Monday, February 06, 2017

Prestwick Carr.

Often we see the names of places or birding sites reported time and again, but they don't really register with us.

Prestwick Carr is one such place for me, sited between Newcastle Airport and Ponteland, this unusual historical boggy upland-in-the-lowlands spot is a real piece of wilderness right on the edge of urban Tyneside. Indeed, this morning after my visit, I drove for 20 minutes along to the Metro Centre, one of the larges malls in Europe, but when standing on the track north through the Carr, you could be a million miles away. This was the site of breeding Wood Sandpiper way back in 1853, so, it really does have history!

The Shrike was on those tiny bushes in the field.

Here they are from a different angle, over to the right hand side.

The site consists of lowland bog with huge rushy fields and flat flooded areas that look great for waders. There are scattered birches and hawthorns and a wood full of Scots Pine. An ideal spot for a wintering Great Grey Shrike you might say.

And so my visit today was to catch up with Exubitor that has been here since late autumn, favouring the northern end of the track. I found the bird quite easily today, sitting out in the bright sunshine on small stunted hawthorns. Quite distant, as is the way of Great Grey Shrikes, but good scope views were had in nice light.

The bird perched up on top, waving its tail from side to side scanning the ground for a vole or wren to pounce on. It seemed to have a larder low in a small thorn bush where it kept vanishing too from time to time.

Above, Great Grey Shrike, doing what shrikes do...

Living in the north of the county, Prestwick Carr is not somewhere I visit, I think I've only been once, maybe 20 years ago to see, another Great Grey! Its quite nice here though so I might come back. Before the next 20 years anyway....

Also today here were 3 Willow Tits, 40 Golden Plover, 3 Snipe, 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and a Fieldfare.


Steve Gale said...

Those three Willow Tits would be much bigger news down here than the Shrike Stewart.

Stewart said...

Sad times Steve. We still have a few around where I live too, but they are quite scattered in Northumberland these days, where as Marsh Tits are a rare sight requiring a trip to known locations....They were a garden bird for me 8 years ago!

Unknown said...

Photographed 3 short eared owls 1 being of light phrase variety 11/2/19 also jack merlin 16/2/19 .