Monday, 28 December 2015

Twite Christmas

Not much to say really, it all seems slow, a year grinding to a quiet, sluggish, mild and wet end. A walk out with Stewart this morning, brief scans of the Estuary and a wander around the Marina produced only a few commoner residents, highlight for me were the flocks of Lapwing circling and passing overhead. The horizontal winter sunlight was good and lit the birds up a treat.

From Warkworth Picnic Site Car Park we walked down the track to the north side of the Estuary flanking the Old Water, scanning reed bed edges and pools. The patch was heavily laden with festive dog walkers striding or lumbering depending no doubt on the quantity of turkey that had been consumed.

We managed to wander to the estuary with few birds to note, Reed Bunting, three pairs of Stonechat, on loose territories I'd say and Chaffinch
When we had just started to head back our attention was taken with Rock Pipit calls and a couple of birds flushing and then heading back to ground cover, as we studied these birds a lovely flock of Twite dropped onto the salt marsh in front of us, 19 or so birds. We had some really nice views of them sat out on dead wood and also running and feeding on the ground. Photographs aren't the best but the views were excellent.

There were always Twite wintering in this area historically but in recent years they have been scarce, nice little Christmas surprise.

Winter Reed Bunting

Merry Christmas....

Monday, 14 December 2015

RAW... probably

A nice icy start, very slippy roads as I drove down to Warkworth to meet Stewart. We started at Warkworth Picnic site and just walked down the hill to the Old Water Pools. Very quiet, no sign of last weeks Kingfisher, the pool had a thin film of ice so no doubt this bird was elsewhere on the estuary where a more brackish pool would be ice free.

So a quiet walk, Stonechat pair, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, odd finches feeding on Sea Buckthorn and Rose hips, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

A few small flocks of Pink Footed Geese flew over heading south. The river and estuary seemed quiet too, Whooper Swans were still in fields at the bottom of Beal Bank.

By the time we got to Amble Harbour the sun was a bit stronger and the light was nice.. we finished the morning with a wander up the River Coquet from the Warkworth Road bridge returning past Warkworth Castle, riverside Ewe trees were full of berries and Redwing, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush were feeding on them, a single male Black cap was also seen.

Harbour Gulls

Goosander, River Coquet 
Distant but Reflective Grey Heron
Later in the day a Barn Owl was hunting fields at Low Buston and two Redpoll were feeding on roadside seed heads.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Gloves and Glaucous

A cold morning this morning, gloves essential, mine were left at home. Never mind after an hour or so it was bright and the wind dropped and we had a pleasant wander around the Coquet Estuary, Amble Harbour and Warkworth Picnic Site and the Old Water.

As we scanned the large Gulls on the sand bar just out from the car park on the braid we noticed a 1st winter Glaucous Gull gliding in from the Harbour area and landing with a group of Great Black Backed Gulls. An excellent patch year tick, in december. 142

Glaucous Gull
The Harbour was pleasant but quiet. Common birds to photograph couldn't be resisted after a cup of tea in the car..

After checking the river and the Whooper Swan flock opposite, heading back to Warkworth we has a walk around the Picnic Site and the track leading down to the beach and the Old Water Pools.
We were remarking how quiet it was when a fabulous flock of about 15 Long Tailed Tits passed through, we were keen to observe as these flocks can sometimes hold interesting species..

Long Tailed Tit flock
 Now then, this often happens, we were wandering past the small pool on the opposite side of the main track from the Old Water Pools, musing about Kingfisher using these pools in wintertime. A Kingfisher flew out low from a small outlet stream and into the reedbed on this pond.
We lingered and got some great views of this superb bird, photographs however were a little trickier..


Thursday, 19 November 2015


I've been moving house and experiencing frustrations with ISP but I'm eventually sorted. I will get to posting some images of the new area soon, hopefully.. if it stops raining

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sprint Finish

A week of excitement really, a Red Footed Falcon was discovered by birders photographing Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel as the Tour of Britain flashed through Northumberland, past Cresswell Pond in fact.

The new Whats App service has me all informed and up for seeing birds. I left Alnwick as soon as I heard of this bird but was informed en route that it had flown off. Its an awful disappointment when this happens, I tend to sulk and curse. Thats what I did, on the bench overlooking The Coquet Estuary. The residents kept me company and cheered me up

Little Egret

Common Gull
The next day came and a repeat of the news, late afternoon the bird was reported 'showing well', off I charged..suitably charged. I had my camera tonight.

When I arrived the Red Footed Falcon was indeed showing well, I took some hurried snaps before it flew north, not sure if its been seen again.

Monday, 31 August 2015

August Almost

I left the house just after 05:30 this morning, collected Stewart at home and headed to Charlton Mires. There is a small but deliberate pond in fields north west of the main Alnwick/Seahouses junction off the A1.

I have permission to access the fields here and we decided to check this out this morning.
An excellent half an hour or so; Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 14 Ruff, Lapwing, Teal Grey Wagtail and over 40 Pied Wagtails.

After this brief sojourn inland we headed back to the coast, the sanctuary of my patch. A walk down the main track to check bushes and large reed beds around the Old Water Pools.

The early morning sun was warming favorable elevations, bushes and bank sides. Warblers were obvious, good numbers of Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler and Chiff Chaff. Tits, Linnet, and noisy groups of Greenfinch and Goldfinch were also noted. Really good to observe Reed and Sedge Warblers like this.

Various Phyloscopus
A wander back to the Picnic Site, Tea first and some excellent chocolate brownies made by my daughter Sophy. 

Plenty of birds around, definite migration happening with Swallows and House Martins passing through constantly, small groups of Siskin also. It was all brown, yellow leaves ripening berries and brambles. 
A nice Redstart was picked out on the sunny side of a patch of car park bushes.

 Out on the estuary we set our scopes up at absolute low tide, waders were well spread. Two Black Tailed Godwit were of interest.

A lovely warm and golden morning   

Stonechat and Whinchat from earlier in the week

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Carnivore Carnival

A little lap of the Picnic site at lunchtime today, Whinchat, Blackcap,Whitethroat, typical for this time of year.

I came across this young Stoat though. Climbing and running through the dead tree in the Old Water Pools by the large reed bed. I watched it for ages until it came closer and didn't seem to be hunting particularly just running, and acrobatically jumping and somersaulting, very entertaining, no action shots though, just these portraits...

Monday, 24 August 2015

After Eight

A bit of a late start for a Sunday. Arrived at Warkworth Picnic Site car park after eight and Stewart was already half way down a brew. I joined him and then we headed off to the Old Water and Dunes suitably refreshed.

A new bird for the year this morning, Whinchat, typically on tall plants in one of the the dune clearings.

Plenty of birds about but not perhaps the migrants we were expecting, a lone Wheatear was on the north shore of the Estuary.

Anyway, despite more than a rumor of a Bittern in the Old Water reed bed yesterday this is all about the Whinchat, good to see and the year list is 128, notwithstanding armchair errors...

a few pics..

Grey Heron

Little Egret



Thursday, 20 August 2015

An evening Shank

Birds on the coast today, I was receiving news via the excellent 'whats app' service all day as I worked on.. So, after work I opted for a stroll through the dunes at Warkworth, this, as those that know the area know, did indeed turn into a shank...

Quiet really, Stonechat, Whitethroat and Chiff Chaff the only birds skulking in the scattered bushes. 

The tide was coming in and Waders were gathering on the edge of the saltmarsh areas. Redshank, Dunlin, Curlew, Lapwing, Ringed Plover all jostling for the most secure spots.

Returning back along the track and heading back to the car park I stopped to scan the Old Water Pools one last time, a few fresh young Redshank were feeding away and a single Greenshank was in the small pool closest to the main track... a few snaps I thought, low light but why not...

Greenshank and Redshank

a quiet but pleasant evening wander

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Silent Summer

Its all gone very quiet, plenty of birds but the air has gone cool and the birds are roving in loose groups, young birds and adults, you can taste the autumn in the air, that lovely excitement a season change brings. 
Summer to autumn always has, for me, a melancholic feel which adds to the enjoyment and expectation when out for a wander on the patch, I love it.
Anyway, a few pictures of what has been about, Warblers, among the summer visitors are always worth watching as they move through patches of open bushes and tall vegetation.


Residents that will be staying long after the summer visitors have left are always worth a look, even the odd butterfly..

Out on the Estuary, wader numbers are continuing to increase, the first Golden Plover have turned up, the first of hundreds that will winter on the Coquet Estuary.