Sunday, 20 March 2011

Winter still lingers like a vulture around a carcass, but only just

My terrible attempt at a bit of poetry, a nice few days away from work related stuff helped me to get my head together and get some birding done. Friday was the first day which I planned to do some Uni work on, it was lovely sunshine and on the afternoon I decided to go out for a couple of hours. I had planned to go for the Red Kites in Gateshead, however a phone call from local photographer John Bridges had me heading into the direction of Rainton Meadows DWT. The target was a pair of Pintail and a cracking summer plumages Mediterranean Gull.

(Mediterranean Gull - Rainton Meadows DWT - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Pair of Pintail - © John Bridges)

(Pintails - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Red Kite - Andrew Kinghorn)

Those with a very observant eye will notice the female bird is nasal ringed, more to come on that later! Apparently its a very rare type of ring and not many are seen in the UK. The next stop was Gateshead where I saw no fewer than 9 Red Kites!!! Then off home.

Saturday - 19th March
Spent my Saturday out with Derek C, Derek L, and Kieran L. We were at the NTBC field trip to Kielder Forest, special thanks to Derek L for doing the driving. The day started when we picked up a male and female Mandarin Duck sitting on a river on the way to the forest. These birds are truly wild, stop the car and they would have just flown off. Always superb birds to see.

Out first stop was a car park where we met the rest of the NTBC group and then we jumped into the car 30 mins later and headed to our first Goshawk location. Some of the first birds we had were a handfull of Sand Martins going though. Then from here it was nearly straight away a male Goshawk was picked up about 1 1/2 miles away! Then shortly afterwards another bird appeared and flew strongly north and then out of view. Whilst at this spot 4 Ravens kept us entertained as well as a few Crossbills and a few local Buzzards as they flew around declaring their territories. The lack of Sparrowhawks displaying was quite obvious, clearly 40 pairs of Goshawk put them off! One of the group picked up a bird about 50ft to the left of us flying over a close group of trees. Bins and scopes up onto it.....GOSHAWK! It showed superbly well and this is by far the best Goshawk I had ever seen. See Derek Charlton's video below of the bird:
(Goshawk - © Derek Charlton)

WOW! What an experience, probably third best bird of the year for me so far. What a cracking way to start of spring. From here we headed up to the borders where apart from a couple of Buzzards nothing at all in terms of raptors. We then headed toward the forest drive where we went part way along the toll and we had excellent views of the local Buzzards and Crossbills. However whilst we were there a bird came flying in over some trees in the valley and I though "Osprey" when I first saw it, then it showed its black belly contrasting with white underparts, then the large white base to the tail with a dark tail band. It was at this point it became clear this was a Rough-legged Buzzard! Our group had found a Rough-legged Buzzard on a field trip on a days birding. Isn't birding fantastic! What a superb way to end the day.

(Crossbill - Andrew Kinghorn)

Now here's a video Derek Charlton took of me sleeping, the sly little 'so and so'........

Until next time, Foghorn out!

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