Saturday, 23 February 2013

Same old

Another week of pain with only evening visits to the Carr where the owls have been out but with limited show preferring to perch indicating perhaps they are well fed.
Robins also getting well fed and maybe a bit tubby! Also regular sightings of the Lesser Redpoll flock which number up to forty with two Treecreepers and Willow Tits most evenings.
I look forward to the return of warmth and some decent sunsets into which great birds can disappear with glory.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Famous but not rare

Reports of 'flocks' of Black Grouse in the Allen Valley had me heading up there on Sunday to try and find some but my usual spots only had good numbers of the red variety all calling and chasing as pairing was well underway.
An old stomping ground of mine in the seventies I spent many weeks at a friends house and we explored all the tracks, mines and brooks we could find along with extensive cycle trips in the days well before ligtweight clothing and for that matter bikes! Beats me how I ever managed to get my old contraption over the hill to Rookhope. That's it in the distance. Killhope Law taken up the Allen Valley from above Sinderhope. Later on, school trips with my excellent games master, Gosforth and England rugby prop Colin White, who sadly died last year saw me tramping the area often in the dark. I vividly remember him appearing out of the darkness as he ran two or three times round the route we were walking in the opposite direction.
On Sunday I chuckled as a group of modern day walkers equipped with all the gear approached me with puzzled looks as I scanned the horizon for my target species dressed only in casual shoes and sweatshirt (and trousers of course). It was almost summer weather but they were prepared for blizzards (as they should be going onto the moors) although some looked like they had already spent the day in the tundra and it was only 11.30am!
Anyway, I shouldn't grouse. Nice to be back there even if it's now overpopulated.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Break out / in / into

A pleasant weekend but has winter broken into spring or is it just a break in the weather. Looking at the forecast for the end of the week I suspect the latter but nice all the same and the birds broke into song. Two Skylarks and three Song Trush was the best but also Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Starling, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and on Sunday, Willow Tit.
The warm weather creates bands of mist over the Carr as various layers of different temperature air collide.
Possibly the loudest and most boring songster was the Great Tit which with Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock and Willow Tit are still visiting posts where I have been putting food out during the bad weather. The post above is a favourite perhaps due to the anti-Magpie / Hawk defences!
On Sunday I was seeing an unusual number of deer out in the open until I realised some scumbag was doing a circuit of the wood with his hound, lifting the mutt up on this occasion to give it view of the prey. Shame the range wasn't active, you never get a stray bullet when you need it!

Friday, 15 February 2013


A week of mixed weather and fortune. Currently the sun is splitting rocks although the temperature still leaves a lot to be desired but far better that the bizzard earlier in the week. Bird wise, the Carr is quiet and the garden busy. Two or more Treecreepers regularly along the bumpy road but only brief showing from the owls.
A Dunnock regularly takes advantage of food put out as do Great Tits although gate posts have to be chosen carefully as the Magpies are well aware of what is going on and will soon clear any offerings if they can.
In the garden Reed Buntings and up to four Long tailed Tits make daily visits with the Tits taking a liking to suet and seed packed inside a bit of Bamboo

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Food at hand

Chatting to Albert whilst I waited for the briefest showing of Short eared Owl last night, Robin was right in our faces as he tends to do so having come pre-prepared with food I let the two of them get acquainted. The clever little chap has learnt to pick the sultanas out from the seed and soon disappears into the hedgerow with them.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Green shoots

As I left the house this morning I realised I had too many layers on as the weather was almost warm and the wind had abated. Shoots of Daffodils are beginning to show and the singing of Greenfinch and Blue Tit was on the air. As I ventured down the bumpy road Great Tit, Robin and Chaffinch joined the choir all getting ready for another season.
At the bridge near the golf course a Willow Tit took seed put down on posts for some of the other more familiar songsters whilst a Robin gazed whistfully into the air before taking food from the same source.
The warmth had prompted a hatching of flies and two Long tailed Tits were catching them joined by a Goldcrest on the way back home who seemed a bit spoilt for choice.
This added to the 2013 list which had stagnated of late and  jumped three to 67 with Grey Partridge and Jay also new this morning.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Gods county

Weather and work has contrived to limit my activities and therefore birding but I took the opportunity to go to Otterburn today on business and chastised myself for not getting away more often. The snow had largely cleared, the wind was fresh and cold with all the sheep still close by the road for shelter and feeding.
But best of all it was lonely and bleak although I'm sure those that have to live there don't appreciate it so much.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Rail road

Not impressed by having to work Saturday I was pleased to get down to the Carr late afternoon where the wind had abated and CW had just finished feeding the Robin and was looking for larger targets to photograph. After a short chat and just as he was about to head off a Short eared owl appeared as if by magic and started hunting to be joined shortly after by another pictured as a blur perched just left of the grey box.

The flying bird was the same as seen earlier in the week just after an encounter with a Buzzard having P8 on the right wing missing although I don't think it was the argument that caused the feather loss as on being challenged the owl just spiralled upward and away.
I checked Birdguides just before writing this and found that Morgan who I met last week on his way to look for owls had a result of different sorts. Nice one mate (ouch, I really shouldn't clench my rotten teeth you know)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Memmories of.......

dancing on ice. After days of wind and work there's no new images to share so it's back to last weekend with Long tailed Tits on the frozen ditches.
I posted almost the same shots from a distance in the freeze two years ago so it seems at least one species benefits from being able to walk on water.