Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunny Patching

What a difference a week can make.

Since last Sunday's post, I have twisted my back dragging a dumpy bag of logs and have been in pain all week, I have had a bit of a thing on one of our local What'sApp bird groups, that has resulted in me bowing out ( it was just getting a bit too fussy for me, so no hard feelings to anyone reading this) and I have had a right old debate on Twitter about a certain gull north of the border and whether it is right to add it to a life list. (No, of course it isnt!).

Social Media and me definately have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I cant stand it and think 'thats it, I'm packing it all in' then, there are good days with some interesting snippets of info that could not be found elsewhere. Its these things that are educational, funny and interesting that keep me on it.

With that put behind me it was a relief to get out on the patch again. Saturday was very windy and just a bit uncomfortable, but today has been a glorious sunny, cold, calm one.

Nothing of note was seen on Saturday really though I did take a photo of a House Spider, Tegenaria sp, in our boiler shed. I am faffing around with flash, trying to get it to help me take some sharp record shots when there is not enough ambient light. Its all in the 'diffusion' of light so as the image doesnt come out too harsh with dark shadows. My home made diffuser, constructed out of a plastic chinese takeaway carton, some tin foil and a piece of kitchen roll fitted on the front of a 30 yr old flash gun seems to be working. Here is the image below -

Today, John couldnt get out until later on, so it was back onto the patch first thing.

On a morning like today's I feel so lucky to live in a spot like this. No inland urban reservoir for me. The views are lovely.

I began down at the Rumbling Kern. Here is a good stand and watch spot, in a way, its my own East Bank / Patch / Narrow Neck . Its a good open vista looking at the sea, the rocky shore and is backed by some degraded scrub. In the past, it has held Red backed Shrike and Olive backed Pipit in season and it could always produce again. Today I was hoping for lesser fry such as Bar tailed Godwit or Lesser black backed Gull but there was little moving. On the calm water was a single Red throated Diver, 10 Goldeneye, 1 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 10+ Eider and a Porpoise was hunting below.  The rocks held 6+ Turnstone and a Purple Sandpiper with 108+ Curlew in the field behind. On my way back up, the old muck heap by the layby had one each of Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

The Rumbling Kern view point. No freshwater here, but it still hold some variety.

The track to the right of the first shot viewing south. Some scrub that holds a few migrants in season.

The view north over the bathing house towards Dunstanburgh Castle.

Behind the watchpoint is Seahouses farm. It has an old barn dump and some straggly gorse and dog rose. Stright in off the north sea, whats not to like.
John turned out to join me at about 9.30am so we had a walk through the Howick Estate just a few hundred metres inland from the coast.

Crossbills were very active with at least 7+ birds calling and flying around, but there could be double this. I hope they are nesting nearby? A singing male Siskin was my only new list addition of the weekend. In February and March up here patch listing is a case of diminshing returns, with this little songster lifting me to 97 sp. Also in here were 6+ Bullfinch, 3+ Jay, 4+ Nuthatch, 12 Tufted Duck, 3 Teal, 3 Mallard, 1+ Buzzard and a fly over Brambling.

3 Roe Deer added to the interest as did the first Hoverfly of 2019, an Eristalis tenax female.

Above - The Muck Heap Grey Wagtail.

Song Thrush.
Eristalis tenax, a female, according to Hoverflies UK.
At dusk, a trip to the bottle bank at Craster found two seperate Barn Owls, 1 near the Arnold Reserve and 1 near the Cottage Inn. Still a lot of sparrows were at our feeders with 38 Tree and 30 House Sparrows making good inroads into the feed left for them.

I am off work on Wednesday, dog sitting so, weather permitting I'll get out again to break up the working week...

A 300mm shot of Dunstanburgh Castle and Cullernose Point taken from Rumbling Kern... 

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