The day begun early on Saturday morning when I got up at around 6:30 and headed out into the cool morning air to Killingworth lake, having spent a fair bit of time there recently and being up early the weekend before where there had been a shroud of mist and a beautiful morning light which seem to spill out over the lake giving the place a real nice winter atmosphere, so I was a little disappointed to realise that this time around although it was cold and the sky clear that it was fairly windy so not much chance of any mist.
Still I had a quick look around finding the now grown-up family of Great crested grebes fishing and A "pair" of grey wagtails, not much else of note apart from growing numbers of tufted duck and a male little grebe fishing near the "floating" reed bed which really isn't much of a reed bed more of an eyesore. I was met by Brian who was trying out his new tripod, It was a shame that the light was rather dull compared to the light I had experienced last weekend although I do believe Brian got some nice shots. Moving to the top of the lake, the only things of note really were the large (normal) numbers of swans and a larger than normal amount of Canada geese joined by the family of Greylags. The Gooseander which has "summered" is still about and it wont be long til he is joined by larger numbers of Gooseanders and Goldeneyes.
A few pictures from last weekend at Killingworth lake
|Female Reed Bunting - St.marys last weekend|
|Tufted Duck - Killingworth lake|
Later on in the day after warming up from the cold early morning start, Brian and myself headed to St.Marys island, I was really after waders and we got them, Lapwing, Curlew, Ringed plover, Golden plover, Sanderling and more, I think out of these the one I enjoy watching the most are the Sanderlings running back and forward along the incoming tide. After around 15 minutes or so of me basically lying flat along the beach getting gradually closer to the Sanderlings provided me with some good views of them along with a few Turnstones and Ringed plovers.
We then moved on to the wetlands where we found a group of birders stood around one of the bushes with all the lenses and telescopes pointed towards this one bush, it was one of the Yellow-browed warblers they were watching and as it showed itself a burst of camera shutters could be heard, looking through the binoculars I turned to Brian and I think my words to him were something along the lines of "Is that it!?" I wasn't that Impressed with the bird.
We moved on in search of the Spotted flycatcher, Brian had seen in the previous week, we found it bouncing on one of the branches and occasionally flying off, Brian walked off to try and see if there was anything else and as he did so I heard a call in the trees as 2 Goldcrests (A bird I have wanted good views of for a while now)they flew down and landed right in front of us, Perfect! I was far more impressed by the Goldcrest and far happier to have this on my list than the yellow-brow.
Moving on to Seaton sluice, Brian picked up on 2 Red-throated divers, one in nearly full summer plumage, another lifer for me! It was a struggle to decide whether my bird of the day was going to be the Goldcrest or the Divers but I finally decided it was the Goldcrest. I also thought I had another lifer as I thought I picked up on a little auk, which I thought unusual so early on, I told Brian and we both looked and looked to try and relocate it, It turns out what I thought was a Little auk was actually a piece of rubbish on the water, It could be worse, I accidently said a Wren was a Spotted flycatcher last weekend in front of quite a few birders until I suddenly realised it was far to small to be a spotted flycatcher! "Well done sam!" anyway I don't think my I.Ding skills are usually that bad!
A walk up through Holywell dene to the pond we saw very little apart from a Hawker dragonfly of some description, heading straight for the "owl" fields at Holywell, we waited to see if the Short-eared owls would appear and they did, putting up a good show for a little while as they have done on many previous visits recently.
As we stood talking to another birder whilst looking out into the fields, I spotted a bird of prey flying quite quickly across the ground, it slowed down and dived onto the ground only to bounce back up and fly off, it was flying like a Merlin but in fact a closer view through the binoculars showed it was in fact a Peregrine and this time I hadn't miss I.D'd I knew what it was, Confirmed by Brian that it was a Peregrine!
Just after this 23 Pink-foot geese flew above our heads against the orange light of the evening sky, not a bad way to end a good day! It was a good way to test out my new Binoculars!
|Starling - St.marys|
|Short-eared owl hunting|
|Short-eared owl from last week|
|Short-eared owl from last week|