Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A Stag ‘Do’

           As usual at this time of year I’m trying to tidy up my year list and pick up the birds that I really should have seen earlier in the year.  Two birds that were missing from my year list were Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Diver.  So on Monday I headed up to Stag Rock to try my luck. 

On the sea, there were good numbers of Long-tailed Duck, maybe as many as fifty on view.  Just beyond the breakers, was a small flock of Eiders with a few Common Scoter and a single Velvet Scoter in with them.  I soon pick up one of my targets with a single Slav just off the end of Stag Rock which dived and then was never seen again!  I did pick out three or four Grebes, within the large flocks of Common Scoter North of Stag Rock, that looked a bit dull to be Slavs but they were very distant and I couldn’t say for definite what they were. 

Whilst trying to get some other birders onto another Velvet Scoter, I spotted a very dark looking Diver just off the rocks, so I dashed back to my car to get my scope and it was ‘target number two’, a superb Great Northern Diver, which then took off and flew North.  I managed to get the other birders onto it as it flew off towards Holy Island.

I then got greedy and tried for the previous days Glaucous Gull at Long Nanny, again with no luck.  I couldn’t resist seconds of the Lesser Grey Shrike though which performed superb as usual.  I can’t help thinking what will happen to this bird once the photographers get bored with it and stop putting mealworms out for it?      

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A Lesser Grey Day

I set off up the A1 this morning with clear blue sky, I was just south of Alnwick when day turned to night and then everything turned white.  The snow was so heavy that I nearly turned around and headed back south to get back to the clear blue sky.  However, I decided against it and the shower passed, although it did leave the country roads a bit treacherous.  It was well worth the journey to watch the Lesser Grey Shrike in the Snow.

After watching the Shrike for a bit, I began to lose the feeling in my extremities, so I decided to drive up to Stag Rock.  The sea was very rough and difficult to watch birds on.  There were still a couple of Velvet Scoter mixed in with the various flocks of Common Scoter, one of the flocks also held 5 or 6 Mergansers and I also counted 25 Long-Tailed Ducks.  The only Divers I could find were 2 Red-Throated Divers.  No Grebes or other Divers were seen, but not surprising as the sea was very rough.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Fallen Heroes

No birding today, as it has been a day with the family, remembering 'our own' fallen hero.

L/CPL Kyle Marshall 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.
KIA Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand Provence 14th Feb 2011

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Snow on the beach

I spent last weekend in the Lake District with the family and unfortunately we did not realise that 'Autumnwatch' was being broadcast from Leighton Moss.  We mistakenly then went on the Friday!  The place was heaving with families hoping to catch sight of Chris Packham and the other presenters. So that was a bit of a wasted day . . .

I didn’t really ‘bird’ for much of the weekend, but we did have a nice walk around Grizedale Forest on Sunday and we saw a Hawfinch near the car park and at one point there were five Ravens circling above us, which was nice to see.

Today I headed up to Druridge to catch up with the Snow Buntings.  I then spent a couple of hours following them up and down the beach.