Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Whooper swans

While driving to Berwick this lunchtime I spotted ten whoopers in the field to the right, just before Doddington bridge.There were 7 adults and 3 juveniles enjoying the soggy conditions (I think!)

Egrets I've had a few

Colds,coughs and sneezes,nothing was going to stop us checking out a second for Northumberland in the form of a Cattle Egret.The rain had stopped and the wind was only probably classed as stiff and there plodging around a wet field on Holy Island was the little white beauty,it showed well off and on for about 20 minutes then wandered off out of sight ,time to head back to our sickbeds and just in time to see a Barn Owl hunting over the dunes.
Ian and Keith 

Friday, 25 January 2013

A Walk on the White Side

It did seem such a good idea at the time when Jean Bennett and I set off yesterday late afternoon with scope,bins,hot chocolate ,torches and loads of layers to Holburn Moss Pond.The intention was to see what ducks were on the pond then wait until dark to see if any Pink Footed Geese came in to roost.
It should have dawned on us after days of snow and ice,but it didn't-the pond was totally frozen!Not a duck in sight-in fact nothing in sight at all!The tally for the evening's expedition apart from the pleasure and freedom of being in a white wilderness in the early evening,was a couple of pheasant,2  Carrion Crows and a lone Yellow Hammer.
The hot chocolate and biscuits were excellent though!

Local Patch Birding 24th January

A quick foray out the front door with the dog brought views of 2 Peregrine as they sparred for possession of the local pylons.
In the afternoon I decided to checked Branton Ponds but the trudge through the deep snow was worth it. A Water Rail was observed at a wet flush caused by a field drain creating green & soft ground for it to feed, it had been in the same area two days earlier. While enjoying the moment, my periphery vision made me glance side ways to where a Barn Owl was hunting the reed beds, this at 2pm. But I didnt stay long since disturbance of birds feeding in this weather can be disastrous. Instead I continued to the East pond where in open water created by the inflow, a Kingfisher was heard. With my ears now alerted, a small bird calling behind made me turn to find a Willow Tit feeding, the views couldn't be improved. Further on wonderfully colourful male Bullfinch fed and 15 Snipe were flushed by some unseen predator. Finally as I left the ponds a Brambling in the hedge finished the walk off just nicely.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tree sparrows

Does anyone know where all the tree sparrows have come from this winter?
We have never had tree sparrows come to our bird table,until this winter. To date our count is seven of these lovely little birds.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snowy Branton 22nd January

This weather seems to be never ending,the birds in our garden are ok for the moment but feed supplies are running low.We are geting large numbers of both Tree Sparrow and House Sparrow,the food is also attracting up to 4 Bramblings and the Great Spotted Woodpecker is certainly going through the fat balls.There is very little on the ponds but Keith managed to see a Water Rail out on the snow near a wet muddy area.
Ian and Keith 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Deep and crisp and even

A walk around a very snowy Branton Ponds started well when 2 Kestrels were observed mobbing a Stoat which was carrying a Vole; the question is whose meal was it?
Further on some calling in the reeds alerted us to 4 Stonechats, a very unusual sight at Branton at this time of year. A small open patch of water contained a mixed flock of 30 Teal and Wigeon plus 3 stunning male Goldeneye and 1 female. On reaching the pond inflow a small area of ice free water yielded up a Kingfisher diving for his supper. Further birds added included Lesser Redpoll and a number of Coot and Moorhens,which just goes to show that no matter what the weather is like nature will find a way to survive.
Ian and Keith

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snowbound in Branton

Apart from brief forays out with the dog birding today was spent in the comfort and warmth of the house.The monotony of looking at endless miles of white was broken by a constant stream of birds to the feeders in the garden,various members of the Tit family and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the nuts whilst seed on the ground attracted Chaffinches, Tree Sparrows, House Sparrows, Bramblings and a couple of Reed Buntings, a sure sign of bad weather as we only get this species when food is in short supply around the ponds. Lets hope all of these birds are around next weekend for the RSPB garden birdwatch.
Ian and Keith

Monday, 14 January 2013

A Walk round the Walls of Berwick

Eighty-six Goldeneye (predominantly male birds) yesterday in two rafts just east of Berwick's Old Bridge, with four Long-tailed Ducks (including one superb drake) and a lone Eider completing the assembly. Further round, the estuary was rather quiet with little more than a gaggle of Mallards, a couple of Cormorants and a male Red-breasted Merganser trying their luck as the tide filled the basin. The Little Beach to the north of the Pier was deserted- no waders, no dog-walkers- though a few Oystercatchers and Redshanks were still enjoying the standing water in the sodden hollows of the Golf Course.