Tuesday, 28 February 2017

No dip trip

Sunday morning had an up the coast feel to it, not so far up that we would not see the Black Scoter again though, no Cheswick or Goswick dipping this week, despite that bird having been seen again. I'm not sure we really had much of a plan, met Stewart and parked my car in the car park at Howick Village Hall, left it unlocked all morning with the keys in the ignition as it happened too, anyway, we headed north.

It was worth a stop at Embleton. Waxwings had been seen at the north east end of the village for a few weeks, up to three birds reported feeding on berries and occasionally flycatching. We had a drive through the housing estate checking gardens for any bushes or shrubs that might still hold berries. We had all but given up when the tell tale silhouette was spotted on top of a bush just as we were leaving the estate. Two Waxwings feeding on a sparsely berried garden bush.

Its a funny thing, it has been a good winter for Waxwings, I had seen a few near Eglingham earlier in the winter and have enjoyed seeing the photographs birders have been taking of them. They do make a good subject, can be approached closely with care and the berry in beak shot is always sought after. This morning though I had a chance to take a few snaps myself, the light wasn't good at all but you have to try, also we were in a residential area and pointing lenses at houses isn't that comfortable but the discomfort only really affected my behavior once a few snaps of the Waxwings had been grabbed.

We left the Waxwings and the residents of Embleton and headed on north.

Next stop, Monks House Pool north of Seahouses, tea was poured, a bit early but I think we were feeling celebratory. Monks House Pool had 13 Shoveler, Teal and Tufted Duck.

Budle Bay next, scanning from the layby;

Bar Tailed Godwit
Large numbers of Brent Goose well out in the bay. Spotted Redshank picked out by Stewart in on of the streams, feeding hard in the moving water.

We thought we would 'call in ' at a little woodland feeding station at Spindlestone. We have popped in here on occasion, its a well stocked feeding station with a good hide. It seemed a little quiet really, no sign of any Red Squirrels, hunting male Sparrowhawk though, Siskin, Treecreeper and Nuthatch seen also.

This hide though is one of two, we knew this but have never managed to find the other, the south hide. We drove around to where we thought it should be, stopping to, flush, as it happened a massive flock of feeding Pink Footed Geese. As we pulled into a layby a gentleman on a quad bike pulled up, he was ignoring us really but I asked if he knew if there as another bird hide in this area. It was Mr Baker-Cresswell, the guy that has developed this little secret reserve and he was really pleased we were interested. We followed him to the south hide and spent the rest of our morning birdwatching, draining the last of our tea and scoffing cheese sandwiches, in this hide. 

Good show of woodland species, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue, Coal and Great Tit, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch and Yellowhammer..

just the job, and my car was still there...