Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Goosetastic !!

Another check of the fields near the Long Nanny today produced a large flock of 2000+ pinkfeet. In amongst them were at least 2 tundra bean geese and singles of greenland whitefront and euro whitefront. An impressive flock !

A nice Brucie Bonus came in the form of a little auk showing very well down at Beadnell harbour at dusk. I was out walking the dog and didn't have my bins, but I didn't need them because it was so close ! It eventually drifted out into the bay.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tundra Bean Geese....

At least 3 birds were with the large flock of pinkfeet in the local stubble fields today.....

Spot the bean goose !

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Chasing Chiffs....

A quick look into the ringing site today and 3 chiffchaffs were still present including a greyer looking bird with a very slightly up-slurred piping call. It did sound quite different to the other two so I set about trying to record it.

I failed miserably, by the time I'd got the gear out of my rucksack it had shut up completely !

I did manage to record one of the olivey looking chiffs tho, the bird shown below..... 

I've also been teaching myself how to produce sonograms this week, here's the chiff.....

Whilst continuing to fail at recording the greyer looking chiff I did manage to record a flyover waxwing !

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Richard's Pipit - Part 2.....

Nice to see the richard's pipit was still around at Newton Point this morning. It's a bit of crowd pleaser this one, although the 'crowd' this morning comprised of just 3 people while I was there !

Bathing in the small pool at Newton Point. 
I always check this particular pool for migrants but have never seen a single decent bird using it. Now I can call it the 'richard's pipit pool' ! 
Post bathing - A soggy pipit....

Aren't richard's pipits BRILLIANT !!

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Bit Frustrating !!

I had family commitments today so I was unable to get out seawatching.

It became increasingly frustrating as text messages winged in from people telling their amazing tales of close range poms and little auks..... In the end it all became too much, I managed to break away and dash down to the point for an hour mid afternoon. I was worried that I may have missed all of the action, but between 14:00 and 15:00 I had 5 little auks and 12 poms - NICE !!

The sea was very heavy with lots of spray in the air, this coupled with dreadful light conditions meant that taking photographs was out of the question. I took a couple but quickly gave up.....


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Richard's Pipit !!

A routine check of Newton Point came up trumps today. I was out looking for snow and lapland buntings. I've checked the Long Nanny a few times this week with zero success so I decided to have a yomp around the point for a change.

I'm pleased I did.....

'Showing well' as they say.....
It was only 2 years ago that I had my first ever richard's pipit on the patch but this bird is now my 4th (after 2 together last autumn). All the previous birds were really flighty and elusive, expert at instantly vanishing into the marram grass on landing. I'm a pleased to report that today's bird broke that mould and showed well on the deck a few times.

Check out the hind claws on this mutha !!
I've just got some new sound recording gear, I haven't tried it out properly yet but I couldn't resist having a go with the pipit. Trouble was, it only called 4 times in total and by the time I'd finished faffing on getting the settings how I wanted them it called again just once, at long range and flying off towards the sea ! The result was the recording below........

OK, I know it's crap, but I've never used this gear before and I like to think the sea adds a bit of atmosphere !! Hopefully my recording skills will improve with time......

Also logged today were 2 snow buntings flying south, 2 grey wagtails flying south and 3 chiffchaffs in the ringing site (including a slightly greyish looking bird).

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Thrushes on the move......

I've just come in from walking our Muttley and it is clear that thrushes are on the move tonight, with the sound of redwing and blackbird calls overhead every couple of minutes.

Slow Going....

..... Is how it was today.

Nothing new to report apart from 2 chiffchaffs in the ringing site.

One of today's chiffs
There are still a few blackbirds and goldcrests about, but it definitely feels like there are less birds around generally.

Thursday, 13 November 2014


Today it took me two hours to relocate yesterday's yellow-browed warbler and once again it gave me the right run around only showing twice, briefly, in extremely windy conditions.

Not the best views but at least it has put my mind at rest after yesterday's inconclusive views. This bird is un-ringed, so definitely not the same bird lingering from last week (that one was trapped and ringed).

Elusive little blighter !!
Whilst hunting for the warbler a waxwing dropped in from high altitude calling, it perched on top of a tree for just a few seconds before heading off south along the coast. Nice, but too brief !!

Apart from the waxwing excitement, today was much the same as yesterday, good numbers of goldcrests and blackbirds and a single blackcap, this time a male bird (yesterdays was a female).

Aren't goldcrests BRILLIANT !!
Finally, it's great to see that Trust are implementing their Newton Pool Management Plan. It's taken a long time but the stock fencing is complete and the pool margins are going to get grazed. I've been pushing for highland cattle and it sounds like there may actually be future plans to try and get some in !

For now the pool margins are getting grazed with exmoor ponies. I have to say that in just one week they've already done a superb job of opening up the rushes in front of the hide, if a jack snipe was bobbing about out there you might actually have a chance at spotting it now !

Exmoor pony getting stuck in to the pool margins.....

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Goldcrest-fest !

With a few birds arriving locally this morning I decided to head out for a couple of hours on the patch today....

This was a good move as it soon became clear that there had been an arrival of late migrants, with goldcrests and blackbirds dominating.

The ringing site was literally 'hopping' with blackbirds and at least 30 goldcrests were logged, also of note were 2 redwings, 1 blackcap and a brambling.

One of today's many goldcrests....
As birds were obviously fresh in I decided to track down to the pool and check out the willows. This area also held blackbirds and a roving flock of around 20 goldcrests.

Whilst grilling the goldcrests a stripey phyllosc appeared in front of me ! Surely on the 12th of November this would be a hume's or pallas's warbler ?!! I stayed glued to the bird for around 2 minutes. Pallas's was quickly eliminated (sadly), it was a yellow-browed warbler and not the dull washed out version I was hoping for either. After a couple of minutes the warbler moved through with the goldcrest flock and was gone.

Interestingly about 30 minutes later I saw another (or the same) yellow-browed warbler very briefly. This bird did appear dull with a less obvious median covert bar too ! Trouble was it was such a brief view for a few seconds only, I never saw it again.

Was this bird just the same yellow-brow giving poor views in the shade (yeah probably) or was it something more interesting ? The answer is 'I don't really know', but it is niggling me, I will be back down tomorrow morning to take another look.