Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The nick of time.

The drive down to Newcastle was shaping up quite nicely until we hit the A1. The forecast of snow finally hit and had us down to 20mph in places - it'll take forever to get there at this rate. We managed to pick up the pace and the snow stayed with us most of the way - we arrived about half an hour later than we should have so not too bad.
Saturday was clear and bright. It was going to be a round of visiting family and keeping the kids amused. What better way to amuse the kids than feed the ducks - Killingworth Lake will do! A few year ticks, a few photographs and everyone is happy! Coot numbers were quite low....
...but the usual masses of Black-headed Gull were keen to squabble over the bread that was thrown about.
A single Pochard swam past looking like it was interested in getting some food but it just kept going.
The Tufted Duck just get stuck in the fray and capture any food that sinks out of reach of the gulls.
The Mute Swans are so used to the feeding scenario you can't get moved for them. They'll follow you round and steal the bread from your hand or even try to get the bag off you. They terrorise the kids so you have to keep watch! The Canada Geese just stand away from the main action and eyeball you till you throw them a few scraps.
After a bit of shopping for Stotties, pease pudding and lunch we headed to the coast and a bit of gentle birdwatching for the grand kids. A male Pintail was a nice bird for them to see...
...and also the Snipe hiding in the grass (hard for them to pick out) and eventually one on show.
A quick trip to look at a Med Gull and use up another loaf of bread....
....before we headed back to pick up a few shore birds. Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Golden Plover and Sanderling were all noted while the kids busied themselves with rolling down the embankment and getting a bit mucky. The kids love it but I'm not sure the same goes for my daughter - I'm a popular bloke at times! It was time for more visiting of folks before the day was over.
Sunday was a drive back to Mull with not a great deal noted. Despite the numbers of Pheasants around it was easier to see road kill than live ones (4 deceased and no live ones) and Buzzards outnumbered Kestrels 8 to 5. We had a brief stop to get Red Kite and bagged four of them and a Treecreeper too.
Monday was another fine day and I was out with guests on a tour. Just before they arrived I managed to get a couple of snaps of a male Crossbill...
...and a juv WT Eagle flew from the shore and headed over the back of the shop. The guests arrived and we headed off in search of anything that moved. Greenshank and Redshank performed very well as did a Rock Pipit that perched in a tree next to the motor before we picked up a cracking Black-throated Diver. We drove a bit closer and got the scope on the bird to find it was well on the way to Summer plumage - stunner!!
The usual Curlew,RB Merg, Heron, Red Deer etc were all noted before we picked up our first Otter of the day. It was there and then it was gone so we waited and eventually gave up on it. Two Red-throated Diver were being harassed by a Herring Gull so we had good views of those too. Next on the list was a Golden Eagle perched on the ridge closely followed by a WT Eagle in flight. We then bagged another two Otter which we had to turn around for - worth it though. The photos were rubbish but Postie will be interested...
A couple of Ringed Plover, 3 Golden Plover and nice views of two Golden Eagle were had while we watched the Otters. A Great Northern Diver was close to the road and dived as we spotted it. We stopped and waited for it to surface and, again, got cracking views. We went on to find one more Otter, two more Golden Eagle and a single Adder before our last stop of the day. A single Mountain Hare graced us with it's presence, the usual flock of Greenland White-fronted Goose, a small flock of Fieldfare, 10 Skylarks and a single Barnacle Goose were all notable but the day wouldn't be complete without a cracking male Hen Harrier....he turned up just in the nick of time.
If you want to keep an eye on migration and what's on it's way check out Clive Finlayson's blog.

1 comment:

ebm_gww said...

What a great list of sightings! ive decided im defiantly coming up to Mull at easter! keep up the good blogging Bryan!