Tuesday 24 February 2009

Fish list

There was a report today of another oarfish washed up on our coast, this time at Tynemouth. Amazing that this is only the 4th UK record and we have had two less than 30 miles away from each other in a month. Seemingly the shouldn't even be in the North Sea, it's too shallow for them!


Now I don't keep a fish list (alive or dead).....but I know someone who does, I wonder if he twitched it?

Monday 23 February 2009

India Day Three

India Day three has been added to Ipin's Birding Trips, check it out!

Sunday was WeBS day

Visited Druridge briefly on Sunday to do the WeBS count before the match, it was a nice sunny morning, though the westerly had a bit of a bite. Nothing startling on the WeBS, but the duck numbers are up on the Budge fields now the cows have munched their way through the veg, it's looking canny for the spring now.

There was a a flock of 350 black-headed gulls on the field by the haul road, a scan through them only turned up 3 common gulls in their midst, there was two good flock of lapwings with 113 west of the Budge fields and 286 on them. Ducks were:

wigeon 136
teal 149
mallard 26
shoveler 15

My other WeBS site, Ellington Pond is usually pretty much deserted, but it was jammed with wildfowl (by Ellington Pond standards) on Sunday including 6 tufted ducks, 29 mallard and 12 gadwall.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Coquet Island

I had to work today, but it wasn't too bad, cos I got to go to Coquet Island. This RSPB reserve is not open to the public for landing, but we were working for RSPB so I got to spend the day there.

The eiders were very vocal at the fish dock in Amble, the males all displaying to the females, making their comical noises.
Obviously at this time of year the island is very quiet bird-wise, with only the fulmars beginning to establish themselves.
There were some winter visitors around including a first-winter glaucous gull, peregrine, a few meadow pipits and a robin in the gardens.
This working on Saturday is tough going......

Tuesday 17 February 2009

This Evening

The daylight hours are getting noticeably longer, so much so that i managed to get down to Dru after work today, it was nearly dark (5.20pm), but there was 20 minutes of reasonable light, I just looked from the Budge screen.

No owls, as I had hoped for, or bittern. I did add water rail to the year list though and there were good numbers of wigeon, teal and lapwing and 13 magpie....could be my record count for Dru?

I'm looking forward to the long evenings of May and June now.....

61 water rail

Monday 16 February 2009


If anyone has been following previous posts and comments, you may have noticed the back-and-forth about the bittern. Stu sent me a photo today and there it is, as large as life, on the Budge fields...... A BITTERN!
Bittern from the Little Hide (photo: Stu Fenwick)

Stu reckoned it was about 1pm on Saturday...that would've just been about when we finished putting the bird boxes up and went to quickly check the north end and the Budge fields, only from the screen hide.......

I could see 2 or 3 birders in the little hide, but no birds were apparent on the fields...now I know...and I am gutted, totally gutted.

There had been a report of bittern at Dru during the heavy snow too.

The woe of a patch worker, there's me doing my bit for conservation, putting up nestboxes whilst missing a bittern..

I'm off to the pub...............

Sunday 15 February 2009

Quiet morning

Had a quiet morning at Dru with little to report. The snow has all gone now and there is a good number of ducks on the Budge Fields, with Shoveler up to 5 now. On the big pool, there are now 10 shelduck and a very noisy canada goose on its tod!

Nothing offshore of note, on the way out there was a big flock of fieldfare with some redwing opposite Druridge hamlet along with starlings, golden plover and lapwing. A kestrel on the wires here was the only year tick. Maybe spring is in the air though, there was a skylark singing today and Alan Gilbertson had been watching the resident magpies carrying sticks into the wood.

Curlew on the Budge fields

60 Kestrel

Saturday 14 February 2009

Boxing Clever

We spent the morning putting 12 tree sparrow boxes up at High Chibburn Farm, it's the only place on the patch that I regularly see tree spuggies, so it was good to get the farmers permission to put them up. Fingers crossed they will use them and the population will increase.

Only had time for quick check of the north end and a quick look at the Budge fields which are now defrosted and re-inhabited with ducks including a pair of shoveler.
A small flock of long-tailed tits were in the woods, two of them were ringed, so I am presuming they are the same birds we ringed last autumn, good to see they are still with us after the harsh weather of late.
58 shoveler
59 long-tailed tit

Friday 13 February 2009

Snowy Day

Spent the morning at Dru today cos I had a day offuv work, it was like a winter-wonderland.....no, really...it was!

There had obviously been a 'fall' of thrushes. I wen tot he top end first to put down some twite food, then did the budge screen area, there were a few fieldfare and redwing around there...and this snipe, cowering in the snow.
From the Oddie hide, it was obvious that thrushes were on the move, a flock of 18 fieldfare came in offuv the sea over the pool and there were small groups in the tops of the trees. On my way out of the hides there were even 20 or so feeding along the bunded path with a handful of redwing. No ring ouzel or even tastier thrushes though...

Not much else to report, bugger all on the sea and nothing outstanding on the pools.

Will be down at High Chibburn tomorrow putting up our tree spuggie boxes.

55 skylark

56 common gull

57 Shelduck

Thursday 12 February 2009

India day two

I've added Day two pics to the India trip pages here or click on the India flag on the right.

The snow today came as a bit of a shock. I've taken tomorrow offuv work so will get down to Dru between painting the tree spuggie boxes with fence paint so we can get them put up on Saturday...

Monday 9 February 2009

Colour-ringed herring gull

I heard back from the Norwegian chap about the colour ringed herring gull I saw at Amble Harbour last week:

CR-Code Blue ring with white code for large gulls 4 digits LBBW(J3LJ);RBMRinging Centre Stavanger (Norway) Ring number FA29729Species Herring Gull Larus argentatus Sex Unknown Age Pullus
Date24.06 2007
PlaceHerreholmen, Lyngdal, Vest-Agder, Norway
Coordinates58°02'02"N 006°57'51"E

21.02 2008
Amble-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, Great Britain
55°20'02"N 001°34'04"W
Robson, Iain
02.01 2009
Amble Harbour, Northumberland, Northumberland, Great Britain
55°20'12"N 001°34'34"W
Bone, Sara
31.01 2009
Amble-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, Great Britain
55°20'02"N 001°34'04"W
Robson, Iain

It must like Amble!

Sunday 8 February 2009

Year list off to a start

Druridge on Saturday morning -grim!
I finaly managed to get down to Druridge at the weekend. I went on saturday, briefly, until the weather beat me. It was grim!

I did manage to see a flock of golden plover on the fields to the north and a nice buzzard perched on the fence at the back of the Budge Fields. The intermittent snow/sleet/rain/hail showers became more frequent add to that the biting northerly wind, it was all too much. I went home and made some tree sparrow nestboxes.

Today was a much better day, the wind had dropped and had gone to the west and there was no snow/sleet.....no precipitations of any type, so I bashed the patch. I started by waling to the north then along the haul road, a pair of buzzard, were interacting above one of the shelterbelts - who would've thought, 10 years ago, that buzzard would be on the patch list before sprawk and kestrel at Druridge! There was a good count of meadow pipit today with six by the bushes and at least 12 along the haul road.

A stubble field had attracted a mixed flock of linnet and goldfinch and a flock of 50+ fieldfares with a few redwings among them. That was all th winter thrushes on the list with the mistle thrush on the fence and song thrush walloping snails offuv a glass bottle in the dunes. By High Chibburn, there 19 whooper swans in the fields with a few mutes, a grey wag flew over the farm buildings.

Back towards dru a pair of stonechat were by the entrance. On the pool, there was flock of 37 canada geese, unusual for Druridge, they must've been frozen off elsewhere, 12 greylags were also on the pool with 5 goldeneye and reasonable number of wigeon and teal. One of the otters was at the west side.

Offshore, the tide was in but there wasn't much to see, 3 red-throated divers, a handful of shag and a north-flying razorbill.

So the year list stands at 54, not a bad start considering the weather!

1 black-headed gull
2 curlew
3 golden plover
4 redshank
5 lapwing
6 dunlin
7 carrion crow
8 jackdaw
9 grey heron
10 magpie
11 buzzard
12 song thrush
13 robin
14 blackbird
15 wren
16 meadow pipit
17 dunnock
18 whooper swan
19 grey partridge
20 fieldfare
21 mistle thrush
22 pheasant
23 pink-footed goose
24 mute swan
25 pied wagtail
26 goldfinch
27 linnet
28 redwing
29 moorhen
30 rook
31 jackdaw
32 starling
33 snipe
34 rock dove (skemmie)
35 chaffinch
36 great tit
37 house sparrow
38 grey wagtail
39 canada goose
40 goldeneye
41 teal
42 wigeon
43 mallard
44 greylag goose
45 tufted duck
46 gadwall
47 woodpigeon
48 stonechat
49 sanderling
50 red-throated diver
51 shag
52 herring gull
53 razorbill
54 twite

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Ipin's Birding Trips

Rather than clog my blog (it rhymes!) with non-druridge stuff like trips, I've created another blog for that kind of stuff: Ipin's birding Trips . I've just started putting the India stuff on there, which I'll try to get done over the next few weeks. If I get time, I'll try and put some older trip stuff on there too....check it out!

Still not been to Druridge, no work and no footie this weekend so I'll kick the year list of then.