Thursday, 13 October 2011

Balcary & WT Eagle on Geltsdale.......

Hello everyone, another eventful few days back on the borders. The weather is still poor with wet spells and overcast conditions. Still manged to get out and about along with sorting out my photos, prints and doing Sea Life Surveys blog to finish off the season up there. A trip north to the Scots side to Balcary a fantastic coastal route to see what was happening there, also an unbelievable day on the 13th of the month where we got an immature WT Eagle on Gdale!

A trip to Yorkshire on Monday 10th and it was for a game of golf at Alwoodly with Greevy, Oli and Jimmy Milo my brother. We played in a Pro-am and we all struggled in constant rain but we did see 2 Red Kites, Roe Deer, Sparrowhawk and two Grey Squirrels on the course. A fantastic golf course full of mature broad leaf with plenty of Jays taking advantage of the Oak trees.

On the way back home we stopped at Scots corner service station as we did on the way down on the previous day. We went in the shop and me and Oli managed to spend 5 quid plus on crisps and junk and I did my usual news agent routine and cover up the fox and hound monthly magazine with something that would be a 'better' read like Hello magazine or Celeb Gossip Weekly.


RT Diver and Guillemot

On the 12th of October I headed over the border to cover the Solway from the scots side. I was joined by Danny and Greevy and we headed off at about half 10. We decided on going to Balcary which is a fantastic coastal stretch that is great for sea watching at this time of year. We started off with 3 Red Throated Divers and big rafts of Common Scoter further out. I managed to pick up a Porpoise close to the shore as well which was nice to see on the Solway after all my cetacean success in the summer. Three Ravens showing in flight around the steep cliff face but no sign of the Peregrines today.

RT Diver

everyone is Raven about this bird.....except Popz

We carried on further west over the steep terrain and decided to have a break from the wildlife and play the new found coastal game Sea Treasure Shootout (STS) where you get items that have been washed up on the shore like shoes and bottles and prop them up on a huge rock and from 25 ft away you take it in turns throwing smaller stones and pebbles to knock the objects off. We had a few great games with the highlight been taking ages trying to knock the flip flop off at the end of one of the STS games. What?......who won did you ask?......yeah I won all three......I'm not the best STS player in the world.....but i'm in the top one.

Raven, Up there with Dolphins on intelligence

We scanned the seas again after the fun and games and got a lot of feeding activity with small hurries of Gulls further out and 2-3 Porpoise in around them. Another 4 RT Divers closer to shore along with another Porpoise. We carried on around the circular route and back round to the car. No further excitement to follow just Danny getting scared by a few cows the soft jessie!

3 birds seen and heard

We didn't call in at any other sites on the way back as the weather was still dull and after a great walk around Balcary we decided next stop was KFC at Gretna Services. We pulled in and for the second day running we visited this service station after me and greevy called in from a trip to Hightae to see Rachel on the Tuesday. The set up at Gretna services is top class and the staff are very friendly in particular the enthusiastic staff member at KFC who was very polite on both of my appearances to the restaurant, great to see. Popped into WHSmiths on the way out and covered up the shit magazines before moving on south again back to Carlisle. Andy Mcgreevy was calling me Alan Partridge because I visit so many services and get food there.

WT Eagle at Tindale getting mobbed by Jackdaws

A simply amazing day on the Thursday! Woke up as normal and was doing a few odd jobs in the house and getting ready to head out in the field when the phone rang and it was RSPB Geltsdale warden Stephen Westerberg reporting......"White-Tailed Eagle on Geltsdale reserve at Tindale!" I headed straight round and joined by the RSPB staff we watched the immature bird by the edge of the tarn drinking, preening and bathing before being disturbed by walkers and taking flight right above us! It circled for five minutes before heading west towards the solway direction and Cain and Ciara unfortunately just missed the bird as they arrived minutes later after Cain got lost. We went to Talkin Tarn afterwards and got Redpoll and a single Brambling around the tarn.

WT Eagle and two Jackdaws overhead

The bird did not have any wing tags which rules it out from being a Scottish east coast introduced bird so it would be either a west coast bird or a bird from over the north sea. So special to see a WT Eagle in Cumbria and on Geltsdale its self and it tops all my Mull eagle encounters with ease as it is on my patch! 3 Barnacle Geese near the tarn also and Pintail seen the day after. An eagle sighting was reported a few days later (16th) on the west Cumbrian coast so very likely to be the same bird and it must still be in the region.

heading west towards Solway

The next day I was asked to do a small article for Raptor Politics about the special day its self and how they must of 'followed' me down from Mull!..........scroll down the page for my article..............

Phonejacker seen in Hightae

While I was in Hightae on the Scottish borders this week the wildlife was quiet but I came across phonejacker off the tv in the village phone box.......

Andy Mcgreevy a GWW follower....

Thanks for reading everyone, the autumn colours are getting better and a lot of good birds are turning up near by so I am going to be out in the field as much as possible to make the most of the opportunities. Also a trip to see the Red Deer ruts will be in store with the location most likely to be my favorite place in England, Haweswater. Will also be trying to keep tabs on this eagle as the more eyes the better to monitor its movements.


  1. So your the guy I've heard about, mixing all the magazines up. I hope your not spending too much time sorting the ones on the top shelf! :)
    Good read. Cheers Brian.

  2. haha yh its all a distraction brian so I can focus on the ones on the top shelf ha!