Sunday 30 October 2011

Weekend catch-up

My first chance to catch up with the blog after a hectic weekend.

With the prospect of 'fall conditions' for the end of last week, I took both Thursday and Friday mornings off work. Sadly the big fall didn't happen, but there was a bit of an 'influx' of birds. On Thursday, there were song thrushes, blackbirds, wrens, robins and dunnocks moving through the bushes, no warblers to be had, which was disappointing. A couple of big finch flocks were nice though, with 70-80 goldfinch, 30+ siskin and 18 or so lesser redpolls amongst them, I grilled all of the redpolls but couldn't find a mealy.

On Friday morning, we were ringing. The first net-round was very productive and the pick of the crop was this treecreeper.

This is only my second-ever treecreeper at Druridge, the first one was in 2008 and also came from a net. The bright-white supercillium on this bird would suggest it was a northern European familiaris race bird,  the underparts where tinged-brown, but not extensively.

There was steady skylark passage over all morning. After I left for work, Janet caught a few finches and a flock of 16 long-tailed tits, this takes the long-tailed tit tally to 37 between 15th and 28th of October.
lesser redpoll

female siskin

I had a bit of a wander about the patch today. I felt as though I had neglected the pools and the sea in favour of the bushes lately, having checked neither since I got back from Jordan. On the sea, there was a single great northern diver and 13 or so red-throats, also eight red-breasted mergansers.

On my way to the pools, I spotted a stunning male bullfinch in the bushes, a welcome year-tick and a bird I didn't see in 2010. On the pools, there was a lot of wildfowl, the wigeon numbers are building (189) but there weren't many teal yet. Due to the lack of cows and minimal rush control, the Budge fields aren't attracting any wildfowl at all.

Archaeology time....

This ships mast has been uncovered on the beach at Druridge by the shifting sands (probably as a result of the recent easterlies). It is quite ornate, I wonder if it still connected to the ship?

Ships mast uncovered on the beach at Druridge. 

158 treecreeper
159 bullfinch

Ringing totals for Friday (retraps in brackets)

blackbird 11 (2)
robin 4 (1)
treecreeper 1
blackcap 2
long-tailed tit 16
redwing 1
dunnock 1
blue tit 5 (3) + 1 control (probably from Hauxley - but we will see!)
wren 2
goldfinch 2
siskin 6
lesser redpoll 3
great tit (1)
goldcrest (3)
coal tit (1)

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Many, many beiards

I'm back.... I've been to Jordan...where there were many, many, beiards (as the Jordanians told us constantly - they were right and they were the friendliest people I have met). But more of that later.

The weather conditions as forecasted last night, looked good for the possibility of many, many beiards on the east coast – so I took a flyer from work and headed to the patch.

It wasn’t as good as it could have been, tomorrow might be better? I only managed to get from the plantation at the entrance to the track to the Oddie hide. There has been an influx of birds, most evident were blackbirds, robins, goldcrests and blackcaps. Fieldfares and redwings were flying over in small groups.

Bird of the evening was a short-eared owl, disturbed from its perch in the bushes, it flew out onto the Budge fields and just sat there. Of course, my camera battery was flat so no pics.

An awesome spectacle reminded that patch-watching and birding isn’t just about rare birds. The common starling, albeit over 3000 of them, was perhaps the highlight, as they came into roost in the tiny reedbed in the corner of the big pool. I had hidden myself away and watch flock, after flock, come into roost. It was complete chaos as they jostled and moved for position and then….silence…..amazing!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

Jordan was awesome! Great country, great birding and fantastically friendly people. A wadge of Western-Pally ticks for me  including little green bee-eater, Palestine sunbird, white-cheeked bulbul, yellow-vented bulbul, Arabian warbler, Arabian babbler, Asian desert warbler, Tristram’s serin,  Indian silverbill (tarts tick) and Armenian gull. Bird of the trip probably went to the northern Jordan endemic race of desert lark ‘annae’ – they were really cool.

Common...and not so common. Sinai rosefinch and great tit at Dana

Sinai rosefinch feeding station...some of the 230 bieards in Wadi Rum birds and they were everywhere

Bird of trip...annae race of desert lark in the 'Basalt Desert'
156 redwing
157 fieldfare