite


Far pastures

Nine arches Viaduct

A very grainy picture (because it was dark) of the singing dipper















Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bittern and short-eared owls

We set out on a cold Saturday morning for Gosforth Park, I was again in the company of Killy birderBrian.
we went with hopes of  seeing the very elusive Bittern, I didn't have high hopes of seeing the Bittern but I was hoping I might. We first went into the feeding station which was being topped up with feed, the light was good and there was a good number of birds coming to the feeders, Blue tit, Great tit, Chaffinch, Robin and Blackbird to state a few, there was a plentiful supply of Nuthatch which were coming very close, in the distance Brian spotted a Woodpecker but it was to far away to photograph. We left in search of the bittern, on the way spotting Roe Deer and Smaller birds in the trees. There was plenty of Wigeon and Swan on the lake along with a Heron in a tree, and Snipe in the reeds.
 We were told the that the Bittern was about and we found it, with a good view for me to see it for the first time, It got better as we saw another fly over the lake and land, a Heron flew over and so did a Commorant and as Brian was being told that he had lost his wallet and it had been handed in, the Bittern began to make a move it certainly performed coming right out in the open for us! I was very happy with being able to get pictures of it so clearly. After we went to get Brians wallet from his house, that the warden helpfully dropped off, we headed to Prestwick carr and when we arrived the Owls were already flying but Brian again missed his Shrike by a matter of minutes, Close views were to be had and it was very enjoyable to watch, Press here to view Brians blog post about Saturday. Thanks again Brian.





What you looking at!?

Nuthatch

Notice the frost on the tail

Bittern

Not the best of photographs just to show a Bittern in flight





Short-eared owl

Just to show the habitat





Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cresswell RSPB walk

The day started with a male Sparrowhawk in Killingworth, probably the same one that occasionally visits my garden, it was only a quick sighting as we were driving by on the way up to Cresswell (thanks for the lift up Carmel!) With Brian leading, we soon had Oystercatcher, Teal, Sanderling, Eiders, Knot, 1 Purple Sandpiper and lots of Gulls. A large flock of Wigeon then landed on the water, and with a few Teal in there too. Moving down the road Curlew, Lapwing and others also made appearances, and on moving onto the beach I set off to get pictures of the Sanderling that were running back and forth along the beach, I managed to get very close with the Sanderling not seeming to mind! On returning the group I found I had missed a Red Throated diver, Razorbill and Guillemot, Other birds seen later on were Goldfinch, Twite and while eating our lunch next to the cattle sheds 4 Grey Partridge, also there Tree Sparrow and lots of Starling. Just as we were about to head back along the road a weasel made an appearance carrying its prey but was soon out of sight again, passing the Pillbox as we all learnt it was, there were Greylag geese and lots of pink-footed 500+ in the fields past the farm. Cresswell pond itself brought Red-breasted Merganser, Tufted duck, Wigeon, Redshank, Little grebe, Lapwing and Teal, on leaving to go to the hide Brian recieved a call to say the other part of the group had seen A kingfisher near the hide, it was gone by the time we got there but when we were sitting in the hide it made another appearance and it got quite close as it passed by too, as it sat on a post on the pond just above I noticed a light bird flying in the dunes above and we had already seen Short-eared owl and another Sparrowhawk (female) with prey just before coming into the hide so on looking it was a Short-eared owl and then another right next to it, in all 3 were spotted but unfortunately  no Barn owl but I think it would be abit greedy to ask for it to turn up, A very good day with lots of nice sightings too.




Sanderling

Grey Partridge

Short-eared owl

Female Stonechat

Female Stonechat

Female Stonechat

Male Stonechat

Female Stonechat

Short-eared owl

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

North Yorkshire

I set off yesterday to visit family in North Yorkshire and was hoping to get some pictures on the way too. On the road down I managed to spot Buzzard, Kestrel, Crow, Woodpigeon and a few different types of Gulls and at one point what looked like a large flock of Golden Plover. On arrival I found the garden full of birds including Blue tit, Great tit, Blackbird and Woodpigeon.
 I began taking  photos and was happy with results and how close I was able to get to the birds, I was joined by a small group of Goldfinch sitting at the top of the tree and dropping down onto the feeders and bouncing straight back up to the top of the tree.
On the way home we went on a road between Bedale and Richmond which held with it sightings of Pheasant, Buzzard and Kestrel I'm also 95% certain I saw a Peregrine drop from a telegraph poll and across a field, anyway I think this was good start to the year and hope it keeps up like that.