Saturday, 29 December 2012

Seahouses Harbour 28/12/12 EIDERS!

I spent the majority of yesterday morning watching Eider ducks in Seahouses harbour, I've always enjoyed watching them especially when good views of them on land are to be had.
Yesterday morning started with a Rock pipit flying right in front of me and dropping onto the sand and almost posing for the camera before flying off to join a Pied wagtail that was also frequenting the beach, the tide was out but a few Turnstones still scavenged along the shore.
I was stood for some time watching them and the Eiders that were floating around in the background and then something caught my eye, a large brown bird dropped over the inner harbour wall and skimmed the water about 10 yards in front of me, I soon realised  it was a Woodcock and it was an excellent view too.
It flew into some long grasses at the harbour edge before lifting and flying away inland, I can only presume it had just came in from the continent.
A short walk around the harbour brought the usual, Curlew, Oyster catcher, Turnstone and several species of  Gull, A lone Grey plover kept with the Turnstones and 4 Bar-tailed Godwits wondered around foraging for food in the mud.
I returned to the beach end of the harbour and spent a few hours photographing the Eiders, with some excellent views.
A family then came and began feeding the birds although I think one of the kids would probably think again from doing this after being pecked and bitten by one of the Eiders.
The highlight of the morning was defiantly the Woodcock but the Eiders weren't bad either!
Rock pipit

Common Eider

Common Eider - Female

Common Eider

Starling

Starling

Dunnock

Common Eider

Common Eider - Female

Common Eider - Male

Common Eider - Male

"Get orrfff my land!"


I also saw a strange looking duck in the harbour floating around with the Eiders, I soon realised it was a Spectacled Eider...

"Spectacled Eider"



Sunday, 2 December 2012

Red, Grey and Cryptic: Gosforth park

A walk around Gosforth Park nature reserve today provided some good views of some unexpected animals today, my main target was to at least see one of the Bitterns, and did so pretty quickly as I caught sight of one of the Birds flying on the other side of the pond, and after a while of sitting in the hide we moved to the next and from there had distant views of 3 different Bitterns, a great sight and even better for me as Bittern is one of my "Top 10" birds and are always great to see, its especially nice to see them doing so well during the winter in the North east!
Moving through the woodlands, Robin, Blue tit and Great spotted woodpecker flew above and as Brian and myself stopped to admire a Great spotted woodpecker above I thought I caught sight of something running across the path in front of us, I've seen grey squirrel in that exact stop before so I didn't really think about it to much, but as we moved on I looked above and found a Squirrel in the tree above, A quick look reveled it to be a Red squirrel an unexpected addition to the days list. As I'm sure many reading this will know it is becoming increasingly hard to see Red squirrel in Gosforth park because of the take-over from the Grey squirrel, It was nice to see that at least some of the population (Even if it was just that one!) is still living in Gosforth park, for how long I don't know but it was encouraging to see that this particular Squirrel was fully fit and was quite easily finding food as it leapt from tree to tree.
In nearly the exact same place last time I saw a Grey scurry up a tree very quickly after caching its food in the ground, It is such a shame to see the decline in the Red squirrel and it is hard to see where, when or If it will stop, I have not seen one in Killingworth for some time now and they did once occupy area near the lake but again I have not seen one for some time.
I have had great views of the creatures at our caravan near Dumfries where they come for a daily feed and hopefully it will be some time before they make it into areas like this.
After watching and Photographing the squirrel for a while we moved on to find the small family of Roe deer making their way slowly through the wood.
A quick stop in the feeding station brought us views of more Great spotted woodpecker, Magpie, Robin and the other common birds that come into the feeding station after this we made a brief stop to write down our sightings of the day, I took a quick look at the posters on the wall and found on the "Collins: British Garden Birds" poster that Great crested grebe was apparently listed as a Garden Bird, I'm not quite sure what type of gardens the people at Collins have but apparently ones with large expanses of water and reeds in them! And I can't ever recall having a Grebe of any description on my feeders in the garden!

Frosty start

Moorhen

Red squirrel

Great spotted woodpecker

Magpie