Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Tea Ticks

Sunday was one of those nice cool spring mornings, met up with Stewart at Warkworth. 
However, His arrival into the car park was one of crunching gravel and skidding tyres.. he had been tracking a male Marsh Harrier from somewhere just south of Alnmouth, I managed to get on the bird and we watched it for a few seconds as it disappeared south over Coquet Estuary.

We exchanged our proper good mornings and headed off towards the north side. Old Water Pools, dunes and the main track to the North Pier and back through the dunes. 

It turned out a really good morning for catching up with early common migrants, male Blackcap in the Picnic Site scrub, four fabulous Black Tailed Godwits flew up towards the Old Water as we headed to the estuary, a couple of Sandwich Terns were sat out on the sand bank opposite Amble Harbour and 6+ Sand Martins were buzzing around the pier.

As well as the arrivals noted, two Twite were still 'wintering' on the saltmarsh, tame and easily photographed feeding on the high tide debris..




Twite
  




Sandwich Terns

We left Warkworth quite satisfied with a nice collection of migrants and pulled up on the track by Birling poured some tea and just stood around a bit. The thing is, at this time of year even just standing outside can be good, a few small flocks of Pink Footed Geese drifted north, a Greenshank flew overhead calling, the fields around the Birling area and the Golf Course have quite a few shallow pools at the moment and this bird may have lifted from one of those. Chiff Chaff and Goldcrest were obviously moving, following the ditch that runs from the sea and inland along the track hedgerow, it seemed that way anyway, perhaps not.. 




Friday, 8 April 2016

March-April

Computer problems stopping posts at the moment, not that I'm prolific at the best of times, new PC on its way so there could be no more posts after this knowing my IT nous.

So.. March has given way to April, summer birds are starting to pass through and arrive in small numbers, it never seems to be very dramatic in north Northumberland just a slow and gradual process. Keeps you looking hard at the patch or wherever you find yourself.
I got to thinking about one early spring species, Chiff Chaff, so much excitement for a week or so and then they just tend to get forgotten about for thew rest of the year, reports here and there of the earliest singing birds and then they are pushed aside by its sweeter more melodic stable mate the Willow Warbler, Sand Martin and coastal Wheatears as spring gathers pace.

A wander down the River Coquet at Warkworth on one of the last days of March we caught up with and enjoyed a singing Chiff Chaff, this one was easy to watch in the leafless branches.


Goldcrest also singing but difficult to photograph

A week or so later, first Sunday or April I didn't make it out first thing but met up with Stewart at Howick and decided to check out part of his patch for a change, Craster. 
Late in the morning so kicking about a bit, feeling like we were just having an hour or so, we parked up and wandered down to the harbour, it was a nice enough morning.

Just as we rounded the nearest moored up fishing boat Stewart shouted a Black Redstart, fabulous..

Its the time of year for these birds to turn up but they aren't common and always nice to see. I went mad a bit with photographs.



 



 
  





Other species were feeding in the small harbour area. Robin, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Jackdaw, Rook, Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper.

Loved this Rook, drinking fresh water from a clifftop puddle

Turnstone

Purple Sandpiper
Anyway, back on my patch, I've just had my first Wheatear,,,