Monday, 20 March 2017

Lifer with timescale for LE

Working away Whats app dinged (12.03) and I was aghast seeing ADMc had Black throated Thrush on my patch. He got dogs abuse as I left the house noting bird headed toward golf course. Horse paddocks are good for feeding thrushes but it's blowing a hoolie so only the paddock at Mill Farm would be likely. I parked up and as I approached the field a grey bird, thrush like flew, across the field into the hedge line (12.40) No white wing flashes and too delicate for a Fieldfare my suspicions were aroused. I took two shots but couldn't see the bird on my review screen. Note for future twitches. This bird is almost invisible in when perched in trees.
The bird then dropped to the ground and started feeding. Obviously grey and dark to the front with white underbelly Collins was checked and putative report put out (12.49) along with back up pictures. Following last years debacle with Dotterel I was very cautious about giving a positive ID. It seemed to take an age for somebody to arrive and in that time I had the bird all to myself feeding. Not as active of bouncy as a Fieldfare, much more deliberate and on three occasions fly catching with a somewhat uncoordinated two footed jump. No scope so couldn't really add much on plumage.
Eventually PS arrived and the ID was confirmed Whats app, Birdguides & Twitter (13.24). Joined by GM, HG and ACwl we watched the for some minutes before it flew up into the hedgerow out of sight (13.40). Others then started arriving only to be informed the bird was not showing. When I left (14.10) there must have been twenty or more gathered with at least ten en route up the road. Gladly the bird showed again (14.27) giving views to the many before disappearing onto the golf course (14.32). So sorry for the many that turned up afterwards.
198 on the Prestwick Carr all time list 162 for me, 296 county list, 80 year list and 4th county record.

Sunday, 26 February 2017


As developers proceed with the trashing of the green belt around every town and village in Northumberland I dug this up from my late fathers records when he worked for JTBell (now Bellway). It is a 1956 OS marked up in the early 1960's showing the limits of the green belt and the first tracts of land to be released forming what is now Newbiggin Hall, Kenton and Kingston Park.
Just look at it now
Having made a living from this stuff for many years I suppose I shouldn't complain but the failure by council planners to redevelop smaller infill brownfield sites with affordable homes while cow towing to the developer ideal of middle to upper class dwellings expanding into the countryside is a disgrace.

Sunday, 29 January 2017


 An iced Big Waters and bright sunshine got the Wigeon into camera shot

Tricky these landings on ice

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Loony toons

 I almost didn't bother going for the Pacific Diver or Loon as we should call it as all reports were of dot in the distance type but when the bird moved onto Ladyburn Lake at Druridge Bay CP I reckoned better views would be had and I wasn't disappointed. In fact the bird was ridiculously close.
Those non birders may be having problems finding it in the guidebooks. It (Gavia pacifica) was fairly recently split from Black throated (Gavia arctica) and indeed this bird originally found by TL at Blyth and was ID'd as Black throated till AC called Pacific when better views were finally obtained at East Chevington. The deciding feature in this first winter is the lack of a white patch at waterline toward the flanks and if an adult it would have a distinctive chin strap.
It was a nice neat medium size bird with a distinctive clean diving style but on this occasion rarely staying underwater for significant length of time generally following a circular pattern around the edge of the west end of the lake unperturbed by dogs or the gathered throng.
A splendid addition to the life list

Saturday, 7 January 2017

One week down

and 600 days till I retire. I thought the year had started slowly but there's 60 ssp on the PC 2017 list including three rarities so not a bad start

 ok not the greatest photo but Little Egret from your back window is not to be sneeezed at

Monday, 2 January 2017

Out of the shadows

Back after six months of twittering. 2016 saw 112 ssp for me on the Carr with addition of Little Egret to the list an overwintering Great Grey Shrike and the late addition of White fronted Geese on 28:12. This post will remain photoless as there have been at least three Short-eared Owls present since 27:11 but never hunting in daylight. Crepuscular MY ARSE
Here is the sightings list date / time appeared / number seen
27:11      16.02       3
28:11      16.02       1
29:11      16.04       1        16.20     2
30:11      16.20       1        16.24     2
01:12      16.14       3
02:12       wet
03:12      15.00      1 perched   hunting   16.15    3
04:12      15.57      1
05:12      16.20      1
06:12      16.18      1         16.24     2
07:12      16.20      1
08:12      16.09      1         16.20     2
09:12      16.16      1
10:12      16.03      1         16.09     2
11:12      16.17      2
12:12      16.09      2
13:12      16.06      1
14:12      16.05      1
15:12      no show
16:12      16.17      1
17:12      16.07      2
18:12      16.16      1         16.18    2
19:12      16.06      1         16.10    2       16.14    3
20:12      16.15      1
21:12      16.15      2         16.22    2
22:12      15.30      2         16.15    3
23:12       wet
24:12      16.15      1
25:12      windy
26:12      hols
27:12      14.30      2 perched but not hunting till 16.00
28:12      no show
29:12      16.30      3 new roost site so possibly missed them yesterday
30:12      16.25      2
31:12      16.15      2
01:01      16.18      1       16.20     3
Given the regularity of three seen as they get lost in the darkness the possibility of more but why they only feed in the dark is a puzzle. Perhaps they haven't read the guides.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tree toppers

Young Tree Sparrows in my garden this morning being fed by the pair that nested in a box normally used by Blue Tits although last year it contained Bees. Three young at least all a bit soggy due to the weather but being well tended by the parents.
Interestingly Blue and Great Tits have been rare in the garden over the last two weeks returning with young over the last couple of days indicating breeding in the locality but not particularly close. The garden list this year isn't bad with two of three nest each for Starling and Blackbird successful with the Blackbirds still going strong but no second attempts by the Starlings. Two Jackdaw nests and five or more House Sparrows all now fledged and young Robin seen in garden but couldn't confirm the nest site.