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.