Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Hawk Owl!

Prior to Christmas,I answered the phone to an excited golfing friend of my husband whose house overlooks the Pier Field at Berwick  telling me that he was looking at a Hawk Owl from his window!After some persuasion and much denial on his part,including referral to the distribution map in his Collins Bird Book, he reluctantly agreed with me that said owl was more probably a Short Eared Owl.!
In fact it appears that these are now regular sights on the  Magdalene Fields and having received two stunning photos of two  of the Owls taken there on Christmas Day by two of our NNBC members, (see above) I headed off with another member on Tuesday  to investigate.On opening the car door one of the Owls was seen immediately disappearing over the cliff edge and during our short circuit of the Golf Course the Owl was seen throughout,
Definitely worth a visit there at the moment ,combined with a walk along Berwick pier and the Little Beach!

Getting to the Point-

After a desperately miserable ,wet ,housebound Boxing Day,there was no option but to head out on the Sunday which promised to be fine!
So by 10 am I was headed to Ross and  Gyle Point,being gloriously the only person on the beach-something to be treasured!
Little was obvious on the shore of the receding tide,or out to sea ,and indeed I saw very little apart from a chevron of 5 Shelduck flying overhead shortly followed by a similar formation of 5 Cormorant .On reaching Gyle Point  I disturbed a small flock of Brents, which flew North while numerous Curlew,Eider  and Oyster Catchers were also evident. The highlight however was 5 pairs of Red Breasted Merganser in extremely flirtacious  mood and whose antics kept me entertained for some time!Pairs of Great Black Backed Gulls were also cosying up to each other!
Heading round the point ,I wished I had brought along my scope as there was a lot of activity to the North .
With my target species of the day (Snow Bunting,Short Eared Owl and Hen Harrier) being elusive,I headed back to Ross by which time it was extremely warm ,and correspondingly had brought out large crowds making the most of a glorious day.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

A quiet Christmas

A quiet Christmas
with no sign of the white stuff it has been very quiet for winter birds, however the locals seem to be pairing up already, Dippers are chasing one another up and down the river,the Song Thrushes are singing and the Great Tit's are beginning to have a few tentative "teacher,teacher" calls. The ponds have been very high for the last week and are tricky to get right around, but the numbers of Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Teal seem to be building. As a post Christmas cobweb blower we took the dog to Holy Island today but it was very quiet, our only sighting of note being 3 Snow Buntings on the north shore, so here's wishing everyone a happy and wildlife filled New Year.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Long-eared Owls

A bonus of going to this year's NNBC Christmas Dinner was a superb sighting en route of a Long-eared Owl sitting in the roadside hedgerow between Yearle and Wooler. There it sat, about a metre away from the car, orange eyes glowing and 'ears' pricked up.( really just tufts of feathers- nowt to do wi' hearing!) What a beautiful bird, what a treat!
           The first LEO I ever saw in the County, indeed the first 'close' view I ever had of one was in 2004....... driving home along the very same little country road in early January, likewise sitting in the hedgerow. I thought that sighting was a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity............ but again in December 2011, in the same place, lo and behold, there were TWO Long-eared Owls in the hedge! I suspect that there may be a daytime winter roost tucked away somewhere in the vicinity, though all four birds seen alongside this stretch of road in the hours of darkness have of course been wide awake.