Thursday, 30 September 2010

Birding Sunbiggin Tarn

Took the Westies for their usual walk this morning and had a look in at the flood, nothing out of the norm. A good number of Lapwings, and Mallard, but even though I viewed the flood from two different areas there was no sign of any Snipe.

Devil's-Bit Scabious & Hover Fly  near Sunbiggin Tarn
         Back home for a cuppa and to do some house jobs, then took my Daughter into work a Stainton for 12pm. Next I decided to have a drive up to Sunbiggin Tarn to see if there was much about, haven't been up there for a while.

Part of Sunbiggin Tarn looking North-East

There wasn't a great deal on the tarn, just a pair of Little Grebe, 2 Cormorants and a Canada goose. and Mallard on the far tarn. 2 Raven flew over and a few Meadow Pipits
When Talking to John the birder the other week, He told me of a group of small ponds in the same area so I thought I would give them the once over. There was Mallard , 7 Teal and 1 Heron. Then on the far side of the ponds I noticed a Roe Deer, and then a second one joined the first as it came trotting off the fell, and both then took off heading for the road 

Female Roe Deer, Near Sunbiggin Tarn.
I decided to head back to the road in the hope of getting closer to the deer but without any luck. However I did find this Wheatear unfortunately twigs again, and it didn't hang around long enough to get a better angle.

Wheatear near Sunbiggin Tarn.
There was also two Kestrels in the area one below flew over the car, and also two Heron


Devil's-Bit Scabious & Cuckoo Bumble Bee.
As I was driving away from the area a flock of about 20 Goldfinch flew alongside the car, and then later heading back North on the M6 about 200 Lapwing flew over the M6.

 At 5PM I went up to the flood again, Simon also called up, and we saw 5 Snipe leave the flood heading South-East. The Lapwing numbers were still high and about the same amount of Mallard, and what looked to be a White Wagtail on the far side of the flood.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Patch regaind

Their vans where nothing like this, believe me.

Had a walk up to the flood this morning and it was good to see the last of the gypos were decamping, fair doos though they were at least litter picking, or maybe the powers that be  had  told them to do so.
 Back to birding and on the flood the Lapwings are still building with possibly 300 or more, Mallard where up to 44, and 4 Snipe could be seen in the small area of sedge. There was also a few Stock dove about but none settled anywhere.
Next I made my way down to Thacka lane , the new flood alleviation scheme is coming along quite well. The Thacka beck has been re-routed and now has a nice meander across the new site, where-as before it ran a straight coarse from one side of the site to the other. Also small ponds of varying size have been created, and should increase in size when we have had some decent rain.
As regard birds, the ponds are already beginning to attract a few, over 12 Common Gulls were on one of the ponds a while back and this morning 2 Pied Wagtails on one pond and 2 more on another. Also finches coming out of the Hawthorns to bath in yet another pond, and quite a few Corvids were about, its all looking very promising, digits crossed.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Patching on hold

The Westies, some times birding partners.

Not a lot of patch work at the moment due to the fact that the gypos are back right by the side of the patch, until such times as the police decide to move them on. They don't only spoil it for birders , they also spoil it for lots of other people that choose to walk up in that area of Thacka.  However over the last two visits the main thing of note is that Lapwing numbers have still been climbing with over 2oo on and around the flood at times. Apart from that though there has been little of note, there seems to have been far more of interest in other parts of the country though, Blakeney Point for instance, where every man and his dog has been catching planes trains automobiles and boats to catch the Empidonax !! catch being the word, as I thought it was something that even the strongest antibiotics couldn't cure, the latest NHS problem. But no its another one of our American cousins having been blown unceremoniously across the pond to land on our welcoming shores.
Full marks though to those who made the effort , and came back triumphantly with splendid photos to prove that it was in fact a bird and not the latest pandemic.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A mixed bag at the flood

Exocet Cuckoo, St,Mary's Scilly's
Had a look in at the flood yesterday, Lapwing numbers down with only about 20 and even less Mallard, although late afternoon they were beginning to flock in again. However there was a Kestrel sat on pole, 3 Stock Dove, 1 Meadow Pipit, and a Grey Wagtail, and the Juv. Dunlin was still with us, milling about with the Lapwings.
       I had a walk up this morning with the Westies, and Lapwing numbers were up again with possibly over 200, good numbers of Mallard and Starling, also 2 Snipe, and a brief spell of sun showed their plumage off great.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A little wader on the flood

Reed head with web Leighton Moss

Took the Westies up to the flood twice today, and after giving them  a walk I  started to scope the flood. First impression was just the usual stuff on, then from a load of rubble two heads popped up, snipe but needed a better view point to scope them properly. So I plodded up to the top wall, this gives a view about 90* to the first position. As regards the snipe I hadn't gained much of an advantage, so started scoping the Lapwings, while doing so another flew in and disturbed a small wader, although at first I thought it was another Starling till I focused correctly, and it turned out to be a juvenile Dunlin.
   I called up again at about 5pm and John was already there telling me that said wader was still pottering about. There was also a good number of Mallard on again, and before I left the place was heaving with Pied Wagtails, it looks like this is happening most evenings.

Monday, 20 September 2010

A little twitch

Took the Westies for their walk this morning, and scoured the flood with the bins. Nothing out of the ordinary, the usual flock of Lapwing, a few mallard, one or two Starling, and that was about it .
         So time to exit the county for a change and have a little twitch, (a visit to the chemist) no seriously in blustery conditions I headed down into Lancashire and Fairhaven lake to have a look at the little Red -necked Phalarope. OK it was only a juv. but still good to see, the only downside was trying to get a photo with my poor lens , a buffeting wind with rain, and a tiny little wader bobbing up and down like a cork.

I know its crap, but it is a RNP.
 There was a lady there, who shall we say has seen 21 a few times, covered from head to toe in combat cat suit, and because her camera and lens was covered in the same material I didn't see it until she moved. My God it was like a bloody Howitzer, it was nearly as big as herself as she was only tiny.
        Next I moved on to Marshside, nothing out of the ordinary, good flock of Godwits from Sandgrousers, also 4 Greenshank, and numbers of Pink feet building nicely, loads of Starlings and Lapwings. From Nel's hide Teal and Pintail are also beginning to build up.
        On my way home I called at Leighton Moss only looking in at the causeway hide where 2 Black terns were giving good views, a small flock of Redshanks were on the small island in front of the hide, and that was about it apart from the usual stuff.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A fall of Wagtails

Had a couple of trips up to the flood yesterday with varying results. Mid morning very little on a few Mallard and that was about it. Then went up at 5 to walk the Westies still not a lot going on, a few more mallard and one or two Lapwings beginning to appear, plus a few Starlings.
        I had another look in at 7pm. there was about 50 Lapwings Mallard numbers were up to about 30, but nowhere near the numbers flighting (new word) in compared to the other night when John and myself were up there, it was a continuous stream of Mallard flighting in. By the time we left there could have been close on 100 Mallard on the flood. The best thing about last nights visit was the amount of Pied Wagtails milling about all over the grass and around the flood, and there was one or two Whites mixed in. They were feeding around the horses where there would be more insects being disturbed, then one of the horses snorted and about 50 wags lifted off and headed South West, even so there was still a few milling about on the field and on the flood.

When the sun starts to set at the flood
you have to change your view point
otherwise you can't see a thing.

The sun and birds I love em both

Took the Westies for their morning walk this morning, and the Lapwing were up to 100 Mallard numbers had dropped, there was about 30 or so Starlings , a few Corvids about , a Stock-dove on the wires, and a  Kestrel flew in briefly, the first I have seen up there for a while.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Thacka, ups and downs

So we had a couple of Ruff call in at the flood, does this mean we have to pay for it in the next few days by having nothing at all. Well that's exactly what happened, some days not even a Lapwing or a Mallard. At the moment there doesn't seem any reason for it, unless they are being disturbed by people with Lurchers, as one or two have been seen from time to time, but no real evidence.

one of Thacka's resident Blue Tits.

I was up at the flood last night and things have started to return, eg. approx. 2 hundred Lapwings, and this morning possibly the highest number of Mallard I have seen on there.
There was also a Snipe visible, and believe me after the last few days this is good, maybe the bad  weather had brought everything back to shelter, I bet the lads on the coast are having a field-day.  
A few times when Ive been up there walking the Westies the sky has been full of Swallows and House Martins, maybe heading South but looked to be just milling around and feeding.

Monday, 6 September 2010

A bit of Ruff

The flood has been dead for weeks and we were all getting a bit despondent. Then yesterday I was sat at home just having 5 as you do, when off goes my phone and its John the birder. I'm at the flood and I'm looking at a Ruff says He. I'm out of the chair and grabbing my scope before you can say Jack-snipe. When I got up there Roy had beat me to it, so that made 3 of us 3 and a half if you count Roy's son. By the time I'm stood beside them we are looking at 2 Ruff.  
Ruff Thacka flood, apologies for poor quality
but as the saying goes, its a record shot.
Also for the first time this season 3 Snipe, gulls where coming and going and the usual flock of Lapwings was there.
       I called up a couple of time today, but I could only find 1 Ruff, and 1 Snipe, about 100 or so Starlings where mixing in with the Lapwing. I was just leaving in the car when a load of Goldfinches flew over the car, hard to count when driving but guesstimate would be at least 30 possibly more.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Spot the golf ball

Yesterday by lunch time my Daughter and I had finished work around the house and didn't really want to wast the beautiful sunshine. It was suggested we make a recon. of the route up to Cross Fell on the Pennines. So we set off with no intention of doing the whole climb, just having a look at the first half of the climb. The overall plan was to do the clime sometime in the future with the intention of having a look for Dotterel.
       However we just seem to keep going aiming for the next point on the horizon then the next and so on till a few hours later we reached the summit. The weather was fantastic, but the haze lessened the view. I wandered around the top and scrutinized it with the bins but unfortunately no Dotterel. We did see a few Buzzard, lots of Meadow Pipits, and heard but could not pick up a Peregrine.

Yours truly on top of Cross Fell
golf ball in distance, radar on Great Dun Fell.
Not much else been happening really, had a ride over to Bassenthwaite, but not a lot about. The Ospreys have now gone South, the two young (radio tagged) had reached France and Portugal.
            There are strange goings on though around the Lake as another Osprey nest seems to be in the early stages of being built, this time close to the water very low down. Male seen carrying sticks ? could be interesting next year, watch this space.
              Not much happening on the flood, which is drying up fast, still the usual crowed of Lapwings and Mallard, and a mix of Gulls, Black-headed, Lesser Black-back, and Common. o n a walk round today I picked up 3 Buzzard, 2 on one pylon one on another.