Friday, 19 October 2012

Tough Out There

Spent the school hours of the last two days fairly locally and at Newbiggin, tough going as there has been little of quality around. A decent sized flock of Pink-footed Geese have taken up residence in the 'two turbine' field south-west of Linton roundabout, mainly around the big pool in the south-west corner. scoped through the flock (c.12-1500) a few times but yet to find anything other then pink-feet.
Four Whooper Swans dropped in there yesterday, first of the autumn for me, though I had three more at Hemscott Hill later in the day. A couple of hundred large gulls, mainly Herring with the odd Great Black-backed also in the same field and the next field north. Difficult to do as they are at distance but I have noted two Mediterranean Gulls (adult winter and 2nd-winter) in there and yesterday a 1st-winter gull that I thought was looking good for Yellow-legged until they all flushed and dropped further away, at that point I was unable to relocate it. A few Skylarks and Lapwings too, so a field to keep an eye on.

I bumped into Alan Jack just south of Snab Point yesterday, a Great Spotted Woodpecker dropped into a bush not 5m away as we talked, nearby a sandy-coloured bird sat up on vegetation across the field briefly was either a Wheatear or Whinchat but despite searching we were unable to relocate it.

At Newbiggin the ash lagoon scrub has been quiet apart from a few Reed Buntings. Today there seemed to be several vocal Wrens around. Four Grey Partridges flushed from the rough grass and a single Song Thrush that may or may not have been a migrant.
The north end of the beach has a huge wreck of seaweed covering 40-50m and this has probably been the most productive area in the last two days, albeit the species range is a tad limited. Up to 10 Rock Pipits and two-three Meadow Pipits have been feeding actively but it is yet to attract anything less frequent. Whilst trying hard to turn one of the collected pipit-ensemble into something with a buff belly or red throat today a single Goldcrest came careering in off the sea and crashed into the docks and bank-side vegetation a few metres away. After a few minutes it was feeding along the bank, calling frequently it hung around for at least the next half hour.
Over at The Mound a single Chiffchaff put in an appearance almost as brief as the afternoon sun and a Lesser Redpoll flew over low calling all the while. Whilst stood at the back of The Mound a Short-eared Owl flew east along the ash lagoon, my first this autumn here.

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