Monday, 26 January 2015

Winter Birding....

Another few days of winter birding have passed by.....

Not a lot to report last week, just wildfowl watching really ! The Euro whitefront was still around on the scrapes and a large flock of 800+ pinkfeet has been lingering between High Newton and the Long Nanny. Most of the time these geese were too distant to pick out any beaners but I suspect they may be lurking in there and I gather one was seen at the weekend.

Beadnell Bay still has a small flock long-tailed ducks and at least 1 little auk was present on Friday. 

Winter birding - a teal sitting on the ice

Last week I also had another evening up at the castle to play around with the camera......

Star trails at Dunstanburgh

Monday, 19 January 2015

The last few days....

......... there has been little change.

The bewick's swan was still around near the scrapes on Saturday and Sunday, also the European white-fronted goose is still there.

On Saturday I checked Seahouses harbour and the black-necked grebe had returned ! Then this morning it had been joined by the second bird again.

A 'flock' of black-necked grebes !

'Showing well' again.....
Saturday night was a clear cold night so Andrew and I decided to take a midnight stroll up to Dunstanburgh castle. It was feckin freezing but worth it, you can escape a lot of the light pollution there and the sky looked amazing.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Bewick's Swan

After failing to relocate it a couple of weeks back HERE, I thought I'd blown it with Bewicks's swan.

Then today I was checking Low Newton and there it was.....

Nice to actually see it in the daylight this time ! Late afternoon it flew down to the scrapes and appeared to be roosting, but after watching it fly off in the darkness last time I am not kidding myself into thinking it will definitely still be there in the morning. 

Also of note today, a European white-fronted goose was still on the scrapes this afternoon.

The Low Newton swan flock

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Please Help the Mountain Hare.....

Now they have successfully managed to eradicate most of the raptors from our uplands it seems our wonderful grouse shooting industry now has the mountain hare in its sights (literally).....

To read more about this and make a difference please click on the mountain hare below and sign the petition...

'Custodians of the countryside' ??..... MY ARSE !!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Star Trails.... ??

......Eh ??.......It must be winter !!

Not many birds around at the moment so I have diverted my attention to try out something new. This week I have been lurking in the shadows and freezing my cobblers off in an attempt to learn about long exposure photography at night.

For starters I thought it would be interesting to learn how to capture star trails. Never done this before so I'm pleased with my first attempts (below), the sky looks pretty crazy !
The view from our back door
Beadnell headland from the shore (looking south)
Looking out to sea from our place
Embleton Bay last night.

A couple of nights frozen to the spot and I feel I have the basics sorted. Now I just need to try out a few different camera settings and practice some more to perfect the technique.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Euro Whitefront...

I had a couple of trips to the scrapes yesterday on the hunt for that bewick's swan.

No sign of the swan unfortunately but there was 1 European white-fronted goose, 1 pink-footed goose and 3 whooper swans.

Beadnell at Night....

Here we have Beadnell's answer to the Blackpool Illuminations.....

Monday, 5 January 2015

Patch Tick !!.....

.......Albeit a frustrating one !!

A text from Chris at dusk last night sent me into a spin, it read 'Bewick's Swan on the scrapes'...... ARRRGGGHHH !!!!

I was out of the house in a flash and lead-footing it towards Low Newton. I was running on adrenalin and halfway there before I realised it was actually dark....... Nothing for it, just go faster !!

A few minutes later I arrived to see a very dusky image of a small swan asleep amongst 5 whoopers on the scrapes. After a few minutes it lifted it's head, appearing shorter necked and smaller than the whoopers but it was just too dark to make out much detail on the bill. Then a couple of minutes later all the swans lifted allowing a good size comparison in flight as they vanished into the arable fields to the south.

The 5 whoopers have been around for a few weeks now, so I felt reasonably confident that I would catch up with decent views of the bewick's this morning.

I was out early this morning for a walk up to Dunstanburgh and then on to Low Newton to check the scrapes.

At 9am there was no sign of the swan flock (well a handful of mute swans only). Then at 11.45am still no sign. I was back again at 2pm and 3.45pm, still no swans...... ARSE !!    

Dunstanburgh this morning

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Aurora Borealis

I was lucky enough to spot the Aurora outside our place last night. 

It was green glow on the horizon far to the north, nowhere near as impressive as the crazy cosmic light show that we had back in February HERE. However it was still great to see and it was my first attempt at photographing it, a good opportunity to get a bit of practice in for when the next big aurora arrives.   

It was almost a full moon last night and everything was lit up which didn't help. I'm sure it would have been a more impressive sight with no moonlight involved.

Aurora Borealis showing from the shore in front of our place. The 2 lights on the horizon are Inner Farne and Longstone lighthouses.
Aurora Borealis over Seahouses