Friday, 20 April 2007

20th April - Fast Cars

A busy week at work this week, so a trip into Carlisle this evening was a welcome break! Not much bird wise in the city except lots of Lesser Black-backed Gulls! Anyway there was lots of fast cars driving through the city centre. I got talking to one guy and he challenged me to some illegal street race, I had to borrow his mates Car. We sped off and cained it around a multi story car park. Carlisle drift was a driving skill I had to learn fast. It entailed reversing around a corner, yanking on the handbreak whilst standing on my head and shouting "GERTROOD". Anyway I soon mastered it and won the race! Although this was an illegal street race, the King of Carlisle was so impressed she gave me the key to the city!

Errrr, ok, that was not entirely true...............but I did see some fast cars!

15th April - A Trip to Northumberland

Well Craig kneed me in the nuts and twisted my arm behind my back so I had to go birding with him to Northumberland! Saw two Swallows not far from my house before we were on our way east. First stop was just across the border at Grindon Lough where we saw four Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the shore line, very few other waders apart from a couple of Dunlin and a few Redshank and Lapwing. My first Willow Warbler of the year was singing nearby!
The next stop was Newbiggin. A scan through the gulls and Craig picked out a weird small 1st summer gull with a black hood. It was the size of a Black-headed Gull, structurally similar to this species also. However it was quite long-legged and and the bill structure was somewhere between that of a Black-headed Gull and a Med Gull. Weird! The upper wing pattern was spot on for a Med Gull, but the wing shape was spot on for Black-headed Gull. Freaky! I phoned it out as a presumed Med x Black-headed Gull, but after posting pics on Birdforum the general consensus was that it was just a runt Med Gull. Hmmm what do I know eh?

dmskjbhdbsnfkljowe'fkp[ewkf;mew,lf;,w. fekjwfnio'ew. Sorry about that, a cat just ran across my keyboard............strange, I don't have a cat!

Next we went to Linton Ponds to look for a Glaucous Gull that had been present the previous day. No sign but lots of nice ducks to look at and some entertaining graffiti to read!

Cresswell was a bit disappointing as the water levels were quite high, however a female Smew was a pleasant surprise. No sign of the wintering Shore Lark though!

East Chevington was also a bit of a disappointment with very few birds of note.

Once back home after a bit of a poor days birding what should turn up, but a White Stork at Linton Ponds!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

10th April - Lesser Scaup again!

The Lesser Scaup was still at Holyrood Park and I had to head up to the office again. The weather was brighter than the previous visit, but it was a lot breezier, in fact there were a few thirty footers swelling up on the loch. Once I had finished surfing I got some excellent views of the Lesser Scaup again. Despite the difficult light I managed some more reasonable shots of the bird. It was time to head back to the office, this time I managed to take the correct turn. Amazingly I made such good time that I arrived in 1926, though no sign of the office, just nowt but fields!

3rd April - Lesser Scaup

Rare birds on the way to work, whatever next! Yes it is true, a very showy 1st drake Lesser Scaup was at St Margaret's Loch in Holyrood Park in the middle of Edinburgh. This was just a few miles from my office which I actually positively definitely had to visit today! I arrived at St Margaret's Loch and it took me all of half a second to locate the Lesser Scaup feeding some five yards from the loch (pond) side! The bird was feeding actively with the Tufted Ducks. Although this was the 560,938,222 Lesser Scaup I have seen this month It was the first drake I have the opportunity to photograph (or should that be digigraph?). It was a cracking bird and gave excellent views.

I couldn't spend too much time watching the bird as I had to get back to the office for work. Of course I took a wrong turn and we ended up in the middle of the city! 72 hours later that day I arrived at the office and for some unknown reason I was wearing clogs and a top hat!