Monday, 20 February 2012

WWT Caerlaverock

Off on the way to WWT Caerlaverock on Saturday morning and on leaving it was grey and raining, it didn't look to promising but we hoped it would clear as we moved north-westerly. It got increasingly brighter and on nearing  Caerlaverock it was bright and passing fields upon fields of Barnacle geese was amazing to look at, and then one or two fields seemed to lift altogether against the backdrop of the hills behind meant it was an amazing sight to look at, on the way up I had seen 3 Buzzards and 1 or 2 Kestrels along with a few waders, I think Brian and Mark were on the wrong side of the coach.
And not long after seeing the Geese lift I saw a lone Merlin flying low along the fields next to us. As soon as we set foot off the coach the sounds of a Wetland centre filled the air with Whooper Swan, Geese and Waders being heard, there was Chaffinch's a plenty on the feeders in the centre  and on looking from the farm house tower through the HUGE pair of binoculars I quickly caught sight of a bright white bird amongst the flock of Barnacles, it turned out to be the Ross's goose, a first for me and a very recognizable bird amongest the Barnacles, from the tower we also saw Black-tailed godwit and lots of waterfowl.
Moving on brought Yellowhammer (I only saw my first on wednesday), Reed bunting, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue tit, Great tit and plenty of House sparrow, The first hide was excellent for viewing the Swans and lots of Wigeon ,we moved on to the next hide which brought Barnacle geese and our lunch, the tower brought again Barnacles (no surprise there then) Shelduck and Heron and lots of Bird of Prey pellets on the ledges of the tower which had a great vantage point.
 The next few hides brought the normal, and then we caught sight of Heron with its lunch, that being a frog which was strange to watch but interesting. At the next hide there was nothing to see and we had just sat down and Brian realised he left his bag behind which meant another trip to the tower, finding his bag we were informed a very early Ring Ouzel had been seen although we unfortunately didn't see it .The rest was down to the Whoopers putting on a "flight display" from one pond to another, on leaving we saw yet another Merlin and that ended a great day although we did get hit by the rain quite a few times!
also thank you to Brian for the film camera which will soon have film in it and be out working!
Male Chaffinch

A very close Male Chaffinch

Female Chaffinch

Male House sparrow (left) male Chaffinch (right)

Pigeon in flight


The intruder

Thought I'd try something different

Male Chaffinch

Heron with his lunch

Just a small amount of Barnacle geese

Who you looking at!?

Yellowhammer (male)

Drake Wigeon

Male Wigeon

Male Wigeon

Male wigeon

Coming in for landing!

Formation take off

Whooper swans in flight


Another formation take-off

Whooper Swan

Whooper swan

In with the crowd

Monday, 13 February 2012

Gosforth park and Prestwick Carr... again

Sitting in the feeding station hide at Gosforth park, on a cold Saturday morning at first brought little diversity as there seemed to be only Blue tit, Great tit and Blackbird,  It did after a little while bring Great spotted Woodpecker,  Jay, Robin, a lone Siskin, Nuthatch and a Black rabbit. 
We decided that we would leave for the reeds and on the way saw a Treecreeper, Roe deer and  a Pheasant, on arriving at the hid  Brian and I got speaking to someone who was just coming out of the hide, he said that he had not seen anything of the Bittern and I believe he had been there sometime, we had no real hope of seeing it again but  after only a few minutes of sitting a rustle of movement and there was the Bittern ,I grabbed my camera to find the lens cap was still on,I  tried to get it off quick enough and manage 2 photos although they were no where near the same quality of the last ones. It lifted once more a little later on but I still didn't get a photo, I suppose there's always a next time! 
Arriving at Prestwick there was little activity from the Owls but lots of  Kestrels, we walked to the sentry box on the way seeing only a few Owls but again lots of  kestrel, a Heron and a Buzzard also made an appearance alongside the large amounts of  Corvids and Woodpigeons. Walking back along the "bumpy road" the amount of people waiting to see the owls reduced to only me, BrianPeter and one or two others it was then the Owls became active and numbers flying increased again, when a bird ringing net was being placed on the "reserve" side of the road making for a good photo opportunity, another good day out with Brian and I think he may be catching the photography bug too! 
I also forgot to mention very close encounter with a green woodpecker...  

Great tit


(Male) Great spotted woodpecker

(male) Great spotted woodpecker


(Male) Great spotted woodpecker

A very bad picture of a bittern




Short-eared owl

It must have been cold even the owls were wearing hats!

Short-eared owl hunting

Short-eared owl hunting

Monday, 6 February 2012

Lots of Robins, a Snipe and a Kestrel

A very cold winter night in Northumberland with snow on the ground and a clear sky, I stood and tried to get the night sky, I'm happy with the results and I am hoping they improve too. While stood taking the pictures using a 60 second exposure, it was very quiet and still, I stood listening to numerous tawny owls at least 4 by my reckoning all around me, one in particular sounded very close.
 I got up early  next morning to catch the sunrise as it glistened off the snow, and afterwards set off in search of either Snipe or Woodcock. I first of all came across Red-legged partridge, 2 of them stood in the snow. secondly the usual House sparrow, Robin, Pied wagtail and a few others walking down the field, I could hear and see Pheasant, and the sound of some movement which turned out to be 4 Hare running through the snow, as I walked into another field I flushed anipe which flew on, I luckily saw where it went and followed I hoped on seeing a it on the ground but again flushed it, I grabbed 4 pictures but they went the best as it was away very quickly. I then went on to see 3 Deer and several more Hare, and a Woodcock right off in the distant zig-zaging through the woods. A Kestrel also made an appearance although powerlines were behind it while I stood taking the pictures, It then went and perched up on the powerlines. overall a very good day.
The sky at night

Rural Northumberland by night

Rural Northumberland by night



Red-legged partridge


House sparrow

What you looking at!

Taking in the view