Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Out before breakfast this morning for a seawatch wasn't too successful. I only gave it 20 minutes because most of the little that was passing was very distant. Of note I did have -

Red throated Diver 1N, 3 on the sea.
Velvet Scoter 3N
Bonxie 1S.

The stormy weather has removed all of the deciduous leaves from the village copse, so what few birds there were, were in the garden and back hedge. 16 Blackbirds were new in and 3 Tree Sparrows were with 35+ House Sparrows at the feeders.

In the coast path field a few birds were feeding in the cow trodden wet grass - 25 Curlew, 8 Redshanks, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Grey Partridge.

I had just buttered some toast back home when 'the birder formerly known as' Newton Stringer rang to say he had caught a Pallas's Warbler and a Mealy Redpoll and did I want to see them? Not wishing to appear rude, I downed toast and coffee and legged it.

Male Mealy Redpoll

Pallas's Warbler (top one is mine, bottom three courtesy of Gary Woodburn)

Also here were a second Pallas's, a Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcaps.

Figuring I was on a roll, news was coming through that the Squacco Heron was back on site at Morpeth and showing well.

The forecast for tomorrow isn't looking good so I dashed the 20 miles south and found the Squacco to be out in the open on the shingle of the river bank. In the hour I watched, it was in view most of the time, but not once did I see it eat anything. It picked up leaves, grass stalks and a thistle, and looked quite hungry. Maybe the prey isnt in the shallows at this time of year? I hope people dont push it too hard...

Squacco Heron with flotsam...

Before I go, I was looking up Squacco status in Northumberland today. This is the fourth record, but while looking I find that between 1874 - 1890 Howick Hall has hosted Squacco (shot in mistake for an owl), Little Bittern (shot) and Night Heron! Not bad...


Steve Gale said...

What a hat-trick! You'd better put the moth trap out Stewart, you're on a roll!

Alan Tilmouth said...

Interesting comment about the feeding or lack of, I wonder if the heavy rain Mon/Tues and the subsequent 'soiled' and heavier flow are responsible? You can't catch what you can't see.

Anonymous said...

"It was catching alot of small fish" -

Stewart said...

Steve - Its winter up here, 0.5 degrees, and not a leaf to be seen!

Alan - Herons eyesight is adapted to see through murky water. If you photograph them froma hessian hide they can see through the weave of the cloth!

Anon - Thats good, puts my mind to rest.