Monday, 18 October 2010

Holywell this morning...

Last night my dad and I had a close encounter with an Otter on the Tyne, but that's another story, today ...

My first visit back to Holywell in a long time. Picked my Grandad up at 10:00 and we headed down to the pond. It was a cool overcast morning, at first the pond looked empty, but on closer inspection its was teeming with wildfowl, particularly in the NW corner. 13 Gadwall, 1 Female Shoveler, 44 Teal, 4 Wigeon, 8 Mallard and 1 Grey Heron were all feeding along the reeds, keeping out of the wind.

67 Greylag, the Mute Swan family, 1 Male Pochard, 4 Coot, 4 Moorhen, 5 Tufted accompanied by 1 Female Scaup, and a single Cormorant were also present on the pond. 6 adult Whoopers had been seen early in the morning, so I wasn't surprised to see 6 Whooper Swans approaching the pond from the East, I was surprised to find that 4 of the birds were 1st winters, the other 2 adults, so I presume this must have been another 6 Whoopers, as usual they didn't stop long, due to the aggressive behaviour of the resident Mute Swans, a great shame.

The mobbing calls of 2 Carrion Crows alerted me to the presence of a immature Female Sparrowhawk over the North wood. Large numbers of Woodpigeon, joined by 2 Stock Dove were also present in the North wood. The feeding station was reasonably busy with 8+ Greenfinch flitting between the ground, feeders and the pond edge to drink, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, 1 cock Pheasant, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird and a lone Robin.

As we left the gulls began to build up predominantly Black Headed Gulls with Herring Gull and Great Black Backed Gull. 8 Skylark were also heard, then seen flying West over the pond, presumably coming off the coast.

Monday, 11 October 2010


Back at Uni now, settled into a nice little 2 bed cottage in Sockbridge, on the River Eamont. Although I have been back in Whitley Bay for a couple of days. Yesterday was the main aim of my return, the buzz started to build on Friday, easterlies, Saturday I had to be Eastside. Ringing early Sunday at Newton produced good numbers of the more common species, with Pied Fly and 2 Stonechat being the morning highlights.

Arriving home at 13:00 I rammed some breakfast down and headed to St Mary's, hoping to see the Red-flanked Bluetail. Bumped in Brian on the way along, he had seen it in the morning, as we spoke I could see a crowd building in the are the bird was reported. Large numbers of Goldcrest were feeding at close quarters, putting a smile on my face with there inquisitive antics. The Bluetail was showing brilliantly on the fence post near the screen to the wetland, moving between tree's fencepost and the ground, a lifer :)

SP was at the front of the small crowd gathered around the bird, when I made my way to the front we got chatting, he informed me of a Dusky Warbler and a Shorelark down at Tynemouth, so we made our way. We headed straight for the Shorelark at Knott's flats, on arrival, Tom and Tim were busy photographing the bird which was feeding on a small grass verge in front of the flats, down to 2-3 metres ! After 15 minutes or so I headed for the priory and its Dusky Warbler.

Tacking could be heard on approach, putting the bins up to find the Dusky feeding in full view for a second or two be skulking back into the vegetation, tacking as it went.

A brilliant day.