Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Gone Are The Heathen Hordes

Back to school on Monday morning, so the beaches are back to almost people free and you can once again walk along a track without Eddie Kidd's lovechild cutting you up on the inside. A sunny morning Monday provided an opportunity to get my own tearaways out and about.

First stop the big geese flock north of Ulgham where the night before I'd spied at least four 'white' geese from a moving vehicle about 800m across the tundra. Now unlike many of the top birders I struggle a little with identifying birds whilst looking over my shoulder at 50mph without optics so despite the compulsion to report them as Rough-legged Buzzards 'because they had pale rumps' I waited until the following morning. Good job too as the three still loitering were Bar-headed Geese. The kids were so disgusted they refused to leave the car and insisted we sing Lady Gaga songs all the way to the next stop off point. So by the time we reached
an overflowing Cresswell Pond I was on the edge of something, though not sure what. CP held little of note although a flock of c.25 Common Snipe and 180-ish Golden Plovers kept me entertained whilst the kids looked for squashed frogs. Heading south through the village we jammed into a female/1st-winter Black Redstart on the roof of the community hall and watched from the car as it flicked its way across the adjacent roofs.
Black Redstart

Later as the kids enjoyed an empty park at Newbiggin I counted 10 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, 5 adults, a 2nd-winter and 4 1st-winters.
Returning from a last minute dash for bandages to turn J into a zombie, Bothal Pond held an unusual number of swans. A quick detour and we had our first Whooper Swans of the autumn with 11 adults and 2 juveniles along the south edge in fading evening light (ISO1600!).

Whoopers High on ISO

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