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PC Wanderings



birding at Prestwick Carr and beyond



Updated: 2017-11-16T15:44:58.379+00:00

 



Lifer with timescale for LE

2017-03-20T21:45:36.634+00:00

Working away Whats app dinged (12.03) and I was aghast seeing ADMc had Black throated Thrush on my patch. He got dogs abuse as I left the house noting bird headed toward golf course. Horse paddocks are good for feeding thrushes but it's blowing a hoolie so only the paddock at Mill Farm would be likely. I parked up and as I approached the field a grey bird, thrush like flew, across the field into the hedge line (12.40) No white wing flashes and too delicate for a Fieldfare my suspicions were aroused. I took two shots but couldn't see the bird on my review screen. Note for future twitches. This bird is almost invisible in when perched in trees.
The bird then dropped to the ground and started feeding. Obviously grey and dark to the front with white underbelly Collins was checked and putative report put out (12.49) along with back up pictures. Following last years debacle with Dotterel I was very cautious about giving a positive ID. It seemed to take an age for somebody to arrive and in that time I had the bird all to myself feeding. Not as active of bouncy as a Fieldfare, much more deliberate and on three occasions fly catching with a somewhat uncoordinated two footed jump. No scope so couldn't really add much on plumage.
Eventually PS arrived and the ID was confirmed Whats app, Birdguides & Twitter (13.24). Joined by GM, HG and ACwl we watched the for some minutes before it flew up into the hedgerow out of sight (13.40). Others then started arriving only to be informed the bird was not showing. When I left (14.10) there must have been twenty or more gathered with at least ten en route up the road. Gladly the bird showed again (14.27) giving views to the many before disappearing onto the golf course (14.32). So sorry for the many that turned up afterwards.
198 on the Prestwick Carr all time list 162 for me, 296 county list, 80 year list and 4th county record.



Landfill

2017-02-26T12:38:36.210+00:00

As developers proceed with the trashing of the green belt around every town and village in Northumberland I dug this up from my late fathers records when he worked for JTBell (now Bellway). It is a 1956 OS marked up in the early 1960's showing the limits of the green belt and the first tracts of land to be released forming what is now Newbiggin Hall, Kenton and Kingston Park.
Just look at it now
Having made a living from this stuff for many years I suppose I shouldn't complain but the failure by council planners to redevelop smaller infill brownfield sites with affordable homes while cow towing to the developer ideal of middle to upper class dwellings expanding into the countryside is a disgrace.



Wigeon

2017-01-29T19:40:57.228+00:00

 An iced Big Waters and bright sunshine got the Wigeon into camera shot



Tricky these landings on ice



Loony toons

2017-01-21T20:30:11.303+00:00

 I almost didn't bother going for the Pacific Diver or Loon as we should call it as all reports were of dot in the distance type but when the bird moved onto Ladyburn Lake at Druridge Bay CP I reckoned better views would be had and I wasn't disappointed. In fact the bird was ridiculously close.
Those non birders may be having problems finding it in the guidebooks. It (Gavia pacifica) was fairly recently split from Black throated (Gavia arctica) and indeed this bird originally found by TL at Blyth and was ID'd as Black throated till AC called Pacific when better views were finally obtained at East Chevington. The deciding feature in this first winter is the lack of a white patch at waterline toward the flanks and if an adult it would have a distinctive chin strap.
It was a nice neat medium size bird with a distinctive clean diving style but on this occasion rarely staying underwater for significant length of time generally following a circular pattern around the edge of the west end of the lake unperturbed by dogs or the gathered throng.
A splendid addition to the life list



One week down

2017-01-07T19:32:18.896+00:00

and 600 days till I retire. I thought the year had started slowly but there's 60 ssp on the PC 2017 list including three rarities so not a bad start

 ok not the greatest photo but Little Egret from your back window is not to be sneeezed at



Out of the shadows

2017-01-02T11:27:33.300+00:00

Back after six months of twittering. 2016 saw 112 ssp for me on the Carr with addition of Little Egret to the list an overwintering Great Grey Shrike and the late addition of White fronted Geese on 28:12. This post will remain photoless as there have been at least three Short-eared Owls present since 27:11 but never hunting in daylight. Crepuscular MY ARSEHere is the sightings list date / time appeared / number seen27:11      16.02       328:11      16.02       129:11      16.04       1        16.20     230:11      16.20       1        16.24     201:12      16.14       302:12       wet03:12      15.00      1 perched   hunting   16.15    304:12      15.57      105:12      16.20      106:12      16.18      1         16.24     207:12      16.20      108:12      16.09      1         16.20     209:12      16.16      110:12      16.03      1         16.09     211:12      16.17      212:12      16.09      213:12      16.06      114:12      16.05      115:12      no show16:12      16.17      117:12      16.07      218:12      16.16      1         16.18    219:12      16.06      1         16.10    2       16.14    320:12      16.15      121:12      16.15      2         16.22    222:12      15.30      2         16.15    323:12       wet24:12      16.15      125:12      windy26:12      hols27:12      14.30      2 perched but not hunting till 16.0028:12      no show29:12      16.30      3 new roost site so possibly missed them yesterday30:12      16.25      231:12      16.15      201:01      16.18      1       16.20     3Given the regularity of three seen as they get lost in the darkness the possibility of more but why they only feed in the dark is a puzzle. Perhaps they haven't read the guides.[...]



Tree toppers

2016-06-12T15:37:52.624+01:00

Young Tree Sparrows in my garden this morning being fed by the pair that nested in a box normally used by Blue Tits although last year it contained Bees. Three young at least all a bit soggy due to the weather but being well tended by the parents.
Interestingly Blue and Great Tits have been rare in the garden over the last two weeks returning with young over the last couple of days indicating breeding in the locality but not particularly close. The garden list this year isn't bad with two of three nest each for Starling and Blackbird successful with the Blackbirds still going strong but no second attempts by the Starlings. Two Jackdaw nests and five or more House Sparrows all now fledged and young Robin seen in garden but couldn't confirm the nest site. 



Yaffle on wood

2016-05-30T18:31:49.096+01:00

I finally caught up with the Green Woodpecker that's been yaffling since February. Unfortunately as it is still calling I guess it hasn't found a mate
Great Tit feeding it's young at nest in this post for last three years. This species seems to have a preference for vertical entry tubes
 and a couple of twittered images from Druridge
A number of male Ruff in full plumage still present.



Hare today

2016-05-30T18:33:13.462+01:00

Yes still here. Well trained hares on my patch
but gone in a bound



Lap dance

2016-04-28T19:45:45.208+01:00

Male Lapwing at Druridge today with an impressive crest
Doing lots of scraping to attract a mate
Of course it doesn't matter how big your crest is or how much you scrape the female of the species can remain totally indifferent.
Just too close to the peepers in the Budge screen darling
Or maybe it was my comb over blowing in the wind



Reeling it

2016-04-24T09:11:10.400+01:00

Fortunate to find a newly arrived Grasshopper Warbler giving it what for
Not usual on my patch for them to sing from a bush
But early in the season their enthusiasm can get the better of them
Little cracker



Currently showing well

2016-04-17T16:42:27.402+01:00







Dwitcher

2016-04-09T19:39:29.334+01:00

There I was at Cresswell standing near the causeway minding my own business when the long staying bill turned up
Nice............
Did I read somewhere it had been displaying to a Redshank
Maybe its a Dohwitcher



Out west

2016-04-05T16:22:53.574+01:00

I spent the weekend trudging the patch looking for Wheatear and Willow Warbler without success. Still large flocks of Fieldfare 250+ and Golden Plover 500+ with a few Chiffchaff singing / calling. In desperation I headed to the very west extreme and found two Sand Martin returned to the Ponteland colony and a bonus of Dipper on the Pont which along with a Feral Pigeon brought the PC2016 list to 89.
May as well be shooting in black and white given the photo results.



Old man

2016-04-02T10:59:32.318+01:00

After a week of not seeing a Short-eared Owl I found this one perched on Thursday evening. Very pale head colour probably indicates older male coming into breeding plumage. It did a wing stretch and the flame colouring was spectacular but I missed the shot and apologise for the amount of noise on the picture taken as light was fading. Watched the bird for 3/4 of an hour until just before eight when low and behold two others appeared out of the grass. All three spiraled up to about 100ft then headed off north to hunt.



Blyth Red Throated Diver

2016-03-28T16:44:47.874+01:00

Nice to see in the harbour but still in winter garb
Typical pose for RTD
Thinking about it
and back off out to sea



Wheatears are late

2016-03-27T11:20:38.933+01:00

As an early report of Common Tern came in from Hebburn I sat down and plotted some graphs from data extracted from Birds in Northumbria for return dates of summer visitors over the last 20 years (as if I had nothing else better to do) First Sand Martin on 25th is a week late for their mode of 19th
 First Swallow yesterday 26th a keen individual couple of days early?
and where are the tardy Wheatears. Already a week late but in Durham so likely ahead of the abnormal 2013 performance and of course this is just gathered from social media. Some soul will be sitting on  a record from Cheviot no doubt.
Interesting enough though I see no signs of the tendency to arrive earlier that I had anticipated.



Waiting

2016-03-23T09:44:59.870+00:00

For real migrants that is. The Curlew flock has peaked over 50 and so nice to hear their calls along with the Skylark song. Six Oystercatchers made enough noise for twenty as they chased yesterday afternoon and a three Greylag Geese added to the cacophony. The Golden Plovers have departed for higher ground as may have the Short eared Owls but a scattering of Lapwings remain, hopefully to breed. Most birds moving as pairs with the Willow Tits excavating a new nest and one other bird visiting the garden.




Digging it

2016-03-13T20:23:08.409+00:00

Having sorted the first successful moth trapping of March with appropriately March Moth and Early Moth caught, I headed out into pleasant sunshine on Saturday morning with Skylarks, Song Thrush and Reed Bunting singing. Both Robin and Dunnock were abundant a Robin at my house on Friday evening having sung well after dark only stopping around 9.45pm 
A good count was made with Gulls noticeable by their absence. A duck out of water patrolled the bumpy road but late in the day a check on Banks Pond brought No 82 on the PC 2016 list with a pair of Shoveller
I spent a good five minutes listening to this bird singing its wonderful delicate whistful song with its back to me and then it turned around to reveal it was a female. I didn't know female Bullfinches sang but apparently they do.
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Orange

2016-03-06T16:00:04.362+00:00


Feeders on the Carr and in my garden attracting large numbers of birds as natural sources dwindle. Robin may be turning just a bit orangey but still got the attitude
Up the bridleway plenty of high vis as works on maintaining the culvert continue. Seems a bit overkill but no doubt the floods have taken their toll
Overflying Cormorants are becoming more frequent on patch with three already this year and number four decided to drop in for a dip at Banks Pond.





Grin

2016-02-28T09:42:36.404+00:00

A splendid sunny Saturday morning saw Skylarks, Chaffinch and an early Reed Bunting singing. The Curlews are back though not very vocal yet but two Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed in the wood and the Green Woodpecker yaffled again although moved quite widely in the wood then over to the garden centres.
Sitting on a fence post preening was a Peregrine which took to the air after a while and soared over toward the Airport. Number 81 on the PC2016 list and one of three I've seen in the last week at various locations in the county so hopefully signs of a return to numbers following years of persecution.
Up the bridle track they're carrying out maintenance on the brick culvert next to the sentry box and further on two Treecreepers were feeding on opposite sides of the track but given away by constant contact calls.



Great Start

2016-02-21T15:03:34.703+00:00

2016 has rolled up a healthy 80 species on Prestwick Carr to date without any summer migrants so I would expect to roll through the hundred mark mid summer. This week saw a much sought after Tawny Owl make it easy for me by perching on the line outside my house looking to make a meal of the Sparrows and Starlings roosting in the conifer trees no doubt. Earlier in the week the first Curlew returned and a visit to the wood yesterday found Woodcock and Siskin but no Crossbill or Squirrels unfortunately.
If the wet conditions remain I dream of passage waders flooding in to join the 300+ Golden Plover and 50-100 or so Lapwing (subject to tide conditions) on the horse fields.



All you need is stubble

2016-02-12T19:12:23.137+00:00

On Sunday driving out of Knowesgate past the shoe tree a flash of orangey back caught my eye in the hedgerow. I slammed on the brakes much to my mothers disapproval and reversed where I got a view of five to ten Brambling before they cut the corner off the field and disappeared from view. This species rarer than hens teeth  this winter I took the first opportunity to return to the spot parking in a gate which opened into a stubble field. Immediately flocks of birds lifted ff the ground before settling back. Two or three Skylarks were singing and then on the passage of a Land Rover up the road a throng of birds emerged from the grass. I counted 21 Skylark and hundreds of finches which perched high up in the trees next to the road. Closer inspection revealed them to be Brambling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Redpoll with other large flocks of Starlings, Meadow Pipits and Corvids also present. Just as I got settled to watch the throng was flushed by a Sparrowhawk who hunted in the most inept fashion fluttering with legs dangling as if confused by the amount of prey darting around him. The Brambling fortunately gathered atop one particular tree where I counted at least thirty.
If only more stubble was left over winter I'm sure many endangered species like Yellowhammer would stage a major recovery.



Winter kit

2016-02-09T19:37:18.832+00:00

Checked Blyth south harbour for snobs yesterday but only found a flock of large gulls battling with Cormorant and Eider for fish guts being thrown off a boat. Hoping there was an Iceland in among them I check closely but only on bird stood out.
A winter plumage Kittiwake was the only small gull in the flock and seemed quite adept at choosing good moments to fly through the squabbling gulls to pluck its food from the water.
Then the flock lifted and the reason was soon apparent



It's what roads are for

2016-02-03T19:37:28.461+00:00

Breaking into your lunch box