Monday, 7 March 2011

Beans on Patch!

A meal interrupted perhaps.

7th March. Despite the sun which drew me out onto patch today it was deceptively cold as I made for the wagon-way. I noticed on the way that a very nice area of scrub and bush which attracted birds has been dug up and flattened. I guess we have more brick and concrete to look forward to! The noisy Long Tailed Tit I found in the hedge along the pathway took thoughts of concrete from my mind.

Once onto the wagon-way proper I spent sometime taking in a very good sighting of two Grey Partridges feeding along by the hedge-way, both in excellent light. At least three piles of pigeon feathers give away that a predator had been around recently. A little bit further along the path I found another headless pigeon and suspect disturbance had interrupted the meal!

I found the Greenfinches especially loud this afternoon, and in the trees just before hitting the roadway again there was a large party of feeding and calling Goldfinches.

Once over the road and onto the wagon-way leading to Holystone I found three Mistle Thrush and several Stock Doves in what had initially looked to be a deserted field. There was no sign of any Lapwings which I seem to remember had been around in numbers this time last year. I got my eye on two waterfowl in the distance down beside the small flash. They looked ‘different’ even at distance so I made off to take a closure look. They turned out to be a new patch tick. They were definitely tundra Bean Geese. I took special note of the dark colouring, the bill marking and structure, and I also had a brief sighting of one of the bird’s legs which was showing well in the sunlight and it was distinctively orange. Whilst I was taking in the sighting I heard a Kestrel calling. There were no other waterfowl or waders in the area. I noticed another guy taking a look at these birds from the wagon-way opposite. I had first seen the birds shortly before 15:20 and they flew off towards the Tyne area at around 15:45. I’ve been keeping an aye on this particular area since watching the Short Eared Owls here almost two years ago. Up until today I hadn’t found anything I could say was out of the ordinary here. I’m very pleased with this sighting however.

On my return walk a dog disturbed two Skylarks and they took off in front of me. I checked out the pylons and found a Kestrel on top of the tallest steel pylon. The bird soon flew down to a lower level. Gulls flew in number in the distance over what I think is a landfill area. It gave the effect of grey and white objects in the air as the birds manoeuvred.

As I neared the end of the circular walk I listened to the song of Song Thrush and watched another Song Thrush feeding on the ground. Another party of Goldfinches fed and called in the trees. I found a Lesser Black Backed Gull in the distance. Temperatures were dropping by now so I made for home.


  1. Its always good to get a new bird on the patch especially one as difficult as Bean Geese, I hope they stay in the area and give my patch a visit

  2. I agree Phil. One of the real joys of birding.
    Maybe Cramlington is on their itinerary!:-)

  3. Nice one Brian.
    Oh, i forgot to mention that your reflection images were smart.

  4. A cracking find, sounds like a better sighting that my first. They were 2 miles away and seen during horrible weather where it was windy, and cold. It took me about 30 mins to find them in the flock of Pinkys.

  5. It's fab that you saw those Tundra's!

    You have a really good eye, as there are probably loads of other local birders who will have missed them, lol.

  6. Thanks for the comments guys.

    I've never found the area where I saw the Bean Geese to be a big draw for birders to be honest. I've rarely seen anyone, so I think it is a case of 'not looking' rather than 'missing' them.:-) Cheers. Brian.