Wednesday 14 August 2013

Off to Birdfair

There was a green sandpiper in front of the Oddie Hide this evening, no photo's I'm afraid, didn't have the camera with me.

On the beach, I grilled the assembled gulls for a Bonaparte's with no joy. Offshore there was a a lot of fulmars moving north, four arctic skuas in the bay and three black-tailed godwits going south.

I am going south too, tomorrow, to Bird Fair.

If you want to pop by and say hello, I'll be on the Birdwatching Northumberland stand (53/54) in Marquee Number 1.

So, I wonder what will urn up at Druridge this weekend?

Saturday 10 August 2013

Tern Frenzy

This morning I headed to the dunes for a quick scan, the sea was miles away, a really low-tide. The beach profile at Druridge at the moment is a series offshore sand bars, which can trap water at low tide, leaving a tidal pool.

One of these pools, at the southern end of the patch, contained a family of folk, watching dozens of terns literally feeding among them. I ran back to my car, zoomed south and armed with the camera headed for the pool.

I spent the next hour, strides removed, down to my under-crackers, so I could get closer shots, in the pool photographing terns. I was hypothermic when I had filled my 16gb memory card. I tried to tweet, but my hands were shaking too much.

I've deleted tons of shots and played around with some of the better ones. Here they are.

Common tern

Common tern

Common tern

common terns eyeing up some food

Common terns

Like planes landing at Heathrow, a queue of terns waiting to feed

mixed terns

A colour-ringed bird. hopefully enough in this shot to trace it

Roseate tern - one of at least five

Another roseate tern

Sandwich tern action
I've got masses more shots, but I guess you're all bored with terns already? There were some arctic terns on the beach, but none feeding, only sandwich, common and rozzas. There are no photos of me in my pants you'll be sorry to hear.

HMS Severn was loitering in the bay today 
HMS Severn was in the bay today, I  think the crew may have been twitching roseate tern for their year lists.

Other news from the patch - I tried a ringing session on Thursday morning which was poor, Sundays little influx of birds has moved through leaving only local breeders. I only caught five birds from 0530-1130. Two robins, two sedge warblers and a wren - all juvenile birds.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Felt a bit autumnal

It felt a bit autumnal down at the patch today. There had been a small arrival of warblers I think, there were a few willow warblers and chiffchaffs 'wheeting' in the bushes and down the path to the hides and a collared dove flew north - a sure sign of Autumn.

There were also more migrant waders on the big pool, a juvenile little ringed plover, common sand, green sand and dunlins. Tonight three greenshanks dropped into the Budge fields.

Juvenile LRP. You can see the beginnings of the orbital ring 

These common terns were also entertaining for a while, displaying and presenting fish. Mute swans were also doing a bit of display.

Displaying common terns

Mute swan
Two little gulls were still present on the big pool. This juvenile black-headed gull has caught the fish. I am not sure of the species of fish, but it appeared to have something stuck to it or living on it, small white spheres.The gull spent ages trying to dislodge, then wash off, whatever was stuck to the fish. It gave in in the end and just ate it.

Black-headed gull with fish

Here is a close up of the fish - any thoughts?
 143 Little ringed plover

Saturday 3 August 2013

A day off work

I took today off work and spent most of it on the patch.

I started the day birding the sunny edge of the bushes, seeing lots of warblers. Whitethroats have been amazing this year, normally there are two or three breeding pairs on the patch, this year there must be ten pairs, incredible.

Another sedge warbler photo

Whilst birding the bushes, I heard a call that I recognised, but couldn't pin down with only the briefest and distant views of the bird. An hour later, I heard the same call, another bird flying south, but overhead, a pipit, a tree pipit. I've not seen (or heard) a tree pipit at Druridge in years, probably since Stewart was birding Druridge, but I recognised it from trips to the south coast.

From the Oddie hide, I had a frustrating time. A wader was among the rocks on the far shore, it got me excited, I only had the briefest of views as it dodged among the rocks. Superficially, dunlin, but the upper-parts were really well marked, it looked a bit stout and had a really white belly/vent. Pec sand sprang straight to mind, I needed to see it head-on. I didn't, it flew off....Bastard! And then... a small falcon flew south behind the bushes and over the dunes. It was either a merlin or hobby, my money would be on the latter. (see below)

Some you win......

I scanned the banks ten times in case it came back, it didn't. This common sand dropped in though.

Common sandpiper
There were still three little gulls on the big pool and a family of yellow wagtails were in front of the Oddie Hide.
One of three little gulls
Yellow Wag
I returned to the patch at three-ish, after hearing Dave Elliot's tales of wader activity. He got me a greenshank flying over the Budge fields. He also had a hobby and a wood sand which I didn't see. Later, a green sandpiper was just to the left of the Budge screen and Micheal Frankis and Joe Dobbinson were patch year-ticks.

So, some quality birding on my day off, well worth not going into work.

140 tree pipit
141 greenshank
142 green sandpiper