Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wigeon crash test cliff

So we get down on to Runswick Bay beach heading for the pub and this Wigeon comes from nowhere at rapid speed and flies straight, head first into the cliff. Dazed Wigeon slides down cliff and on to beach - and is immediately savaged by two hounds. However, a quick rescue is accomplished. Wigeon is examined and appears rather passive - I guess anyone would be after 30mph collision with a cliff. I reckon the Wigeon is a gonner - girls stroke Wigeon and say goodbye and I decide to set it on the very calm sea, I set Wigeon at waters edge, it sits on the sand in a dead pose for a few moments and then flies low and fast out to sea to be joined immediately by a drake. Wigeon awarded ***** NCAP stars. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sandsend today

Pied Wag in the cliff end car park. Posted by Picasa

Kettleness and Sandsend

No great shakes. Plenty of Red-throats (that's divers not pipits). Plenty of Shags especially in Sandsend Bay. Plenty of gulls. Razorbill and Guillemot.

Interesting the auks. During the summer and autumn they feed in close, compact groups but now in the winter they are generally very dispersed, most on their own, the occasional group of two or three but usually well separated. What are the survivial strategies here? Perhaps there being fewer it is safer to look out for yourself than draw attention in a small group - the odds seem better?

There seem to be only ten Bl-h Gulls until you throw some bread in the air - and then there are 50.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Garden stuff

The new feeding strategy has increased the Chaffinch flock up to about 70 - it's hard to know the real number as they come and go from and to a fair distance through the day. Interesting watching a Greenfinch on a seed feeder today using its bill sideways as a shovel, pushing the wheat out onto the floor so it could get to the few sunflower seeds and other good stuff - the Chaffinchs benefit from this behaviour because they hoover up what's on the deck (as do the Pheasants). We could probably do with putting the better quality stuff - that's now run out - near to the house, we don't want food on the deck near the house because of the rat problem (not that I've seen one for some weeks now).

A flock of large gulls drifted into the dale this morning, mostly Herring with a few Geeb, they corrected to go south near the head of the dale. There were three Geebs yesterday as well. Large gulls are generally quite uncommon in the dale.

Flock of c35 Golden Plover went high west early this morning. Song and Mistle Thrush still singing.

Still no Marsh Tits on the feeders, none now since the spring although I have occasionally heard them along the lane. Perhaps we need some snow to bring them in.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Didn't do my homework I guess

Couldn't resist another one. Follow the link.

I clearly didn't do my homework as I made a bit of a pig's ear of geting the Scaling ones right. A further visit today confirmed yesterday's afterthought. Hopefully photo to follow later.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

New birding drama, here's the preview.

Follow the link to view the preview - I think it airs tomorrow.

Scaling Dam

Long-tailed Ducks are still there (x2). At least 16 Goldeneye (2 imm males and I couldn't find the adult male today). Teal were nicely in front of the hide, but not countable accurately, too close under the bank. There were a lot of Blackbirds, at the Yorkshire end 7 or so with 3+ Song Thrush in the gorse bushes; at the Cleveland end in the lane between the buildings, 20 Blackbirds at least. A Song Thrush was singing.

The lovely sunshine has finally disappeared and the misty day became foggy at dusk.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sunny days up t' dale

Two garden ticks today - Tree Sparrow first. Two were under the new feeders and then on next door's feeder. So the spuggie seen fleetingly and heard briefly yesterday was most likely this species. Then in the afternoon 53 Greylag were flushed into the dale from the moor to the north by a light aircraft - they came almost directly over the garden. Siskin were again in evidence but again not on the Niger feeders - feeding in the larch. Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush were singing. Fieldfare were heard only and a few Redwing were about. 2 Kestrel again and a Spughawk. The Great spot briefly on the peanut feeder. No gulls, not one. The Magpie roost held at least 4 and about 50 Woodpigs with just one Stocky came to roost. Glorious light; lunch in the garden; t-shirt weather really, honest. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Scaling Dam

Another late afternoon visit to Scaling, bathed in sunshine. (We abandoned a trip to York yesterday as thick fog just beyond Pickering was a bit of a disincentive - Scarborough was clear and sunny.) Long-tailed Duck x2 again. Good views of the adult female today and the scruffy 1stW is still present. The two birds were feeding together today - the previous adult never associated with the 1st W to my knowledge. Not much else today, nothing in the gulls, but the feeders had been topped up so Willow Tit wa easily found.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Golf course and Sandsend

An early mooch around the golf course was relatively unfruitful, 2 Red-throated Divers and 2 Wigeon being the highlight. So no Hume's and no Mr BigFeet for me.

Down at Sandsend there were 10 Goldeneye and 2 Common Scoter in the bay.

Monday, December 18, 2006

To Let

This quality, new build accommodation has recently become
available. Ideal for the discerning client who wants to cut down on
that annual commute. Within view of superior fish stocks and already semi-furnished.

This spacious property would suit the more flamboyant couple who enjoy the close proximity of human beings - public footpath, 70metres; Middlesbrough by nearby main road, 50 minutes. The neighbouring angling and sailing clubs will also provide many admirers.

Well kept and keepered grouse moors surround this very desirable property. Rent by one-off payment mid-season. Be there by mid March or you could miss this once in a life-time opportunity. Posted by Picasa

Scaling Dam today

A brief window of opportunity for a dip in to Scaling was well worthwhile. 2:15 p.m. on the way. As I zoomed along the A171, 8 Whoopers flew low over the car heading inland, I hung a rapid right into the Runswick turning and found they had corrected and were heading straight for Scaling and looking set for touchdown. Back to the car and in to the Yorkshire end car park - no Whoopers. However, the gulls were beginning to roost near the Yorkshire end so I elected to walk around to them - good choice. I flushed a Short-eared Owl off the fence - into the sun unfortunately so no pix - and this eventually headed towards Cleveland over the moor. A redpoll flew over - seemed a maybe mealy but unforunately that kept too. Looked through the gulls, no joy there. Reasonable count of Goldeneye (total at least 16 including the Cleveland ones). But a Long-tailed Duck showed, not the usual one, an adult type bird - rather distant and in poor light I thought it was a female. A bit more of a hunt around located the usual scruffy 1stW. Down at the Cleveland end the food had run out so nothing on the feeders and it looked as if the ducks had been disturbed.Walked to the fishing centre building and had another go at the gulls - but distant and just 1500 Common Gulls and a few odds and ends. The adult LT Duck was in the gull roost and being quite aggressive to the Common Gulls. Spot the LT Duck above ..... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rodent surprise!

We have oven gloves by the Rayburn which we use to take the hot ash tray out. I was sorting the heating out this morning and so on went a glove - and off it came super fast as some furry critter was running about inside it. On closer inspection this proved to be a Field / Yellow-necked Mouse (unidentifed as I didn't have it still for very long). The wee beastie was released in the garden - not very pleased I should think as it was a mite chilly out there compared to the Rayburn-side glove.

Garden and village

The Gt Spot was a frequent peanut chomper through the day, a male Bullfinch feeding on dock seeds in the garden and a male Brambling at a finch pre-roost near the church with a male Sparrowhawk hunting nearby. A Little Owl was a surprise on the walls by the moor top fields.

Scaling Dam

A scruffy LT Duck is still the star attraction at the Yorkshire End. 3 Mistle Thrush were around the car park, a Shoveler flew in and a Willow Tit was again at the feeders. But the feeders held a surprise in the shape of a male House Sparrow, common by the pub 500m away but very uncommon on the reserve.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Longest ever seawatch ends in tragedy

Kettleness today. I found my earstwhile seawatching companion in a bit of a state. I'm currently busy going through Nige's notebooks and hopefully may find some pix to support the sightings on his SD card. A sad day for seawatching after 437 days, 6 hours and about 7 minutes, looks like the soup ran out. Last sighting of note appears to be an argentatus Herring Gull, may have got too close for comfort. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Interesting article on eggers in The Guardian earlier this week. Click the link to learn more. It is worth taking car numbers and reporting anything suspicious to the police - you may help catch another of these law breakers who still pose a significant threat to some species.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Breaking news from BOURC

Looks like Filey might have been right on the money.
(With thanks to the good doc for initiating this thread of gold.)
That's it folks hit the link again.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

British birder in trouble methinks

By the look of this video Nick seems to have got himself in deep water.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Scaling again

A quick dash to Scaling for the roost. A search of the Yorkshire end produced the scruffy LT Duck, no sign of the drake anywhere. Narrowly dipped 3 Goosander. 2,500 Common Gulls in the roost arrived quite late and were out in the middle unfortunately. Little else of note.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More from Scaling Dam

The "other" Long-tailed Duck finally gave itself up today - mostly due to me covering the Yorkshire end with some care - as opposed to a cursory glance which has been more usual of late. The male was also present, way out in the middle and consorting with the usual 3 Goldeneye. In fact both birds were visible from the Northumbrian Water building but this one required a bit of imagination. Why do they not associate? To my knowledge they have never been seen together.

I'm always interested in the jizz thing. Goldeneye have a very distinctive dive - they way they leave the surface, quite different from Tufted Duck, which at Scaling is the main confusion species at range. Long-tailed Duck also "goes under" in a very distinctive manner. Interesting how 1/4 of a duck disappearing beneagth the waves is identifiable at considerable range with at least 99% accuracy. That combination of details that is distinctive. Posted by Picasa

Scaling feeders

On the feeder today, Willow Tit. A snap from the hide. A lso around the car park at least 2 Bullfinches, a Redwing and quite a few (10ish) Blackbirds.

This Willow Tit shows the wing panel quite clearly. A few miles down the road at home we have Marsh Tit (well had, they've become elusive of late). Last autumn and winter there were at least 4 visiting us regularly. There are claims of Marsh Tit at Scaling ..... but I've not seen or heard them there. Around the village Marsh Tit are quite common and although there is suitable habitat for Willow Tit I'm yet to find them here. Amazing really how late these two species were split as the calls (at least) are pretty distinctive - not that the occasional embarrasing error has not been made .... Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back to the past

Kestrel in Withens Clough on Sunday. Little else about apart from Bramblings in the Beech woods on the north side. I saw/heard about 20 Brambling early in the afternoon. In the past this species has had a roost or pre-roost in the clough in big numbers (1000+) and had I hung about I suspect that more might have appeared. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Seawatching (over bath)

"You'll be in with t' mermaids in a minute Piglet."
"At least in here I could keep the scope out of the wind and rain. If I had one."
"Where's me bins that's a Bonxie! Ooooops just that plastic pterodactyl again."
Much thrashing around in the water as the Mako (plastic) finally engulfs Piglet.
"Ba," said Tigger, "I'm going for a bounce." Posted by Picasa

Garden pecker

Great spot on the feeder from the kitchen window. Not much else seen from the garden today. Scaling still had the LTDuck - beggared if I can find a second one - but the Whoopers had gone. Posted by Picasa

Sandsend seas

6 grey geese, most likely Pink-feet were going high west as we arrived over the crest of the hill. The Peregrine was doing mad hunting over the sea - but no Little Auks in its sights this time. Also single Eider, Common Scoter, Red-th Diver. Ellen had a narrow escape from a good soaking as she went splat in the sand with serious wave approaching and everyone got wave in wellie. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Scaling today

5 Whooper Swans and a Long-tailed Duck were the highlights but 7 Bullfinch, 5 Fieldfare and at least 16 Goldeneye were the supporting cast from 8:30 to 10:30. The Whoopers and LT Duck were miles away, these Bullfinch were the best I could manage. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scaling Dam record

Two entries for Scaling Dam on Birdguides today - and neither of them mine. The L-t Duck is still there, I saw it on Sunday and it was still present on Tuesday morning when I popped in on the way to Northallerton. Adult Med Gull in the roost and Whooper Swans complete the current line up.

A very quick drop in to the golf course ravine this morning produced a Scoter, 6 Shags and what was very likely Mr Bigfeet disappearing into the distance rocket powered - got onto him toooooooo late unfortunately - too interested in looking along the breaker edge for Little Auks, none of course. I really should have added LA to the site list last week - lack of dynamic imperative (lazing around in bed til 7 and cooking the family porridge). However, this weekend is looking posible.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Low effort - high quality

A beach trip to Sandsend produced 2 Bonxies heading down and a couple of divers offshore. 1 was a Red-throat but the other was elusive and I hadn't taken my scope but showed some features of Black-throat. There was at least one Brambling in the garden on our return. Scaling Dam for the last hour or so of light (+scope) produced a rather smart (if distant) Long-tailed Duck, 12 Goldeneye and a tick for me at this site 6 Goosander. Otherwise duck numbers were down and the gull roost was a pitiful 1,500 or so. However, a good selection for the day in a bit of a blustery old breeze.

Apology, risk assessment required

It has been pointed out to me that a risk assessment is required for yesterdays recipe hint.
1. Risk: high of being significantly savaged by Geeb. Control measure: lecture Geeb re apprpriate behaviour whilst being prepared for the plate.
2. Risk: high of burning whilst poking Geeb with stick to judge readiness for plate. Control measure; avoid use of fire - try a microwave instead, alternatively eat raw but see 1. above.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Straight to the burning fires for these boyos

"For this crime thou shalt suffer hotly. (Well it won't be nice anyway)" Recipe hint - drop Geeb in clay and coat thoroughly, wrap in silver foil and place in hottest part of fire until it stops baying, then poke with a stick and extract. Serve thinly sliced on buttered toast with a slice of lemon - best taken with strong alcoholic beverage. Follow link to find out more.

Little Auks past Kettleness Point

51 Little Auks went west past Kettleness in 3 hours from 07:10 this morning. 1 reprobate went east but that was probably included in the count as some were not moving strongly. I found the first as I checked for waders over the exposed rocks and it flew just a few metres offshore. The next two were only found when I noticed the local Peregrine hunting low over the sea, after three or four passes it gave up and two Little Auks popped up and continued on their way. During the first hour most birds were singles or pairs close inshore and checking with the scope produced nothing but in the final hour or so most were distant with flocks of 15, 5, 8, 3 and 4 - no doubt I missed a few. The wind increased dramatically during the watch, so much so I was almost blown off my feet as I climbed up the cliff to leave. The strong wind made some species look odd - change of jizz. Thus the 17 grey geese that were not too far out but too far to get detail - I couldn't see head well or the tail - looked uncharacteristically heavy and slow for Pink-feet (which they surely were). It also made x45 hard work buffeting the scope. Other highlights were Goldeneye 6 and a Red-breasted Merg - Mr Bigfeet didn't show. On land there was more Starling movement with 250 west in 30 mins - I can't quite figure out if this is just local movement though, a few Goldcrest were in the point bushes and there was a constant trickle of Skylarks heading west or south west. A good morning.

Friday, November 03, 2006


For those of you who have not used Birdtrack i've put a link in the links section of the Blog. I really like this it gives local patch workers a real incentive as everything goes to the national database and it produces nice graphs and stats for the patch (Once you've used it a bit.)

It looked like the Starlings were still moving today as one flock went past the playground during early morning duty. Louise reported more Fieldfares at home as she walked the children to school this morning, she had a good few yesterday. Looking forward to tomorrow a.m. when a Kettleness early start is planned, hoping for a remnant Little Auk and one, other or both (or even all three) of the larger divers are called for - come on Mr BigFeet flyby me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why no comments?

Apologies to those who have tried to comment - should be able to now IThink I've sorted the settings .... well maybe.

The North Wind doth blow

A good old blow which began late Tuesday a.m. settled to a more gentle north westerly but it was still showery this morning. Hopes of Little Auks driven into the bay were dashed (but they would be hard to see on a lowish tide and a huge sea) but there was compensation. Driving down two large flocks of Starlings crossed my path going west, a 1,000 and a 1,500 possibly. From 07:00 Starlings were moving over the ravine and along the beach. In an hour nearly 340 went west in small parties and these were still going at 09:00 when two parties went past the playground. New birds for the patch were Snipe, 1 high SW, and Goldeneye, 2M and 2F went west. Also on the move were single Grey Heron and Brambling, a sprinkling of Mepits and 3 Skylarks - all SW or west. A Sparrowhawk also put in an appearance and Blackbird numbers were high with at least 20 in the lane alone. By 09:00 the sun was coming through and the morning was brightening. No doubt it will be bright for the weekend but a search for Little Auks on calmer seas in the bays may bring rewards.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Garden and around today

Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell (2) and Red Admiral in the garden. Redwings and a couple of Fieldfare west or south. 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers high over the moor going north turned east. Brambling in the garden at midday.

Goth spotting - Saturday 28-10-06

Not a Goth

A wander down into Whitby encouraged a new (temporary) pastime which the children engaged in loudly at first - until one of them was devoured by an especially offended goth. A stroll onto the east pier was not too exciting. Kettleness and a walk (for most) to Runswick was very pleasant - but no birds really, no more goths either. At Kettleness Starlings were still c1,500. At Runswick a Blackcap was by the edge of the lower car park, the House Martins had gone, nothing of note in the bay.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kettleness massive waves.

Huge sea at Kettleness this a.m. The wind stayed resolutely SW and there was a distinct lack of Little Auks - or anything very much. A Whooper Swan swam regally offshore and a R-bM put in a brief appearance. Most notable was the Starling flock which has swelled to c1,500 and a Peregrine was hunting. A few redwing both here and at home but a rather uneventful day - nice pint and f&cs later though.

Windy day, Thursday 26-10-06

Howling winds all night continued through the day and strengthened towards evening. Shipping forecast suggests going NW and pressure map suggests that it could be ok for Little Auks tomorrow.
Sandsend today was pretty uneventful - Mollie and Rosa enjoyed their apple pie/custard lunch (with bacon buttie to polish it off) Ellen required a carry all the way to the cafe - no change there then. A few things were struggling in/off (surprising in the strong winds), 4 Skylarks, 1 Blackbird and 3 Lapwings. A rapid charge to Scaling Dam for the gull roost proved more interesting. Peter rather enterprisingly found a duck that neither of us could immediately id in amongst the Teal. A large generally rather nondescript teal type thing with a round head, dark speculum and (fortunately) a somewhat striking yellow and black bill. (Reference to the web on our return indicated Speckled Teal). Not to be outdone your correspondent finally picked out a 1stW Med from the c5,000 Common Gulls. Also of note was the first Goldeneye of the autumn, 2 Shoveler and good numbers of Teal and Wigeon. The 120+ GB-bGulls might perhaps be attributed to the high winds sending these inland?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh shit probably made a balls of it ...

As so often in birding something mundane becomes AN ISSUE. So why did I not take more care with those grey geese? I didn't even write the number down correctly (let alone identify the b******s correctly) well maybe anyway. So Filey record 8 Whitefronts and I thought these geese were Greylags. ok I only got a rear view- rapidly receeding and they didn't call and at least one showed a pale forewing and none of them showed black/dark flank streaks and I see greylags all the time and they looked like them (even up the bumdisappearingpronto). but... I strongly suspect I got these wrong. Today at home a Fieldfare early with 7 Redwing. Long-tailed Tits in the garden. Redwing going at around 11:00 again with c 150 or so. All this incidental and casual apart from the first 30 mins - Woodpigs moving early also going west (but are they the same ones that come east in the evening and roost?) Best bird a LB-bGull with the CGs on the shit. Then at 17:30 Redwing c70 went West in the rain and cloud .. Coast tomorrow with the famous cupboard inhabiting birder .... interview to follow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Birding today

I got to the golf course early, too early really but a couple of Curlew, and a Goosander went over or past. In the ravine there were a few more grounded redwing and a lovely male Brambling. The treeper from yesterday was still present. At home a Brambling called as i got out of the car and there were a few redwing then at 12:00 flocks of redwing moved through up the dale (west); 60; 28; 7; 17; then at 12:00 3 went half-way and turned back - the cloud was thickening to the west. This may have been caused by the light mist and cloud lifting at about 11:00 and the coastal birds which had been dumped by the cloud and some rain last night moving inland (well it's a theory). Amongst the redwing was another Brambling and a Siskin. Woodpig numbers are on the up with 90 in the dale and the gulls reached c250 CG and 36 Bl-hG. The gull presence has coincided with the slurry pumping of cow manure over the lower fields - last winter this caused a big increase in numbers. A butterfly was seen briefly in the garden, most likely a Small tortoiseshell but i didn't get a good look at it unfortunately.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Golf Course today

The small rare thing continues to elude. However, Blackbirds, Robins, Song Thrushes and the occasional Redwing pack the ravine. Also today, Blackcap, 2 males; a Treeper; Shag, 5; Red- throated Diver, at least 2. No auks, only 1 Gannet, no Fulmars and certainly no terns or skuas.


On the way into Musicport on Saturday morning - a no birding weekend as the world music festival was on - 10 Whooper Swans flew in off low over the Spa and headed on over St Hilda's - magic. Terrafolk, Kiki Dee, Eliza Carthy, Yasmin Levy, Robert Maseko, Bonga, Reem Kelani, Culture Clash (with the legendary Rise Kagona) also magic - dancing feet (and legs) now in disrepair. Workshops by Roop Singh and Simba Mugadza much enjoyed by small people (and bigger ones too).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Golf course blues

What is it about Filey? That was an outrageous number of rare birds in a week, high quality and lots of them ..... meanwhile ..... A few more Redwing today in lovely late afternoon light. A few things buzzing about in the foliage that i failed to get to grips with so there is hope.

First flock of gulls into the dale for the autumn yesterday, about 60 or so, 40 CG and 20 Bl-h. Louise had another Hummingbird Hawk the day before.

Oystercatcher answer

389 in the pic, I'd estimated c300 which was too big a variance really.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How many Oystercatchers in the photo?

Answer tomorrow .... well later in the week anyway.

Redwing dusting

30 Redwing buzz over Kettleness Farm first thing and then ..... very little. Some Blackbirds were coming in, 1 Siskin, but it all proved a bit disappointing. Goldcrest were much the same as yesterday Long-tailed Tits were confiding. Down on the point it was much quieter than yesterday, so I went home after a couple of hours - I suspect a drop of rain would have made all the difference. At homes bikes were mended and a Buzzard drifted down the dale.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bionic Robin noise reveals mega finch

Kettleness this morning and no inpouring of Redwings as partially promised by Scottish Blogster - actually 2 redwing and they bogged off pronto. Sea rather quiet, with 35 assorted larger auks in 30 mins mostly at some distance. On the point lots of Blackbirds and in the gully grey Song Thrushes dropping in. Also Chaffinch on the move with 25+ mostly SW. A flock of 16 Skylarks went east. The sea fret came in at about 09:30 and I began to wind up the search. Lots of noise by the old station loudly from football playing scouts but then -- the bionic Robin ticks were clearly of some interest and behold in the bottom of one of the sycamores there was a hawfinch. No chance for a photo as it quickly flew east into the fret. First time I've seen a coastal migratory one and a nice find, so well chuffed.

Golf course produced little more than Blackbirds and then the fret came in there also.

At home Siskin and noisy tawny Owls were of note + Red Admiral and Small White.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blackbirds on the move

Two high over the house going south as I went to the car this morning. 27 at least in the Golf Course Ravine late this p.m. (and bog all else).

John Peel

Right time, wrong speed was released today in advance of John Peel Day (2nd anniversary of John's death) on 25th October. A wonderful selection of tracks although I've yet to find anything with any whistling - John was very partial to some whistling.

This has reminded me that at some point I must list favourite tracks with birdsong samples - and name the samples maybe (that's quite tricky on some tracks) eg Beta Band. Will be pleased to hear of good birdsong samples on albums/singles for inclusion - to my email address please.

Can't currently find an image of Peter Blakes' portrait without a horrible red sticker on it (bit of a faff to scan the cd) so this is part of the image.

Polish road protest

A highway in Eastern Poland is planned to begin building at the end of the year - protest here
by using the links please.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Not a House Martin

One of 26 Turnstone on the beach at Runswick today. Could the lone Barwit have relocated from the golf course?

House Martins

2 pairs at least were still feeding young in the nest at Runswick today.


2 skeins of Pinkfeet at Runswick Bay went past Kettleness one following the other at 11:45 a 110 and then a 118 going south (well east at the time). As we drove into the dale a further skein of 130 were going south high over the moor at 13:30.

Great views of Kettleness from Runswick over the Kelp beds at low tide.

Crabby Day 2

In the band of stones -usually low tide mark - every one of these banded shells contained a Hermit Crab, tasty gull snacks judging by all the activity.

Crabby Day

The very low tide at Runswick (0.36m exceptional) exposed lots of good crab habitat - I'd wondered why all the herring and GBbGulls had been heading in to the bay yesterday morning. I was just too slow with the camera to catch this Velvet Swimming Crab on the surface, it quickly reversed under a covering of muddy sand.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Butterflies / moths today

Today; Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma - one of each - and maybe a Brimstone (brief glimpse), also a couple of Silver Ys.

The moths Giles gave me last weekend which he had found (just) alive a few days earlier proved to be Privet Hawkmoth.

Barn Owl strangeness

On the way to Kettleness this a.m. noticed a Barn Owl sitting on the kerb at the Lealholm junction. Picked the bird up which although weight seemed ok was almost comatose. However, it gradually recovered and after about 5 minutes flew off hunting - appeared to perhaps have some damage to right eye. A vehicle collision seems the likely cause.

Kettleness very quiet - Gannets both ways, 18 Sandwich terns south in the hour and almost no auks were most notable. A grey heron and a Turnstone went west.

Scaling was a bit more lively with in excess of 148 Teal - there were more tucked out of view mostly. A Shoveler, Common Sandpiper, 2 Ruddy Duck and 3 Pochard were new. Some Skylark movement with a three and then two more individuals or samll numbers heard going north. There had been plenty of Pinkfeet on Tuesday.

Pinkfeet on Wednesday

A flock of at least 100 reported (by SLA) over the house on 4th october, midday. There were 1,000 over Kettleness the same morning.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Golf Course today

A Redwing finally put in an appearance and was a new bird for the site for me. 10 days later than RHB or Whitestone. The gusty wind from the west meant birds were sheltering in the bushes around the main path with blackbirds in evidence - a small influx perhaps. The mega crop of hawthorn berries is going to take some devouring so there should be plenty for all the Waxwings that will shortly be here in abundance ...... One large flock of auks went east c50 (there's no auk sp slot on birdtrack) they were tooooo far out in poor light to id. A few Razorbill inshore, no Guillies. 2 sandwich Terns only.

A 10 minute stop on the way home at the eastern end of Sandsend - the western edge of the golf course patch really, produced just 2 Red thr Divers on the sea.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On pishing

Never been a great believer in pishing and never found it worked very well when i have tried it but with very few migrants today I decided I wanted to see the chiffies calling in the big gully. Bit of a pish and bingo as you can see - one of at least 2 Chiffies that popped out.

Kettleness Razorbill day

Interesting 2 hour seawatch with Razorbills moving 1,296 went east and not a Guillemot amongst them. Very few Guilly's in evidence, 4 on the sea just off the point and the only auks to go west (3) were probably Guillemot. Of course the flocks miles out might have been Guillemots but that seems a bit unlikely - most flocks were mid range, a good proportion were close and these were identifiable. The other day off the golf course c1,200 auks went east in 30 mins, at the time I presumed they were Guillemots but I now wonder especially as most of the birds at close range on the sea were Razors (from the Golf course they are miles away because it's in the bay). Other bits and bats included a slightly puzzling skua that looked a bit Ltish but was probably a 2ndcy Arctic - it was an Arctic in any case and a couple of Knot on the flats before the tide pushed them off. The sandwich terns do seem to be leaving now, 55 went east, none the other way and only one or two hanging about in the bay. At Sandsend later, those that appeared went through going east, although there was food available. 2 Grey Seals and 1 Harbour Porpoise off the point were the mammals of the day.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Garden today

Still quite a few butterflies around outside, c5 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell. Goldfinch on the Niger feeder, Mistle Thrush, Green Woodpecker but didn't make much of an effort - drinking coffee in the sunshine and cooking lasagne.

Common Darter

Here's a Common darter from today.

Scaling Dam on a sunny day

The reservoir this morning from the Yorkshire end. Light was v difficult from the hide (down the other end, behind the left end of the yachts). Not much to see either, Mute Swan, 2 were newish, only 9 Wigeon, 49 Teal, 1 Pochard, Lots of Common darter again. Unusual numbers of GB-b Gulls, c70 and 200 herring Gulls but the light made working through them v hard and anyway they mostly flew off (as usual) soon after i got in the hide.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Inverts today

A Speckled Wood in Golf Course Ravine + some large and as yet unidentified hawkers ... Common hawker at a guess

Today's birds

The morning started with 16 Goldfinch at home and a likely but distant Siskin.

Two Skylarks going high, west over the church at 9 ish, at least 2 House Martins around the West Cliff streets at lunchtime and a reported raptor in the playground in the afternoon savaging a small bird (presume Sparrowhawk - savaging) all made for an eventful work day.

After work 5 - 6 Golf Course Ravine produced Chiffchaff, 2; Blackcap, 1; a small influx of Blackbirds and Robins and a couple of Goldcrests. Offshore 2 or 3 Sanwich Terns lingered, a kittiwake and a couple of Gannets. The fields around the ravine and flyovers included Yellow Wagtail, only about 12 alba wags which didn't gather for a roost there and a couple of mepits. 150 or Bl-h Gulls were on the fairways with c10 argenteus as I left.

Weather was calm, after heavy rain earlier in the pm. The passerines in the ravine favoured the sunny east side, near the seaside end.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

All a bit egocentric .....

... but the blog appears to be working. A considerable improvement on the previous effort. Now, why does the whole thing only show when I click the refresh button, perhps it will work better tomorrow??? And it's a bit of a faff adding links. Those other ones look loads better, no time for refinement.

This is me

This is a photo of us after we'd seen otter and 4 Minke Whales, Mull, July 2006

Unidentified Gull at Scaling Dam August 06

The gull front, left is most likely a Herring Gull but i couldn't be sure. Seen at Scaling Dam on several occasions in August 2006. Thanks to Brett for help with the id. I'm no good at this digiscoping lark, thus blurry.

27th September 2006

Late afternoon visit to the golf course ravine. High tide and a fresh south-easterly strengthening from 3-4. At home at 18:30 the wind was WSW 5-6, so there was either a rapid change or different conditions on the coast. 17:20 - 18:00

Two new species for the patch, Long-tailed Tits 4 in the ravine with the Blue Tit flock and a Mallard called from near the caravan site across the road. Also of note Goldcrest, 2; Chiffchaff, 1; Grey Wagtail, 1 over; Alba Wag, 32 and a Bullfinch again.