Tuesday, 28 April 2009

In, Off and Away

Right after that little diversion better get back to some birds I've actually seen in the flesh. Well with the weather taking a nose dive the kids and I have been a little housebound. It is't cold so I've kept the back windows open and had the occasional wander in the garden between showers. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing Sunday evening and on and off Monday in one of the Blackthorn pockets north of the garden. I haven't seen it since it would have been too difficult getting both kids over the barbed wire fence. I did spend five minutes playing another singing male back at it to see if I could bring it into the garden but it's not something I feel comfortable doing for any length of time. The male Blackcap or another just like it (they all look the same to me) has been singing outside and inside the garden from our Apple Tree. Two Long-tailed Tits put in a brief appearance today looking a little bedraggled in the rain.
Stir crazy I shot out tonight after watching the North Easterly all day. An hour seawatching at Newbiggin produced a couple of year ticks in the form of 20+ Common & Arctic Tern moving north. Gannet movement was steady with 179 North in the hour. Best identified birds of the night were tight group of six Manx Shearwater moving North close in. A joy to watch as they rolled and tumbled over each other sometimes three high. I'm beating The Farnes 7-2 on Manxies so far this year although I expect they'll not be getting worried about the competition.
Just before leaving I had one of those moments birders dread. I got onto a small bird, a passerine coming in off the sea, I lost it under the grassy edge where land ends and turns into rock. In heavy rain I got out and started walking along the grassy edge, up it went and landed briefly before taking off toward the churchyard. It was a Bunting a bit of dark around the ear coverts, a few streaks on the mantle and it was gone, I must have been a strange sight trying not to look conspicuous in the pissing rain as I peered under caravans. I left before the Police arrived.
So if someone finds a good bunting anywhere within 5m of Newbiggin tomorrow I'm having it.

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