Sunday, 28 February 2016


A splendid sunny Saturday morning saw Skylarks, Chaffinch and an early Reed Bunting singing. The Curlews are back though not very vocal yet but two Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed in the wood and the Green Woodpecker yaffled again although moved quite widely in the wood then over to the garden centres.
Sitting on a fence post preening was a Peregrine which took to the air after a while and soared over toward the Airport. Number 81 on the PC2016 list and one of three I've seen in the last week at various locations in the county so hopefully signs of a return to numbers following years of persecution.
Up the bridle track they're carrying out maintenance on the brick culvert next to the sentry box and further on two Treecreepers were feeding on opposite sides of the track but given away by constant contact calls.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Great Start

2016 has rolled up a healthy 80 species on Prestwick Carr to date without any summer migrants so I would expect to roll through the hundred mark mid summer. This week saw a much sought after Tawny Owl make it easy for me by perching on the line outside my house looking to make a meal of the Sparrows and Starlings roosting in the conifer trees no doubt. Earlier in the week the first Curlew returned and a visit to the wood yesterday found Woodcock and Siskin but no Crossbill or Squirrels unfortunately.
If the wet conditions remain I dream of passage waders flooding in to join the 300+ Golden Plover and 50-100 or so Lapwing (subject to tide conditions) on the horse fields.

Friday, 12 February 2016

All you need is stubble

On Sunday driving out of Knowesgate past the shoe tree a flash of orangey back caught my eye in the hedgerow. I slammed on the brakes much to my mothers disapproval and reversed where I got a view of five to ten Brambling before they cut the corner off the field and disappeared from view. This species rarer than hens teeth  this winter I took the first opportunity to return to the spot parking in a gate which opened into a stubble field. Immediately flocks of birds lifted ff the ground before settling back. Two or three Skylarks were singing and then on the passage of a Land Rover up the road a throng of birds emerged from the grass. I counted 21 Skylark and hundreds of finches which perched high up in the trees next to the road. Closer inspection revealed them to be Brambling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Redpoll with other large flocks of Starlings, Meadow Pipits and Corvids also present. Just as I got settled to watch the throng was flushed by a Sparrowhawk who hunted in the most inept fashion fluttering with legs dangling as if confused by the amount of prey darting around him. The Brambling fortunately gathered atop one particular tree where I counted at least thirty.
If only more stubble was left over winter I'm sure many endangered species like Yellowhammer would stage a major recovery.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Winter kit

Checked Blyth south harbour for snobs yesterday but only found a flock of large gulls battling with Cormorant and Eider for fish guts being thrown off a boat. Hoping there was an Iceland in among them I check closely but only on bird stood out.
A winter plumage Kittiwake was the only small gull in the flock and seemed quite adept at choosing good moments to fly through the squabbling gulls to pluck its food from the water.
Then the flock lifted and the reason was soon apparent

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

It's what roads are for

Breaking into your lunch box