Saturday, 3 April 2010

And on the Sixth Day....

Birds pay the bills for me at the moment whilst our children are pre-school and the costs of childcare of twins prohibitive. When we realised that it was either one of us work full time and the other none at all or both do a little it gave me the opportunity to test the water, to see if I could make things happen doing the thing I enjoy the most.
This whole blogging malarkey is just that, creating something, making something happen, getting noticed so that when the work does come around I might, just might, have got noticed. It also makes me write, about birds and nature, again something I enjoy and one of the many things I am trying to put food on the table. So if all this appears a little egotistical sometimes don't make assumptions, its just me trying to wave my CV a little higher than the competition.

Trevor Blake the NTBC Field Trips Organiser kindly rang me a little after six thirty last night with news that he had found a Great White Egret at Warkworth Lane Ponds. Still as rare as good spelling on a birding blog up here, there have been only 11 records to date. Not needing it for my county list after finding one in 1999 I decided to head for Cambois/Newbiggin this morning in search of self found.
With Black Redstart reaching almost biblical plague proportions at Newton and Holy Island, Cambois and it's industrial wasteland should be overrun went my thinking. After two hours, three Wheatears, three Song Thrush and a singing Chiffchaff later I had drawn the conclusion that I was a day too late.
Song Thrush

I headed out to North Blyth and Alcan and had even less joy with two Linnet and two Rock Pipit the peak of passerine activity.

Rock Pipit

By mid-morning I had given up the ghost and was heading for Newbiggin, a brief stop at the north end of the old power station to look at how flooded the fenced compound was. Stepping from the car and sat waiting on the gatepost a 1st-summer male Black Redstart it flicked away into the compound only slightly less quick than it moved status from measly year tick to Self Found year tick (cue triumphant music). A genuine wild migrant rather than the tame coming to bread individuals that have been charging birders to pose for photos at Newton it remained elusive and distant providing only the ubiquitous crap record shot.

Black Redstart, 1st-Summer male.

Newbiggin as is often the case in early Spring was an unrewarding and wet affair, though the promise of something good is only ever around the next bush. Two pairs of Stonechat back on the moor were welcome, the damp patch at the back of the golf course has like Brigadoon re-appeared as a proper wetland with four Gadwall on it today. I think they may be a Newbiggin Golf Course wetland tick for me. A Kestrel posed briefly and warily as the sun threatened to provide half decent light.

Still Water Pipit-less for the year I headed for Lynemouth and the flooded fields north of Bell's Farm, a Birdguides email placing the Great White Egret at the Budge Hide a mere 500m up the road forced me to abandon self found temporarily and take the tick. ADMc with a fresh GI haircut supplied a walk up view point complete with scope at the roadside and Egret was duly ticked.
Moments after Tom Tams arrived and whipped out the big lens, the Egret obviously spotted it from all of 300m took one look and promptly took to the air and moved south. Using all the riding alongside techniques picked up from watching westerns as a child I motored alongside till it dropped into the field north of Bell's farm and then onto the ponds behind.

Great White Egret


Bob Bushell said...

Nice pictures, Alan.

James said...

Well, I found out about the egret when I got back to thirsk in the evening, having been at Eshott with the crane at the time...

If you think your record of the BR is bad you should see mine of this morning's garganey at ISO800 at distance in pouring rain (or maybe not).