Goldeneye Male and Female
I decided to take an afternoon trip out to a couple of birding locations before I started work at 5. My first visit was Blackburn quarry just on the Northumberland border where potential Peregrines were to be seen. It was quite dull weather wise as I was making my way up the track to the quarry with just a couple of distant Red Grouse on show. When I arrived at the quarry there was no sign of the Peregrine in the area so it gave me the opportunity to walk up close to the quarry and check out the area properly as I had nothing to disturb. The sheer size and height of the quarry was superb and it was rewarding to know that the revolution of man in modern times as provided some positive effects on Wildlife in producing these great nesting sites for the raptors.
I moved onto Tindale Tarn hoping for better outcomes but to be fair it was a miserable day and was not expecting to much. A pair of Smew were showing well both the Drake and the red head. The birds have recently move here from Talkin Tarn. Three Goldeneye as well. Got to hear the male's funny call as well! Sounds like a man chocking on a Hobnob.
Drake and Red Head Smew
I was happy with the record pictures of the Smew and it was time for my shift at work so I headed back to the car after having my sandwich and a lovely muffin in the bird hide. I noticed a female RSPB worker drive past me twice back and forward from the offices and she seemed to be quite a milf so that was another bit of good news for the day. Another great highlight on the walk back was a Weasel running straight past me on the track and into a hole in the long reed grass. I tried to follow it but they are far to quick. I chased a Stoat once on the golf course and managed to keep up with it as it was also chasing a Rabbit. After failing to catch it I moved back to play my next golf shot.
Male Smew, Beauty of a bird!
Talkin Tarn, Magic Light
Talkin Tarn, Silhouette Shot
Two Goosander in the forground
Sunday Midday start for John Milo and I as we headed off to Talkin Tarn the first port of call. Our Target bird was Long Tailed Duck that had been present there all week. We parked roadside by the old tarn hotel because tight Yorkshire git John knows the score when it comes to saving a penny or two.
After Scanning for five minutes we did get the Long Tailed Duck and what a beautiful bird they are I might add, the LTD was in the mid sector of the tarn so no chance of any half decent photo records for the blog. I managed to get this nice continuous sequence of a diving female Tufty though....
Pink Footed Goose, Crosby
Redshank, Port Carlisle
We moved onto the Solway by Port Carlisle and we got Red Shank, Little Egret, Teal, Dunlin. John was kicking off with all the Sunday drivers as we made our way along the Solway as he was tail gating pensioners enjoying a nice trip out in their Little Nissan. "Flaming get a move on man!"
We made our way to Campfield Marsh nature reserve for the chance of Hen Harrier which has been sighted coming into roost during the winter season. We arrived at the hide with another half dozen present. All the shallow waters on the marsh were still frozen over so there was nothing else to look out for other than Passing by raptors and the main event Male Hen Harrier.
Male Hen Harrier
We waited for about 45 minutes in patience and as the other birders left my dad called that the harrier could well be here in the next 5 min as the light was dropping. I was ratching around in the RSPB pin badges box and they were all boring flowers except a Sand Lizard badge which I thought I have to have. As John went round the back for a pish It appeared in clear view and with my delight I shouted for John and we watched the Harrier put on a great show for around 15 min coming as close as 50 yards! It happened just after I took that pin badge so I called it my lucky Lizard! then I wore my Lucky Lizard the next day to watch the Leeds v Carlisle match at Elland Road and we lost 2-1 so I chucked the flaming Lizard as it didn't work any more! that lasted long....
Male Hen Harrier, Campfield Marsh
Pink Footed Goose, Crosby
As I was on my way to Work in mid January I noticed a gathering of Geese and Swans on the airport road opposite Crosby-on-Eden so I parked FAP ( My tip of an auto mobile) at the side of the road and got the Binos out to ID them. A gathering of Greylag with a couple of Pink Footed Geese in amongst them. A group of Hooper Swans to the right of the Geese as well...nice surprise. Got the old Nikon p90 out to get a few record shots then I was on my way to work...Done
Whooper Swan's, Crosby