Sunday, 22 February 2009

I could Murder a Mipit.

As the title suggests I am getting somewhat frustrated at the lack of Meadow Pipit in 2009. Maybe the 'save our songbirds' people have got it right, maybe all the Mipits have been eaten by Sparrowhawks. I haven't bothered with a link they're not worth it.

This weekend's birding has consisted of snatched half hours, the first last night when I was persuaded to leave the house with the children so wife could hoover in advance of last night's visitors. Gleefully I threw camera,scope and bins in the car and shot off to QE2 expecting to catch the great gull flock as it made it's way back to sea. As we sped along toward Ashington two Common Buzzard soared together near Bothal. Arrived at QE2 to realise I had forgotten it was Saturday and therefore no working tip = no gulls. I contented myself taking crap pictures of Moorhen & Coot and a pair of Tufted Duck loafing on the water.

This morning I slipped out of the house thirty minutes early and took a slightly different route to work via Longhirst Flash, Northumberland's Great White Egret hotspot. It's had at least two I think I'm right in saying including one that I had found at Castle Island that moved there briefly later that day and with a report of one flying north at Teeside at 4.25pm last night it was just possible a third could be on the cards.

However the only white at the Flash was that of a single Shelduck preening at the south end.

With the sun out in force this morning I had thought that a bit of 'viz mig' (visible migration) was on the cards and Meadow Pipit was the target it had avoided me long enough this year.

I came up to the Aln Estuary and had a wander along the west side, I quickly realised that with the wind coming from the North West I was likely to be disappointed as these conditions aren't ideal. Three Skylark calling and flying north briefly lifted my hopes and a couple of little brown jobs on nearby wires were thoroughly grilled but I couldn't turn Linnets into Pipits for the life of me. There's good numbers of Common Curlew around the estuary at the moment, I counted 197 in fields at Foxton on Friday for example and a good proportion of these were around on the Estuary this morning.Most will be moving off onto higher ground in the coming weeks.

A single calling Yellowhammer was the only other small bird around, once again I had to content myself with views of Common Buzzard with one soaring over Boulmer Radar and another to the west of Lesbury.

Another detour home tonight via Cresswell, where shock, horror, disbelief the hide was empty. I hung around for twenty minutes to see if I could blag a Bittern but like many before me it was not to be. Amusing that the only notable bird was, yup you guessed it a Common Buzzard that flushed the roosting Golden plover & Lapwing. Meadow Pipit remains for another day.

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