Sunday, 30 March 2008

Unusual Road Records

As much of my birding is done from the car, between home and work, or whilst out delivering I often come across roadkill and have many flyovers. In fact the White Stork over the A1 should have been mine the amount of time I spend on the road, Mr Mclevy should start putting on the lottery picking up a bird like that from the comfort of his armchair.
Anyway I digress, Ive had a couple of records one yesterday and one day slightly unusual. Yesterday I noted what looked like a roadkill Cormorant on the A189 road bbridge over the River Blyth, on the northbound side. I bet whoever hit that got a bit of a fright.
Today a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying inland from Amble Braid, the location being slightly unusual at this time of year I would have thought.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

When your least expecting it

Having the privilege of being one of the Burgage Holders of Alnmouth, (don't ask its the modern equivalent of being a peasant) I headed out with the other committee members at lunchtime yesterday to carry out our annual inspection of Alnmouth Common to determine any repair work necessary.
I'm getting back into the habit of carrying bins whenever I move outside, so I had them with me as we strolled north discussing coastal erosion and beach litter. I noted a pair of Common Stonechat just north of the Lifeboat Houses, apart from the odd Pied Wagtail these were the only birds I saw in a 1km stretch.
As we approached the North End of the Golf Course a small bird flew from a lone tree close to the beach. I managed to get the bins on a couple of seconds before it landed, expecting another Stonechat I saw a big orange/red rump and tail. Landing in a hawthorn about 20m away gave me clear views of a female Black Redstart, my first for six years. Unfortunately I was distracted by conversation and a minute or so later when I looked again the bird had disappeared from view and I was unable to relocate it.
I was pleased with myself till I got to the computer and found out that a Ross's Gull had been seen earlier that day at Seaton Sluice. Had I known I may have abandoned the common inspection in favour of a prolonged sea watch.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Gull Fest

It's worth a trip to Linton Pond at the moment if your interested in Gulls with at least six possibly seven species of Gull available. Today along with two immature Glaucous Gulls, 20+ Lesser Black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Common Gull & Black Headed Gull I also had a fleeting look at a possible adult Yellow Legged Gull. The flock was spooked a couple of times though and there was a lot of movement in and out so unfortunately I wasn't sure. Will certainly be going back though.

Added note, after a bit of digging tonight my YLG was more likely to have been a dark argentatus Herring Gull, oh well, maybe next time.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Dip at a Tip

Went looking for the Firecrest this morning at Grubby Plantations as it's only a couple of miles from son2's school. I say Grubby because the amount of fly tipping is atrocious and no one seems to have made any attempts to report it and clear it up. Big shame as the woods both here and Tranwell are a fantastic birch and alder woodland with Willow Tit and Treecreeper and fantastic fungi.
Fly tippers are a blight on the landscape and should be buried neck deep in their own rubbish and excrement if caught in my opinion. Leave them by the side of the road where they left their rubbish, at least overnight with persistent offenders getting two days.
Didn't have a sniff of a crest, nothing more exciting than four Bullfinch, a few Long Tailed Tits and a Coal Tit. I did meet Winnie from Craster down with a small party of birders looking for said crest as well. Winnie's great, WI meets NTBC in fact they should launch some joint trips or lectures.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

What came first?

Another hour birding, this time walking back home from the bank. Although not much to speak of five Jay at Whorral Bank were notable, just after three Long Tailed Tit flew over toward the allotments from St George's. Four Greylag circled around Pegswood Community Park before heading back over to Longhirst Golf course and in the surrounding fields four Skylark in song, the first of the year for me, along with a lone male singing Yellowhammer.
I checked out every Jackdaw for signs of ski jacket, white teeth, mirrored shades and a winning smile but they all looked local to me.
Suddenly after envisaging a sedentary existence occasionally publishing a post on the odd garden bird I am birding again, although this will no doubt reduce as the summer progresses and I get busier at work. Now what came first the blog or the resurgent birding? Am I birding to fill the blog, or I am simply blogging about the birding, discuss.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


That's right, brushed off the dust and managed at least 1 hour plus birding today, although most of this was simply on the way to work. I drove past Hauxley NR and along the back of the dunes into Amble with the intention of picking up on BB's Med Gull and after stopping to view the fields behind the dunes, picked my way through 10 Ringed Plover in case there was a Little amongst them.
Got to Amble Littleshore and found not one but two Med Gull with the adult joined by a 3cy bird.
Turning into Lesbury noted a Common Buzzard hovering near the railway viaduct. I dropped down to Duchess Bridge at Alnmouth where the flood defences have come down and created some salt marshy type habitat and had a small flock of Reed Bunting, that have been around most of the winter months and two Common Stonechat, although the Twite that were around were absent. Later a brief look on the estuary after the tide had turned had two striking male Red Breasted Merganser opposite the Alnmouth Boatyard.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Google Maps

These are just great and birders everywhere should be digging them in a big way. They can be so useful whether it is in Atlas work, sharing locations with other birders via blog or email. If you haven't found them already then just click on the maps icon on Google homepage and play around. After you have amazed yourself by virtually dropping in to you own back garden, you can begin to create maps that relate to the species seen.
See what I did here on Bird North East involving first records of Wheatear & Sand Martin.