Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fenham Flats 21st August

Fenham Flats 21st August
Today was my monthly WeBS count, the weather was warm and sunny but there was a blustery wind, not ideal for counting. However it did get off to a good start with a Greenshank in front of Elwick Hide and it continued at a pace with next a group of 19 Ruff, 3 of which were larger males and one had the remnants of his ruff. Moving further on a stunning brick red Knot was added to the list followed soon by 2 flocks of Whimbrel totalling 22 birds, breeding plumaged Grey Plover numbering 96 birds added a touch of class which was followed by 170 Bar-tailed Godwits some still in breeding plumage. On reaching Guile Point I began counting Oystercatchers and soon ran out of fingers when the number reached 699, other waders, ducks and gulls were added to the list on what turned out to be a much better day than I had expected. On the return journey I noticed something reddish/brown about 50 yards in front of me and heading in my direction, it turned out to be a Fox feeding on scraps along the high tideline, so I sank down into the long grass and waited, sure enough about 5 minutes latter it had come within 4 metres of me and only then realised I was there, at which point it shot off like Usain Bolt in the opposite direction, a fitting end to a super day.    

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Hirundines !

Today, Saturday 6th August, a very warm sunny day, I lay on my back on a patch of grass at Yearle to try and count the many Hirundines flying high! There were at least 60plus House Martins apparently randomly twisting and swirling in flight at about 200 feet - sometimes they all gathered and flew southerly only to return flying in the opposite direction...
I liked to think they were feeding on flying insects, perhaps fattening up for their forthcoming migration (does such behaviour herald their departure?) but maybe they were just enjoying the sunshine and communal chatter! (A few Swallows added to this fascinating spectacle).

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Some High Spots for Waders

Today, 4th August                                                                                                                                     Cresswell Pond: 9 Little Egrets, 10 Med Gulls, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Adult & 2 juvenile Avocets, 3 Little Stints, 1 Knot (in summer plumage),100 Golden Plovers, 200 Dunlin, 2 Reeves, juvenile Water Rail, 100 Lapwings, 50 Redshank, 5 Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper.
Also a Barn Owl, hunting.
Chevington: 2 pairs Stonechats, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroats...

Yesterday, 3rd August-
Newton Pool Scrape:  13 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Dunlin, 6 Wigeon.

Previous day, 2nd August -
Budle Bay (high tide): Red-breasted Merganser with 7 ducklings in convoy, 2 Little Egrets.
Stag Rocks, Bamburgh: 54 Knot, 30 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 24 Eiders afloat, 5 Sandwich Terns flying south.
Monk's House Pool: 7 Redshank.  


Return passage of waders seems to have started and there is few better places to check it out than the flash at Low Newton. One of the first birds we came across on arriving there was a lovely clean looking juvenile Little Stint showing well with summer plumaged Dunlin. Larger waders in slightly deeper water included Ruff and 11 Black-tailed Godwits in vastly differing plumages. Next our attention was focused on the call of a Greenshank, it was soon located along with a second bird, as we watched 2 more Greenshanks flew overhead and headed off towards the pools, our wader watch was completed with the addition of 1 Common Sandpiper,1 Green Sandpiper plus several Ringed Plover and Redshank. It wasn't all about waders, a single Yellow Wagtail hunted for insects around the water's edge and a pair of Stonechat's called noisily from the fence line. A walk out to the point proved unproductive but we did hear later that a Wood Sandpiper had been seen at the roadside flash at Charlton Mires.