Saturday 12 May 2012

Surprise surprise - not one but two!

No patchwatching this morning. We decided to give our ringing site at Lynemouth a bash instead and we are doubly pleased we did.

Before checking our nets for the third time, I decided to have wander up to the 'poo filters' to see if anything was about, Janet hates the smell but decided to join me. As we approached, a flock of hirundines was feeding in front of us, with my naked eye I immediately spotted something a bit bigger in amongst them. When I lifted my bins I had a stonking red-rumped swallow only 20 foot away from away me, Janet was quickly on to it too.

Of course I had no camera with me, the new DSLR and my mobile phone were in the car...and I'd only brought the 50mm lens - useless! I dashed back to the car and phoned out the news, returning to the poo pits as I did so. I was still phoning out the news when Janet said "it's landed on the roof [of the nearby building]" couldn't have I was still watching it. It was then we realised we were watching TWO red-rumped swallows.

Once the news was out, I dashed home for a bigger lens and managed a few record shots.

Underside view showing diagnostic black vent/undertail coverts and rusty coloured ear coverts
This shot shows red-brown band behind head and obvious pale rump with a narrow rusty band nearest to the body.
Another shot of the underside showing rusty colouredsides to the head
The only shot I got of the two in the same frame.
A decent sized twitch assembled on the coast road, it was a Northumberland-tick for many local birdwatchers including me, in fact the pair had doubled my British tally.

It was soon back to reality for us though, nets needed checking and birds needed to be ringed. We had a successful mornings ringing too with a good catch of warblers and some local breeders.

My luck didn't continue this afternoon, I went to Druridge and saw bugger all.

Friday 11 May 2012

Three year-ticks

A couple of hours birding the bushes at Druridge tonight from 1800. A text message told me of a whinchat near the entrance, I soon found it, perched on the fence. Whinchat is always a nice spring bonus. (Thanks for the text Dave).

A few wheatears were on the short grass by the road. Sedge warblers have finally arrived (how late?) with at least three singing males tonight. A third year-tick was expected, swift, I'd seen a few today on my travels up the coast so the six or more at Druridge tonight came as no surprise.

Other common migrants included blackcap, whitethroat and chiffchaff. On the beach there were five sanderling, four dunlin and three ringed plover.

After 48 hours of rain, both the Budge fields and the big pool are both brim full. The ditch that drains them was up to the bridge at the Budge screen and running at full-bore onto the beach. I fear most of the sitting lapwings will have been flooded out, hopefully they will re-lay.

If you are planning a visit to the pools this weekend, I would take your wellies.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Late evening update

Garganey in the bag

The above was sent from my phone and this was a 'phone-scoped shot, hence the poor quality. The final garganey count was no fewer than five! Three drakes and two ducks. That might be a personal patch record count!

A barn owl was hunting along the roadside at dusk.

More migrants

Work and football conspired against me at the weekend, meaning only one visit to the patch. A few more migrants have arrived, including singing whitethroats. Puffin, house martin and whimbrel were also added to the year-list.

I couldn't find any garganey on the Budge fields (three were reported today when i was trapped in the office), but it was most amusing watching the amorous shovelers. A single duck had the attentions of seven drakes and at one stage they were all in pursuit of her as she flew around and around the reserve. Persistent buggers!

You may have noticed a distinct lack of photo's on this blog of late. My trusty old Lumix has died after five years of loyal service. So I've taken the plunge and gone for an SLR, nowt too flashy mind, finances would only run to a second-hand Canon 550D offuv Ebay. I'm looking forward to it arriving so I can have a go. Results will be displayed here soon!