Sunday, 3 April 2011

Get back to your treeless breeding grounds...

because winter is pretty much out and spring has arrived! Thats what I felt like telling the star bird of this weekend.

On Friday night Martin Finey and I decided to have a look down to Scaling Dam in North Yorkshire, Martin very kindly let me off again with the fuel bill (thanks Martin, thats two lifts I owe you now!). We arrived at Scaling Dam in North Yorkshire around about 10.30, the weather was bleak and the sightings board was optimistic (see image later). My hopes were slightly dampened when a quick scan produced nothing but a single Pink-footed Goose with a couple of Greylag Geese (always a good carrier species!). Martin picked up a fence hopping Wood Duck which to my delight sat asleep on the bank side as I can't really face any forms of duck seen at this famous escapee sight. We hadn't been in long when a flock of birds flew in most Greylags but another Pink-footed Goose was with them, so 2 Pink-footed Geese but no Bean Goose. Martin said he had it and I looked at the bird through my scope and thought he was going crackers; "its a Pink-footed Goose" I said! So I thought nothing more off it and started to scan the lake again hoping that the bird had just been overlooked. I checked the spot again where I had the Pink-footed Goose and to my delight there was the Tundra Bean Goose. I apologised to Martin as I had clearly been looking at the wrong bird, made clear by the fact the Bean Goose was swimming beside the Pink-foot I had been looking at. Doh! We enjoyed good views of the bird and then decided we would call it a day in North Yorkshire and head back to Durham to check out Teesside. Now I know what some of the 'old timers' are thinking; its Cleveland. Well I am afraid that place no longer exists, don't hate me because its just a fact. Anywhere south of the Tees is North Yorkshire and anywhere north is Durham.

(Fence hopping Wood Duck - on bank)

(Tundra Bean Goose - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Tundra Bean Goose - video grab - Andrew Kinghorn)
(The adventurous sightings board in North Yorkshire......Hen Harrier......hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm)
So after my trip to North Yorkshire we decided we would have a scout around Teesside and see if we could pick anything interesting up. We pulled up at Saltholme RSPB and my iPhone went off giving me a text. Would you believe it; Saltholme report. So with the news in mind we scanned and I quickly picked out some Pink-footed Geese feeding in the distance, however not before I had picked up some Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers on a nearby pool on back Saltholme. Martin picked up a Greenshank, I believe this is my earliest ever record of this species. We failed to locate the reported Ruff but it didn't really matter, there will be others this year in Durham and I have already seen a few when I twitched the Green-winged Teal at Bowesfield Marsh earlier on in the year.

Our next stop was Greatham Creek, with a report just come through of an Osprey over Sleddale I got excited hoping it would fly over Teesside. However it was not to be and all we had to show for our efforts was a distant Peregrine I managed to pick up flying above cranes in the distance. However we were delighted when we saw our first Swallows of the year, following them were a couple of Sand Martin. A colour ringed Redshank was nice and I took down the ring details and submitted them yesterday afternoon. Also present were 2 Little Ringed Plovers which put on a nice brief little display, and as always it was great to see the Avocets. There must have been no less than 10 visible just from where we were standing.

Our final stop in Teesside was Seaton Common where I nearly instantly picked up a distant Wheatear, another first of the year for me. From here we checked Hurworth Burn Reservoir where we had nothing but a Swallow and a couple more Sand Martins and a couple of Chiffchaffs, not the hoped for Red-legged Partridge and I didn't even see the Swallow or Sand Martins. Though I did get this video of a cracking Mistle Thrush:

(Mistle Thrush - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Mistle Thrush - video grab - Andrew Kinghorn)

Until next time, Foghorn out!

1 comment:

  1. theres quite a chunk of Co.Durham which is to the south of the R.Tees