Thursday, 18 December 2014

Black-necked Grebe

In the winter and spring, you regularly get the odd slav, red-necked or even great crested grebe on my patch. They usually occur in Beadnell Bay but sometimes at other locations too.

Black-necked grebe is a different kettle of fish. It's a very rare bird here, I saw one in Beadnell Bay back in 1995 and that is the only one I have ever recorded here, so it's a bit of a 'Patch Mega' to me.

Today I was in Seahouses, so I dropped down to the harbour to check the gulls. There was little of note in the way of gulls, but this cracking black-necked grebe was motoring around harbour.

Shame it is a couple of miles north of my patch boundary, I wonder if I can boot it south !

Sadly not on the patch.....

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A New 'From the House' Tick !

I looked out of the window today to see a large white bird flying amongst the black-headed gulls way off to the north of our place. I grabbed my bins and was a little surprised to see this flying around with the gulls !

It was actually flying south along the shoreline (through the swirling gull flock), I had time to dash and grab my camera for it's flyby.

A assume this will be the bird that was at the Long Nanny a few days ago, it flew in that direction anyway.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

In the Bay.....

It's been a funny few days......

For various reasons I have been struggling to get out on the patch, I've mainly been birding in conjunction with walking our muttley. Beadnell Bay has been well watched but that is about it.

This week there has been 3 long-tailed ducks hanging around by the harbour, also a slav grebe and great northern diver kicking about. A few gulls are still around and I have been checking them whenever I can. I was a bit gripped by a third winter Iceland gull that was seen briefly up at the Nanny on Sunday tho.....

Long-tailed ducks swimming around Beadnell harbour

More herring gull action !

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

More Gulls.....

Another day, another argentatus herring gull......

Also an adult med gull around today, and this morning whilst drinking coffee and scanning the southbound gulls I picked up a snow bunting flying north past the house.

Nocturnal Activity....

With nights drawing in I've decided to try my hand at something different. 

I want to be ready next time the aurora borealis pitches up so I need to learn how to take photographs at night. I've been meaning to look at this for ages, just haven't really had the time.

Anyway the other night I noticed the moon rising outside our place, a quick 5 minutes googling what to do, settings etc and I stepped outside to take my first ever night time photographs.

Moonrise outside our place
Beadnell at night - Harbour Road with Beadnell Headland behind
It was fecking Baltic out there and I wasn't togged up so I only lasted 10 minutes, but long enough to try a few things out. They're not brilliant (I don't really know what I am doing) but they're a start I suppose.

There lots to learn but that shouldn't be a problem, the winter is long and dark !

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

More Northern Herring Gulls

Another day and another local hunt for gulls...... Today I decided to check out Seahouses harbour.

No white wingers but 3 argentatus herring gulls. All looked more 'classic' than yesterdays small bird, being large dark mantled jobs with the adults showing a typical 'reduced black' primary pattern. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Northern Herring Gulls

It's that time of year where I start to see a lot more large gulls passing home.

They tend to fly south in the morning (presumably to feeding areas) then back north in the evening (presumably to roost - on the Farnes). When I have the time I always check them for white wingers. I have been watching them for 3 days now, no white wingers so far this winter (yes it is winter now !) but I've seen at least 3 large dark mantled argentatus herring gulls.

Of interest today this bird was on the rocks near our place. A real eye catcher, very small, slim and long winged compared to the other herring gulls but with a typical argentatus mantle tone and primary pattern, I presume this is a female argentatus at the smallest end of the scale.

Also of note today this pale juv gull, either a large pale herring gull or possibly a viking gull. This bird was a bit of a beast, a large pale bird with the bulk of a glaucous gull but most other features looked quite herring gull.

Gull sp

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Dog Walking......

Apart from exercising our muttley I've not managed to get out of the house for the last couple of days.

All I have to report is 3 long-tailed ducks (inc a nice male) lingering just off beadnell harbour on Thursday & Friday evenings, a few red-throats in the bay too. 

Sunset down at the harbour.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Tundra Bean Geese

This large flock of pinkfeet re-appeared near High Newton again today.....

Monster pinkfoot flock !
3 tundra bean geese were amongst the crowd..... 

Spot the beaners !!