Saturday, 30 August 2008
It looked good for ringing at Dru this morning, but JF had gone to spurn to ring mega's so I had a tour of the patch instead and to be honest, felt a bit guilty, it was the first time I had been as far as Low Chibburn since the spring. I was rewarded with a year tick......tree sparrow! there were three in the hedge between the preciptory and farm. Not much else to report, on the beach was little gathering of arctic and sandwich terns with a rosy amongst them, also 16 sanderling and 5 dunlin. Offshore there was 8 red throats, 60+ common scoter and lots of gannet fishing with more great-black-backs around a boat. A cracking bonxie moved north as did a single manxie and arctic skua.
137 tree sparrow
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
The girlies in their fancy dress
Incapable of drinkin my own beer!
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
After the meeting and we saw a reed warbler lumbering through the umbelifers, spotfly in the bushes and lots more willy wobs. IF turned up and had a little egretr on the Budge Fields. It had a good feeling that 'something' would be about, shame I am Leeds Festival for the next few days...no doubt JF will get the nets up and catch a mega in my absence
136 reed warbler
Monday, 18 August 2008
Honest Romany Folk set up camp
Back to Dru tonight after a weekend at the birdfair to find the honest romany folk have set up camp after a long absence. It really is great to see them back, they have used their wit and genius to fill in the anti-traveller ditches to set up their pretty little campiste by the dunes.
It's really re-assuring to know that, now they are back, it is once more safe to leave your vehicle, knowing that it will not be harmed whilst you go birdwatching. No doubt our travelling friends will do their utmost to make sure they do not cause any damage to the flora and fauna around their camp and will no doubt carry out valuable conservation work such as controlled burning and scarifying (using their various quad bikes) of dune grassland to improve diversity and halt the spread of invasive species. They will go out of their way to fertilise the trees in the woods with their own excrement, promoting growth and keeping out unwanted vandals and bird ringers. The women will adorn the trees with used sanitary products as part of a traditional tree dressing ceremony that dates back lierally months.
And when they finaly leave us, they will no doubt donate to the National Trust literally tonnes of free tree clippings, hedges and shrubs they have carefully removed from gardens as well as lots of plastic fascia boards, tyres and tarmac they have gathered up as as they go about their honest toil. It really lifted my heart to see them as I drove onto the site this afternoon, it's good to see them back!
So if you are down at Dru, why not call by and see them I am sure they would be over the moon to welcome you into their caravan for a nice cuppa!
Birdwise, Dru was quiet....an adult med gull (year tick) was on beach in a small gathering of gulls and terns, a young merlin flew south past the Budge Screen and 7 arctic skua's and a roseate tern were offshore.
On my way to Dru I spotted Tim Cleaves and Trev Blake at Cresswell Pond, so stopped by, and was pleased that I did. the little stint was showing well on the north side of the causeway, there were also 10 know, 2 ruff, 1 whimbrel, 5 greenshank, 36 dunlin, 2 blackwits, 2 barwits, 2 juv garganey, 3 little gull, 1 little tern and an adult rosy.....not bad eh?
The Birdfair was good, but very tiring. I was working on the Birdwatching Northumberland stand - a consortium of the public and private sector. As usual I spent too much cash on books and drooled longingly at the artwork in the art marquee, the new optics and the numerous destinations touting their wares. A good few northumbrian birders stopped by for a chat which was nice.
Martin and Sarah on the Northumberland Stand
Star-spotting David Attenborough in our marquee with Tim Appleton
Poor old Simon King can't even queue for a dump without being accosted
135 Mediterranean gull
Monday, 11 August 2008
Maybe it might fly to Druridge? Maybe pigs might fly to Druridge?
Kitchen fireplace, complete with tools for the job - hoover, brush and shovel, bucket and STELLA!
So, as you can imagine, I didn't get much birding done, though I did sneak down to Dru on Sunday to clear my lungs. It was very bright and very breezy, so no good for ringing (and Saturday was write-off due to rain. Not much to report either...very quiet.
Name: Tridens 1
MMSI: 245245000 [NL]
Speed/Dir: 3.6 kts / 328° NNW
ETA: Aug20 08:00
Type: Dredger/Underwater Ops. (33)
Details: Fisheries Research Vessel
Size: 61m x 10m x 4.4m
Received: 22:15:07 11 Aug 08 BST
small skipper I think...though am happy to be corrected......
Saturday, 9 August 2008
A very quick ringing sesh with JF in the evening...so quick we only caught two birds!!! A willow warb and a blue tit, hmph.
The weather has changed now and it looks bright and breezy tomorrow so will have to rip out fireplaces instead.....ho hum.
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Still it might not be an ill-wind at Dru tomorrow....Seawatching might be on the cards, as might ringing tommorrow evening if JF gets over to the coast, imagine a two-barred crossbill on the pools list (there's three on the Northern Isles today), I might even get to ring it cos JF has already done one???
Whatever, I will try and at least have a wander about before work tomorrow and to be honest a rb shrike would do me....watch this space.
I just added a new link to BirdLife Malta's Youtube channel - check it out http://www.youtube.com/BirdLifeMT
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
At Dru tonight I did a bit of a seawatch looking for more cetaceans, but the dolphins must've moved on, there was only a single harbour porpoise. On the bird front there are now 9 red-throated divers in various states of moult and three arctic skuas were hassling terns, I was there until 8.30pm hoping to see storm petrel on the oily-smooth sea, but no luck.
It felt a bit autumnal tonight, a flock of 38 golden plover moved south and 3 whimbrel went north, then the mist descended. A flock of about 1500 starling moved north, presumably going to roost in the East chev reedbeds.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
The whole show is organised by the formiddable (but likeable) Major (retired) Tony Crease with miltary precision. Yhere were miles of nets up, so we caught lots of birds for the trainees to have a go at, I got to ring some great birds but highlights were kingfisher, sparrowhawk and marsh tit. We also had a canon netting session at Teesmouth which was hampered by the weather but we did manage to catch 6 redshank and a dunlin.
I got a butterfly tick too, with this white-letter hairstreak at Ripon.
So after about 15 hours sleep in four days, I decided to go out ringing stormies with Ian at Hauxley last night, Trev Blake was along too and we caught 7 new birds and a control, so defo worth goin out, but another night of little sleep.
I had a work meeting at Druridge this afternoon (handy), so spent my lunch break (3 o'clock!) on the dunes looking on the sea, which was as flat as a witches. I was hoping for scoters but there was only a small grop way down towards cresswell. As I was scanning, I picked up a whale breaking the surface, the beast was moving very slowly north, only seldom breaching the surface and not by much, the dorsal fin was big, extending to a point in the middle of the back. Further south there was also a pod of 6-8 white-beaked dolphins and a couple of close harbour porpoise. I phones MSK to tell him, he said he would have a look. I then picked up a small pod of bottlenosed dolphin further south towards Cresswell.
MSK called me back " F#%&*g Hell - it's like the bay of biscay out here......." Martin had seen pretty much what I had, with a few more porpoise, he had picked up a minke whale between Dru and Coquet Point. I have since read some literature and I am convinced that the whale I saw wasn't a minke (I have seen minke before so already had my doubts), the dorsal fin was way to big and upright so i think this had to be a killer whale, probably a female as the fin did taper. It certainly wasn't a minke and no other whale has a dorsal so big in proportion. Unfortunately I didn't see the body as the thing only just breached the surface, so a bit frustrating really.
Birdwise my short seawatch produced four redthroats, a bar-tailed godwit flying south (year tick) and a group of ringed plover also flying south.
So it's now 0035 and I am ringing with IF at Chevington at 5am - no sleep again.....and the bloggers not workin so the pics will follow later...
134 bar-tailed godwit