Sunday, 30 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
At Druridge this morning there was even more snow but it was nice and bright. We did the WeBS count and just wandered around the patch. There were geese and swans on the move, mainly south, but the whoopers seemed to be all over the place, making then difficult to count, there were at least 30 though, I managed to catch this lot going north by Chibburn Farm.
On the pools, the wigeon and teal numbers were up a bit with 50ish of each. When we arrived at Dru I predicted that today looked like a good day to finally nail peregine for the year and I was right. As we wandered towards the haul road, the waders, gulls and starlings on the fields to north all went up in a chaotic swirl - it had to be a peregrine, it was! In the sunshine it looked incredibly bright,an adult male judging by its size chasing golden plovers, it failed and went to sit in the middle of the fields, too far away to photograph. I've been waiting for one of these all autumn having failed to see one in the spring (when they are trickier), I thought I would dip, only to see one on in the first January visit.
As we walked towards Chibburn Farm, it came back over the fields containing some of the 250-300 golden plover, 200 Lapwing and 200 black-headed gulls along with starlings, corvids and other random gulls.
In the bushes there were quite a few thrushes, dunnocks, robins and wrens, nothing out of the ordinary. We called it a day at half one and retreated to the tearoom at Widdrington Village for lunch......
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Not quite true, there 50+ goldfinches at the twite food with 4 chaffinches, 3 blackbirds, 2 magpies, 1 linnet, 1 great tit and 1 crow. BUT NO BLIMMIN TWITE!
No birding and no blog activity for a day or two now cossov work stuff and them am off to the Scottish Ringers conference in Braemar. Our former County recorder tells me he has a bit of reputation at these do's, must take the camera and catch him in action...watch this space!
As for me I won't be touchin a drop!
Monday, 10 November 2008
Will hopefully be checking Dru out before work tomorrow.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
.....well that might not be quite true, the area we have been baiting up for twite had attracted the goldfinch flock in, which is the plan, hopefully once the twite see the goldfinch, they will come in too. We will try to catch the goldfinches too - good practice with the woosh net before the twite arrive.
We did have some time for birding today, a late start again...you guessed it...another hangover after watching Motorhead at the academy, I am deaf too, they were bloody loud. Anyhoo, the birding started canny with song thrush, 10 blackbird, 5 wrens and 2 woodcock in the small willow block, but that wasn't replicated further on. We did have another couple of woodcock in the bushes and the first siskins of the autumn. Blackbird were very obvious though with a few robins, wrens and dunnocks.
I had intended to twitch the red-flanked bluetail on Holy Island if it was still there this morning, I haven't seen rf bluetail in Britain so it would've been nice to get on in the county. Years ago the Boulmer Birder and I were birding the entrance willows at Dru, about this time of year, and I was sure I had a small bird with red-flanks fly though - we never found it, but I am positive that's what it was, especially after seeing them in China this spring...oh well...
Thursday, 6 November 2008
As we couldn't ring we birded the whole patch, I flushed a woodcock out of the trees which was the first of the Autumn, there were lots of thrushes, dunnocks and wrens in the bushes.
We walked through the south paddock NT have put in where we are baiting for twite along to the new NWT access, checking the willows. There was a work team in from NWT, the chap in charge (maybe the new head of PR) told us we couldn't walk through there as it was " a demarcated area for the bay...the coonty cooncil are ganna plant trees in there". Hmmmm
What was also disappointing was the amount of firework debris left behind after bonfire night last night. I can understand people wanting to go to coast, nice and dark and no pets to disturb, but they could clear away after them, they even left all of the packaging and their McDonalds wrappers -scum!
By midday we were totally soaked so packed in and headed home.....it's still raining now! I'll go down again at first light tomorrow and check the patch before work.
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
We took the opportunity to do some sea watching between the net rounds and I went back later and did another hour between 3 and 4pm. It was canny, loads of kitti's moving north and lots of gannets too, I got three year-ticks for my troubles, velvet scoter, brent goose and black-throated diver. No little auks, white-billed divers, long-tailed ducks or grey phals here! (I was trapped at work at Alnmouth on Friday went he white-billed records were coming through, I had to lead a walk along the coast in the afternoon, I had me bins, but saw nowt).
I have actually seen black-throated diver at Dru this year, but it didn't make it onto the list, to read the sorry tale of why click here
seawatching totals (brackets pm session)
wigeon 75 (4)
velvet scoter 5 - 4 drakes together and a single
common scoter 78 (75)
brent geese 3
eider 33 (19)
arctic skua 1
teal 18 (9)
black-throated diver (1)
Also of note was a water rail by the bridge at the Budge Screen.
A brief visit on Wednesday morning brought my first fieldfares of the Autumn at Dru, with 4 coming in of the sea. There was also 60 whooper swans in the fields north of the haul road.
Some positive news on the management front, NWT have put Druridge pools , along with other reserves into Higher Level Stewardship, this is basically agricultural support for farmers to manage their land in a sympathetic, wildlife friendly way. The agreement is with Natural England who look after the scheme, NWT have committed to manage the grazing and water levels for the benefit of breeding waders. So to get their cash they have to get the sward length down to 5-15cm across the majority of the site, they also have report back to NE the success or not of the scheme by providing them with breeding wader data. NWT have also prepared a site management plan for the Pools, which I am looking forward to seeing.
So we should see some major improvements over the coming 9 months - watch this space!
156 brent goose
157 velvet scoter
158 black throated diver