Sunday, 6 January 2013

Only the Waxwings

Out of Waldridge this morning but on my return I saw the 9 Waxwing that are still present at lunchtime. They are now in the trees opposite the Whitehills pub.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Waxwings keep coming (and going)

9 Waxwing were at the junction of Waldridge Road and Whitehills Way early afternoon but I could not find the bigger flock either in the railway station or community hospital area earlier. Perhaps the flock has broken up.
Down at the river its still quiet with the water level so high and fast flowing only the Goosander seem to be able to feed in it. The Mute Swans, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen and Coot are all seemingly replying on being fed by the public. There are no Geese or Whopper Swan around at the moment
On the bend of the river north of the sewage works the two Common Seal were feeding quite successfully. I thought with the river being so high they might have tried making it back downstream to the sea, but seem happy to be staying around here. Considering how well they are feeding it not surprisingly really.
Nothing else around except for 2 decent groups of Long-tailed Tit and a few common ruderal plants in flower such as Oxford Ragwort and Dandelion.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Waxwings are here again.

There were 40 Waxwings around last night in the railway station area and this morning they were to be seen by the railway bridge by Avondale  Terrace / Bullion Lane.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Fewer is better

The morning was spent on the fell trying to get a few more species added, though that was after getting the birds of the day whilst I was down in the town centre early on. Near the hospital a flock of 18 Waxwing flew over, circled over ARGOS, then back towards the hospital.

By 10:30 I was on the fell, covered in mud as everywhere is not just wet but flooded. Several inches of soaking sticky mud making walking very difficult on every path or area of grass. The ponies and Highland Cattle are doing a fine job of tramping and churning up the area. Just what's needed.

Looking quite pleased with a job well done

The next best birds of the day were a group of 4 Crossbill, all green birds calling a characteristic  'chip-chip-chip' as they  flew over the South Burn Woods. A Willow Tit called and showed in the thick scrub, more than it did yesterday.
On the fell, a  few other birds also showed which they didn't do on the 1st including KestrelGoldcrest, Nuthatch and Siskin. 3 more Crossbill, I assume a different group, as one was red male, which also flew over.

Kestrel - one of 3 birds seen on the fell this morning

Other bits and pieces seen were the Yellow Brain (or Golden Jelly) Fungus, Tremella sp. probably T. messentrica and the Fairy cup lichen Cladonia fimbriata

Yellow Brain Fungus
Fairy Cup Lichen 

Certainly less species than yesterday but the Waxwing and Crossbill were better birds and my bird list is now 54.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A new year but not started with a bang.

Back with a new year but not a big bang. It's been a quiet couple of months, hence the lack of activity on this blog and today wasn't much of an improvement. I was up before dawn, walked down to the Riverside, along the river and the A167 to Chester Moor, then the Fell and woods. Unlike last year I didn't get wet but it was cold and windy and the only plant in flower noted was Gorse.

Gorse - always in flower on the 1st day of the year
Very hard work for 41 species with a number of common species in hiding today. No Buntings, Wren or Coal Tit and there was no sign of the Whooper Swan on the river either. The park was very wet with the river lapping onto the adjacent path. I was told that same path was under water yesterday and  the level has dropped considerably in the last 24 hours. Goosanders were very prominent today, all along the river. In fact I had three flying over Chester Farm before I even got to the river this morning. Despite the high levels a Dipper flew by and did a sharp turn up the Cong Burn but no Cormorant.  The little wildlife area produced the only Jay and 13 Goldfinch of the day as well as a Grey Squirrel but the little pond there is certainly not little at the moment. 
38 Curlew were feeding in a flooded field alongside the road as I headed off.
6 Grey Partridge were nice as this species is no longer common around here (or anywhere these days)  but there are still a few about. They may well have been the birds of the day.

Pheasant and Grey Partridges

A skein of 15 Grey Lag Geese flew over the fell when I arrived but generally not much else.  I called it a day by 11:25 and  finished knackered.

Grey Lag over the fell