Tuesday 24 February 2015

The French Connection

Not much news from the patch as I haven't had time to go there. I did manage an hour on Saturday and added oystercatcher and pintail to the year list.

We've had some details of some ringing recoveries back from the BTO lately. One of which was blackcap, which we ringed on 27th August 2014, as a juvenile male. It was caught by ringers in Landes, France only 29 days later. It had covered a distance of 1251km.

Link to Google map

We had another French recovery, a sand martin, ringed at Lynemouth Sewage Works. It was one of only two we caught this year, we ringed it as  breeding female with brood patch on 20th May 2014 and it was controlled by a ringer at Etang de la Horre, Lentilles on 24th August.

We also had details back of three storm petrels we controlled at Druridge during the summer.

15th August 2012 - Isle Of May
8th July 2014 - Kilnsea Clays
22nd July 2014  - Eyemouth

Link to Google map

Most of the other recoveries predictably came from Hauxley. A great-spotted woodpecker we caught at Druridge on 17th October was caught at the Bamburgh Ringing Station only 12 days later on 29th October.

A great-spotted woodpecker, ringed at Druridge on 17th October and caught at Bamburgh on 29th October.

Sunday 1 February 2015

February has started well

Re-roofing my outhouse has prevented any birding trips to the patch of late, so with the wind too strong to work up the ladder today and frost preventing any mortar-work, I took the opportunity to get down to Druridge.

And...it was bloody freezing! Nice and sunny, but the strong northerly wind, coming straight from the Arctic, made it feel very cold indeed.

The well-stocked feeders that are around the hides attracted a decent crowd of chaffinches, goldfinches and greenfinches, I am predicting a brambling in the next week or so and hopefully some redpolls.

Looking out through the gaps in the Budge screen, straight into the biting northerly, brought tears to my eyes, it was nitheringly cold, so I didn't stop there long. Just enough time to make sure there were no pintail or other interesting ducks. We walked back through the bushes flushing a woodcock as we went.

Choppington's second-best wildlife guide was out and tipped us off that there nowt of note on the big pool, so we just checked it from the bushes - he was right.

So to the dunes, for a look on the sea. It was quite sheltered, hunkered down behind the dune ridge. The northerly has blown some little auks into the North Sea and one of them was the first bird I saw, headed north, quite close in. Several more were noted in the half -hour we spent watching. A good year-bird on the 2105 list.

Also on the sea was a great-crested grebe and a smashing drake velvet scoter with four common scoter.

We retreated to the Drift Cafe for a warming lunch.

63 little auk
64 great-crested grebe
65 velvet scoter
66 red-breasted merganser
67 kittiwake

PWC Score 77