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..