Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Owls, Falcons, and ICT Coursework

A good few days I have been having. I will keep it short and sweet (if that’s possible for me). I have been a bit busy lately so it is nice to get out and about again.

Sunday 21st
The only birding I did was the Sunday evening when I left the house at about 5:45 will fellow bird club member David Kay and we set of to the undisclosed owl location to check up on our pairs of LEO’s.

On the way there I spotted a few Eurasian Curlews flying about and then got my eye on a bird of prey. I thought Sparrowhawk or Kestrel at first but then is turned slightly and it was far too big. PEREGRINE! It banked onto its side and confirmed by identification and then flew low over the fields showing its fantastic grey plumage and away. That was a nice surprise and not annual for me in the local area. Then as dusk approached we had reasonable view of Long-eared Owls flying about.

Monday 23rd
Out on a joy ride with my college mates and I took them to Rainton Meadows and I met up with Making a Short Story Long who very kindly let me look through his scope to see the Tawny Owl in her box and I got fantastic views of her.

Then Steve took us to the undisclosed site and I had cracking views of the Long-eared Owl roosting. Here is Steve Evans photo below taken of the bird I saw today:

(Can you see me? - Photo by Steve Evans, thanks Steve)

So all in all a great few days and that should keep me going until Saturday,

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Dodgy Merganser and Fantastic Wader

Been very busy lately with work from college sadly so no real chance to bird much or update my blog. Yesterday was a good day although I wished I had went out today instead to look for Goshawks, next Saturday or Sunday hopefully.

The day started of with 3 fantastic Ruff at Castle Lake (DBC) reserve, but sadly these where the only birds of note at this fantastic nature reserve. I reckon it might turn up a really rare yank wader this year hopefully.

From here I went onto Teesside and first stop was Saltholme RSPB nature reserve, we visited the Salthome Pools hide where the Hooded Merganser showed superbly whilst I was there, this was a year tick for me. On the way back to the visitor centre a flock of Linnet where a nice surprise and another year tick for me.

Then we headed of to Dorman’s Pool and the Reclamation Pond, on the Rec Pond I picked up a Black-necked Grebe however it was a distant view in the bins but still fairly distinctive.

Last notable stop of the day was at Greenabella Marsh where I had good views of 10 Avocets.

Year List updates
130 – Hooded Merganser
131 – Linnet
132 – Avocet

So all in all a good day, hopefully I will be able to tick of Goshawk next week.
(Hooded Merganser - Teesside - Andrew Kinghorn)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Gull Watching at RM’s

Today I decided to head down to Rainton Meadows to look for the Caspian Gull that was reported as being present yesterday. I sadly can report I didn’t see the Caspian Gull but had a great afternoon out anyway.

At Rainton Meadow’s I scanned though literally hundreds of gulls searching for the Caspian when I first arrived but no sign at all. There where gulls on the islands, in the water, and in the field out to the back of the reserve. There was nothing much unusual and then something flushed the gulls and they came of the field onto the water and the islands. Another scan revealed this beauty:

(Iceland Gull - 3rd winter - Andrew Kinghorn)

The Iceland Gull stayed around on the water for about 1 hour or more as it swam about and then disappeared. My mate informed me it was a 3rd year Iceland Gull.

Full gull list of birds seen this afternoon is:
- Black headed Gulls
- Lesser Black-backed Gulls x2
- Herring Gulls
- Great Black-backed Gulls
- Common Gull
- Iceland Gull x1

No Caspian but the Iceland Gull pretty made up for that. Nice to meet rokermartin, Cut’n a Long Story Short, and AndyK at Rainton Meadows today.

A walk to get my lift produced a Tawny Owl pointed out to me by Cut'n a Long Story Short. That was a year tick for me and takes me up to 127.

(1 of 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls present with Herring Gulls)

Monday, 1 March 2010

February Review

Spring is upon us friends! The birds where singing both today and yesterday which was a sure sign that nicer warmer weather was surely ahead.
Spring for me begins now! March & April & May are spring time for me.

The month started of with seeing a Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl which where fine additions to my year list one evening. I also had good views of 2 Short-eared Owls on the same night. I always like seeing Long-eared Owls and I have seen them regular throughout February.

I dipped my first ever look for a Bean Goose at Castle Lake DBC but my patients where rewarded a few weeks later whilst looking through the Pink-footed Geese at Cresswell Pond NWT when I picked up 2 Tundra Bean Geese among the Pink-footed Geese as well as a few Barnacle Geese literally thrown in for good measure. I also had a fantastic scope views of a few juv White-fronted Geese at Woodhorn Flash.

My moaning on the 31st of January on Blogspot paid off and I flushed a Woodcock over the college holidays whilst helping my mate Stew on his tetrad. Hurray!! I couldn’t believe I had finally seen a Woodcock, just glad I found it myself before the winter was out.

Then the best two days birding of the month was the last two days of the month! On Saturday just gone I had my first Green-winged Teal and this showed well and it was easy to ID thanks to the light and the views I had. I also had fantastic views of a Bittern in flight for about 20-30 seconds! That’s long let’s face it, and it was the longest view of a Bittern I had ever had.

On the Sunday I went on the Durham Bird Club trip and had reasonable views of Golden Eagle in flight although it was quite distant. I also had fantastic views of a male Hen Harrier drifting over the road and hunting the hills. We then went onto Caerlaverock WWT where I had cracking really close views of the American Wigeon which was another life tick for me and what a fantastic bird! I was also rewarded with good views of Peregrine sitting on a distant post. Then………………………………….. of course…………………….. I can’t believe I am saying this but………………………….good views of Merlin! It sat on a few posts and what appeared to be a drum of some sort. I had fantastic scope and bin views of it as it sat on the fence post and when it flew off past the hide as well. I took some terrible photos but I rushed them as I just wanted to look at the bird as much as I can! I had about 1-2 minutes good look at the bird and that satisfied me, what a fantastic month.

Obvious best highlights:
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Bean Geese

(American Wigeon - Derek Charlton)