Sunday, 30 October 2011
30th Oct. Yes, it appears to have 'floated away' and left only a gulls paddling pool!
The information board by the side of the lake gives us all information on the benefits of the reed-bed. This includes the removal of pollution and hence the cleaning of the water! mmmmmmmmm!
I can't blame North Tyneside Council for the two savage winters we have had over the past two years and maybe they have not acted to try and restore the reed-bed because they are expecting another savage winter. If they are I hope that they have plenty of salt for the roads, unlike last year. (I can blame them for just leaving this in an awful state). Hopefully we will see some work done on this now pathetic looking structure in the future. Great shame if it is just forgotten as it had attracted some decent birds including Water Rail last year and sheltering migrant Common Sandpiper, my first seen on patch two years ago. I think I shall write to my Councillor as they always like to write to me, at least they do when there is an election coming up. I've already reported it to someone in the Parks Department.
Out for less than an hour today. Just enough time to find that the two Little Grebe are still on the lake. I couldn't find the Goldeneye today and found only two of the four Goosander seen a few days ago. A Sparrowhawk flew over the smaller lake.
Looking forward to a nice trip tomorrow to end the month on a high.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
27th Oct. Alerted to the fact that Richard's Pipit and Yellow-browed Warbler were being reported at St Mary’s Island today, despite the threatening rain, I set off mid afternoon to take a look. On arrival I bumped into both Northumbrian Birding and Sedgedunum Birder. The pipit had flown, but after a bit of a wait the Yellow-browed Warbler was found. Not a brilliant sighting, as it wasn’t showing well, and accompanying Goldcrest and Blue Tits were not making it easy to track. I did finally get a couple of sightings that I was satisfied with before the area seemed to go very quiet indeed. So I have finally caught up with the Yellow-browed Warbler this year.
Despite the rain I decided to walk to Seaton Sluice. As the light was going and I was soaking up the rain I called a halt at Hartley. I don’t mind walking in rain and the atmosphere was good this evening with only the flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing in the fields as company for most of the walk. I disturbed a large squealing Brown Rat near the mounds. I took a short look over the sea and found a Red Throated Diver flying north but little else apart from Cormorants, Gulls and a flock of in flight Eider Ducks. There was little to no wind and the quietness allowed me to take in fully the sounds of the pounding sea and calling birds.
I was at Low Newton yesterday, 26th Oct, in very different weather. I’d forgotten that it was half term and so the area wasn’t quite as peaceful as I had expected, but walking the area was enjoyable. Hoped for migrant birds were not about. There was little to be seen over or on the sea although Gannets and Common Scoter were found. Waders seen were Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew. I found five Purple Sandpipers on the edge of the rocky area and the Golden Plover were a splendid sight in the sun, on one occasion flying low directly overhead.
The bird of the day was a first winter Little Gull watched from the hide as it landed on the pool.
I was told by someone visiting the area and sporting expensive binoculars that they had found an Olivaceous Warbler down the track from the church opposite the car park. I took a look, but I found nothing more than a Chiffchaff. It does look a good little area to look at however.
Monday, 24 October 2011
Autumn leaves under frozen soles,
Hungry hands turning soft and old,
My hero cried as we stood out their in the cold,
Like these autumn leaves I don't have nothing to hold.
Paulo Nutini Lyrics
Clifftop abode offering fine sea views. May need a little restoration.:-)
24th Oct. That’s blogs, not my year list! I think my arithmetic is correct. I always write my blog for myself, but hope at least an odd few people get some pleasure from reading it. I follow a few blogs myself, usually ones where the authors love of birds and nature shines through, so thanks to the authors for them. (If you don’t already do so take a look at Geltsdale Wildlifewarrior blog. Always a good read, informative and someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously). You can blame Cain (Holywell Birding) for encouraging me to start my own.:-) It’s fitting that today’s blog focuses on my favourite walk which includes Holywell. Over the past year or two there is someone who has fired my enthusiasm for birding more than I can ever express and I want to dedicate this blog to him. I don’t need to name the guy as he knows who he is, but he has my thanks and more importantly my complete respect. I’m pleased to say, just like me, he enjoys chips and occasionally the odd beer, so if that is not the basis of a great friendship I’m not sure what is!
I was alone today and headed for the Rising Sun Country Park with Jack Snipe in mind. Failed again. At least up to now I haven’t come home and found it on Birdguides. The little detour did bring me a nice sighting of a hunting Kestrel, a few Teal and several healthy looking Greenfinches in the hedges. I didn’t hang around to look for anything else so left after a chat with Graham the caretaker who I have come to know very well.
Soon at St Mary’s Island I got a bit of a shock when I found how strong the winds were and even worse was the fact that it looked quite misty out at sea. I was intending on doing a bit of a seawatch. Fortunately it wasn’t misty enough to stop me, and before I reached Seaton Sluice I had found a couple of sheltered spots to watch from. Top bird of the day was a close up Manx Shearwater heading south just off Hartley. My hopes rose when I found this bird, but they didn’t stay that high for long as there wasn’t much through passage of sea birds whilst I was around. I did find Common Scoters, two or three flocks of Teal and a single Guillemot. Let’s not forget the Eider Ducks!
Is that someone asking ‘what about the Yellow Browed Warbler in the willows at St Mary’s’? All I can say is, what Yellow Browed Warbler?!
As usual the waders saved the day. Just before I entered the luxurious tower hide at Seaton Sluice I found one Purple Sandpiper, two Knot, one Turnstone and several Redshank along with the Oystercatchers just below the hide. A flock of Ringed Plover flew past once I had my position in the hide itself. Other waders seen were Golden Plover, Lapwing, and Curlew. I could swear that hide was rocking with the wind. Oh, and yes two rather late Sandwich Terns were still about. One resting on the rocks and one over the sea.
I have to say the main excitement at sea was not avian, but that which was caused by a sea search. The lifeboat had been out on my arrival at St Mary’s Island and at Seaton Sluice I found folk looking over the sea and was stopped by one of the guards and asked to keep an eye out for a body! It seems a Jet Ski had been washed ashore with no sign of an owner and it was thought that some one was missing. It wasn’t long before the Helicopter arrived to join in the search. This is the second time I’ve been asked to keep an eye out for a body whilst I’ve been out birding. The first time was at Killingworth Lake when someone had gone missing. I have to say I’m pleased that I didn’t find a body and hope no one has been lost at sea.
I decided after lunch to carry on and walk to Holywell pond via the dene. It would make a fitting blog in the circumstances I thought. I met someone along the way who tells me he walks from Holywell to St Mary’s and back on a regular basis. I find one way tiring enough. Mind you, the person I spoke to doesn’t do the walk carrying his backpack, telescope and tripod!
The dene was once again very quiet. The winds were ensuring the pace of the fall was hotting up. I did have a good sighting of Sparrowhawk. I may have seen more if I had not power walked to get out of the way of the dog walkers. I’m sure Charlie is a very nice dog, but to have the owner blaring out his name every two or three seconds was not what I was after. I think Charlie had earplugs in his lugs as he took not a blind bit of notice. Both dog and owners were friendly and polite (can a dog be polite, I’m not so sure on that one). In fact everyone I met today was polite.
The Avenue, surrounding fields and Holywell Pond were all devoid of much bird life. I did find Stock Doves in the fields and Skylark flying overhead. There was a couple of Grey Heron at the side of the pond, Teal, Mallard and gulls upon it. Lapwings flew to and from the pond area.
I was surprised to find so many Great Black Backed Gulls. Probably taking shelter from the winds at sea I would think. In the fields left of the path to the members hide were over four hundred Great Black Backed Gulls, and yes I counted them.:-) The pond held at least another thirty. In total I reckon over four hundred and fifty Great Black Backed Gulls. In amongst them were Common, Herring and Black Headed Gulls.
As I was chatting to the only other person in the hide I found the air turning colder and the skies turning darker as if a storm was brewing. I decided it was time to head for home. My favourite walk had not brought the excitement that it does on occasions, but I had enjoyed it and it had cleared my head of clutter. The Manx Shearwater had shown as well, if not better, than any I had seen earlier in the year.
Cheers to all enthusiastic bloggers, passionate birders and polite dog owners.:-)
Thursday, 20 October 2011
20th Oct. I’m very much aware that I have neglected the patch recently, but now that we are well into autumn and I can almost feel winter on the way, I took an hour’s walk around the lake.
The first thing that struck me was the growing numbers of Common Gulls. There is still the odd Lesser Black Backed Gull about along with Herring Gulls and the flocks of Black Headed Gulls. The second thing that struck me was the Goosanders are back. At the moment there are four of them, three female and one male in eclipse. The past couple of icy winters have ensured that Goosanders have never been on the lake in any number and have come no where near to reaching the twenty-five plus of three or four years ago years ago. I guess it is too much to hope for a milder winter this year!
I noted that the two Little Grebes remain and there is now one Goldeneye. I was surprised to see so many Cormorants, eighteen in total. Seventeen of them were in a line, some drying out, and one sat in the centre of the lake on some sort of buoy. They all eventually formed a small flotilla on the lake.
The family of seven Greylag Geese remain and stick very closely together, along with circa forty Canada Geese and I counted one hundred and twenty-four Mute Swans. The record breaking total of Mute Swans was circa forty more than this in the middle of last winter when most of the lake was frozen solid for week after week.
Tufted Duck numbers seemed to have risen and Pochard numbers fallen. Mallards, Coots and Moorhens made up the total.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
19th Oct. I stood in the wind at the Rising Sun yesterday and the cold at Cresswell today and on both occasions failed on my quest for Jack Snipe. I have concluded that I am fated to be a Jack Snipe failure, or am I?
Despite no show form Jack Snipe, today did have some rewards. On approaching Creswell Pond today I was greeted by flocks of Lapwing flying in the sunlight. I soon got my eyes on the flock of Whooper Swans on the west side of the pond. It was the 6th November last year when I had watched 70 plus Whooper Swans on a misty Creswell Pond, and I remember that day as if it were yesterday. A quick count today came to sixty-four, but it was a quick count and I no doubt missed one or two. Could it be the same birds passing through I thought. In the distance, dots in the sky, rather like dots that I joined up as a child to make a picture, soon proved to be circa eight hundred Pink-footed Geese. The skeins were initially spread out across the distant cloudless sky to the north. The geese were seen on a number of occasions during the time I was at Cresswell and Druridge Pool, and on one occasion flew directly overhead, although by then the skeins had broken up somewhat. We are reaching the time of year when wader and geese watching is at its best. At one point I moved to the end of the hide and looked to the west and was rewarded with a good sighting of Marsh Harrier flying quite low over the tree line. The pale head of the bird was lit by the sunlight. A scan for other raptors, I was hoping for Merlin, brought no reward.
The flocks of Lapwing were edgy and flew in front of the hide soon to be followed by a smaller flock of Golden Plover. Once the plover had landed on the sand bank I counted eighty birds. A lone Dunlin appeared to be lost in amongst this flock. The Dunlin is known as the 'plovers page' because of its close association to the Golden Plover and other tundra plovers, although I think this more likely on the breeding grounds. Two Knot and numbers of Redshank were at the west side of the pond. Wigeon and Teal were there in high numbers and four Little Grebes were seen on the pond along with four Shoveller, Mallard and Tufted Duck. I caught sight of a Lesser Black Backed Gull flying over the fields to the north of the pond. The strong winds of yesterday had disappeared and although still to some extent windy there was perfect conditions for birding today and I was surprised that there were few people about.
The area in the vicinity of Druridge Pool threw up little other than Curlew. The hide over looking the pool was made uncomfortable by the wind and cold, not that it is a comfortable hide even on the best of days. The pool itself held amongst others, at least five Little Grebe, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Goldeneye and a lone female Scaup.
I saw at least three Kestrels today, but few passerines. I did eventually catch sight of a Skylark flying over the dunes to the east of Cresswell Pond and found a sizeable mixed flock of Linnet and Goldfinch in the vicinity of where I watch Twite in winter. I did try and get my scope fixed on the flock, but the birds were constantly on the move and dipping down behind the hummock. If there was anything else within the flock I was unable to see it. One Red Admiral Butterfly seen flying in the cold today.
It had been a pleasant way to spend a few hours and I had almost forgotten that I remain a Jack Snipe failure……….. for now!
Sunday, 16 October 2011
15th Oct. I mentioned in the previous blog just how much importance I place on putting something back into birding. I recognise that there are many ways that this can be done. One such way I use is to lead walks under the banner of the RSPB. These are especially aimed at introducing relative newcomers to the joys and excitement that can be had form watching birds and taking an interest in nature generally. As I usually include a little history, it has also helped me brush up my own local history knowledge.
The walk yesterday was a round trip of seven plus miles from Monkseaton and Holywell Dene, Hartley and St Mary’s Island. We didn’t find a great deal of birdlife on much of the walk if I’m honest, but Yellowhammers, Treecreepers, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks go down well with relative beginners. They go down well with me too! There was a good show from the waders yesterday and once again it was especially the Golden Plover flocks which drew the attention. A single Grey Plover is still about near to St Mary’s Island. There was some added entertainment from some adult clowns who had a child out on the rocks near to the island and had ignored completely the tide coming in. The sea rescue guy had to walk down to the beach to call them in. I heard that one had to plodge in with water up to his thighs at one point. Someone in our group suggested that they may have eight brain cells between them. I suspect this was a gross over estimate.
The dene had been quiet but very atmospheric as the sunlight passed through the thinning vegetation. I’m pleased to see that in the dene there is never too much rush to ‘tidy up’, and fallen trees are left as they fall, unless of course they are causing any real problem. Butterflies made up for the lack of birds on this sunny October day. Double figures were easily reached by both Red Admiral and Speckled Wood Butterflies and a single Comma Butterfly was found. Over lunch we watched a Sparrowhawk taking some stick from a Carrion Crow, as a Kestrel also flew nearby. Everyone seemed to leave content after our five and a half hour session. I was left with little time to look for the Yellow-browed Warblers so they still elude me. I’d began in the cold and ended very hot indeed!
I’m off to watch the Magpies now.
Friday, 14 October 2011
13th Oct. After meeting up with Tom at Killingworth Lake, where there was little of note, we headed straight for Marden Quarry and for me a second and longer look at the Lesser Scaup, and for Tom another lifer. There are some weird and not so wonderful waterfowl in Marden Quarry. One, a hybrid Barnacle/Canada Goose with some more rather strange looking Canada Geese and one of them small, skinny and with stump for a leg. We were soon walking down to Priory Park, Tynemouth.
Initially the park seems devoid of life, but it pays to have patience. We eventually found a female Blackcap and numbers of finches. Finding out that a Yellow-browed Warbler had been seen in the morning consorting with a tit flock, we spent best part of the morning searching the area. We did find the flock of Great, Blue and Long Tailed Tits and I almost become cross eyed checking them all out. Amongst them we found Goldcrest and Goldfinch, but no Yellow-browed Warbler. A couple of Grey Herons flew over head as did Mistle Thrush. It was an enjoyable morning and made us hungry. The call of the fish and chip shop at Seaton Sluice could not be resisted, so off we went.
The sea was at least visible today so we did some watching from the vicinity of the Tower Hide and the hide itself. We had some hope of finding Velvet Scoter as they had been reported earlier in the morning so the Common Scoter flocks were checked carefully, but to no avail. Three Red Throated Divers, a small flock of Teal and a single Guillemot were the pick of the birds seen on and over the sea. A Grey Plover was found in amongst the Oystercatchers and Turnstone below the hide. Three Redwings were seen flying in off the sea.
There had been little passing by over the sea so we decided to head of towards St Mary’s Island in the hopes of perhaps picking up a migrant bird or two. Waders seen today were Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper (I’d especially wanted to find this one), Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew. We had caught the waders at the best time, as the tide was reaching a high point and the light showed the Golden Plovers, especially, at their best.
Ten plus Rock Pipits were seen in the vicinity of St Marys Island and others had been seen earlier at Seaton Sluice. We again spent time looking into bushes at the wetland. Another Goldcrest was found, but little else. We did have an unexpected sighting of two Common Terns feeding just south of the island.
We eventually decided to head off to take a break before heading to the NTBC meeting in the evening. On the way home we found out that Yellow-browed Warbler had been found in the willows at St Mary’s. Never mind this took no gloss off our birding and in any event there is always another day.
Some discussion took place at the meeting last night as to what constitutes a ‘good birder’. I certainly agree to the points raised about good birders contributing something back into their interest and also still being turned on by the commoner birds. I hope the club succeeds in attempts to involve more youngsters. I have never subscribed to, and will never subscribe to the thought that young people cannot be drawn into an interest in nature. Young people are often very excited by nature. I reckon it’s their views that need to be sought however, more so than the views of their elders. As was mentioned last night it is also the parents and carers who need to be encouraged so that this will rub off on the young. That was such an important point to be made. It’s not until they can be bothered that progress will be made with the youth around them.
The all weather birders ended the evening with a pint and a laugh. Another great day. More days to look forward to as well before the month is out.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Leaving the dentist to his duties I made for Marden Quarry in the rain. I suspect the dentist wondered what I had in my bag, but it's not the first time I've arrived with binoculars etc in tow. I can't have been to the quarry for many a year as I couldn't remember where it was! Once found I decided that it's definitely worth keeping an eye on in future although today was not a day to be searching the bushes and trees for possible migrants.
If anything was going to make me forget the dentists chair it was going to be a lifer. I have to say the Lesser Scaup is unlikely to make my bird of the year short list, but a lifer is a lifer and I don't get that many.
I'll be back soon.:-) Looking forward to a dryer day tomorrow and some good birding I hope. Been an interesting week so far so hopefully it will continue.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
'Does my bum look fat in this outfit?'
A pot of gold, but few birds
This almost became a 'pressed' butterfly.
11th Oct. I couldn’t resist nipping into Northumberland Park this morning for a look at the Mandarin Drake, so my day began colourfully to say the least. I don’t really go for flashy birds, or flashy anything to be honest, and this bird played a little hard to get as it hid shyly at the side of the pond. Not too large a pond however, so I could hardly fail to have some success. Pretty amazing bird, but I think I prefer the less garish and flashy female of this species. Anyway I pulled myself away from this little stunner and made for Tynemouth Boating Lake. The bird I was after here had flown (this has happened before on occasions) and I spent my time checking out Tufted Ducks and oddly enough boats! Someone asked me about the differences between Tufted Duck and Lesser Scaup. I was pleased I’d checked the ‘Collins’ the night before! I know now where this bird has flown and so have not given up on the Lesser Scaup. I may not have the wheels, so necessary to capture so many birds and I lack the technology, but I do not lack persistence and energy. Well the persistence anyway.:-)
I soon moved on to St Mary’s Island. Waders were about in numbers and the Golden Plovers performed very well. Certainly 1,000 + and most up in the air at the same time on occasions. They lined the tideline along with Lapwings. When in Northumberland Park I had found few birds and this was to continue through the day. The wetland at St Mary’s was silent. As another birder said, well ‘there’s nowt here but the Magpies’ and that just about summed things up. I did hear and catch sight of Skylarks and Linnets in the fields opposite the wetland.
The next bit of colour came in the shape of a rainbow which I was unable to digitally capture completely, such was its size. I did see where the pot of gold lay in the sea, but I didn’t see many seabirds. By now it was windy, but the wind was in the wrong direction. Does this sound like an excuse for the lateness of a train? I did find the usual Eider Ducks, but not very many of them, and had sightings of two divers which I’m more or less certain were Red Throated Divers. There were a few auk species, too far out to identify with certainty. I had little time to sea watch and hope to put that right later in the week.
The dene was as devoid of bird sightings as I’ve ever known it although there was a large party of tits moving through the trees at one point. This included Great, Coal, Blue and Long Tailed Tits. The latter seeming to be the most numerous, or perhaps the slowest moving and easiest to see. I found a little more colour along by the burn as the autumnal changes take place.
I was feeling tired by now. I think my energy saps more easily when there isn’t the excitement of birds to keep me going. I decided that a sit down was in order. I almost sat on a very lethargic Red Admiral Butterfly. I don’t do ‘tattoos’ and I’m pleased that I didn’t end up with this very colourful butterfly on my backside. After taking its photograph I decided to keep moving and leave it in peace.
Holywell Pond and surrounding fields were very quiet too. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Teal being of the greatest interest.
I reckon this is the quietest it had been on me completing this walk. Considering that the all weather birders clocked up 80+ species earlier this year the 48 of today bore little comparison. I’m resting tomorrow (I might have to sneak in a look for the Lesser Scaup after a dental appointment), preparing and looking forward to a further outing on Thursday when this little bird will definitely be back on the agenda if it sticks around.
Monday, 10 October 2011
One of many Tree Sparrows
10th Oct. I couldn’t let the chance of a year and county tick pass me by, so I braved the drizzle of the morning and headed for Big Waters. By the time I reached the reserve I was bathed in sun! As I walked down the road a local group acquaintance stopped his car and told me that the bird was showing well. My step quickened in anticipation. With little seen before I reached the car park the Turtle Dove was almost the first bird I saw. There were a handful of birders with scopes pointed to trees in the car-park. I was soon on the bird which sat un-phased in the tree, occasionally being lit by sunlight. It was a good sighting and as I say a first for me in the county. In fact, only my second in the UK. The last time I had watched Turtle Doves was from a fire watch hide, high in a tree in Hungary, as I tried to dry out from a soaking I had received from a torrential rainfall.
I had intended to walk to the hide, so after taking in the Turtle Dove, I moved off, soon to find a lone Stock Dove in the field and a Kestrel hovering in the area. I took a look along the pathways into the scrubland but found little. As I walked to the hide I counted one hundred and four Greylag Geese on the pond. By now the sun had brought out Red Admiral Butterflies and dragonflies.
This was my first visit to Big Waters since I had visited earlier in the year after a trip to Kielder. I found a healthy population of Tree Sparrows at the feeding station along with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Great Tit, Coal Tit and Blue Tit. I never tire of watching Tree Sparrows. The birds seemed quite edgy and I found out why when I later watched the Sparrowhawk fly over what is I’m sure a regular route. As if to remind us that winter is hopefully along way off yet, two Swallows flew overhead.
With so many visiting to catch sight of the Turtle Dove I was surprised to find that I was alone in the hide until joined later by a couple I am acquainted with, who didn’t know about the Turtle Dove at all. I think they will have had a look now! Numbers of Wigeon and Teal were near the hide and birds nearby also included, eight Gadwall, and a Great Crested Grebe. I relaxed in the comfortable hide for a while before retracing my steps. I bumped into a guy who was looking for the Turtle Dove and had come along towards the hide thinking it would be in that area. I walked back with him towards the area I had seen the bird. I think he was surprised and pleased at how easily he then found it, as now it was sitting out in the open on the fence. I was pleased too, as this gave me an even better sighting of it than earlier.
So I had spent a good three hours out this afternoon. I'm trying to remember if I have had Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Stock Dove and Turtle Dove on the same day before. I’m hoping the Turtle Dove is a sign of more interest to come this month!
Saturday, 1 October 2011
Speckled Wood Butterfly.
1st Oct. That’s the lake, not the birder! I assume that the very hot days of late have contributed to the cause of this, although I’m uncertain as to when the notices went up! The notices are not especially noticeable, if you know what I mean, so I’m not sure how seriously North Tyneside Council has taken this! Approaching the smaller lake I saw no notices until I reached the road between the two lakes. It advised that the water not be touched and that pets should be kept out of the lake. So anyone approaching from the direction I did may well have had their dog into the lake or maybe had children fishing before seeing the notice! I don’t know that much about blue/green algae, but I do know it can be very dangerous so I decided against any skinny dipping today. I’m assuming if it continues the lakes will be taped off, as I think this has happened on previous occasions.
Despite it seeming like the height of summer the leaves are beginning to fall. There were two Little Grebes on the larger lake, but little else of special note. Gulls included Black Headed, Herring, Common and Lesser Black Backed. On my return I watched the Sparrowhawk in flap and glide flight over the playing fields and adjoining estates.
Both Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly were seen near the reeds of the larger lake. White species were in flight too and I later spotted a Red Admiral Butterfly.
I’m pleased I took a walk out today before listening to the match, as rain is approaching from Scotland and is forecast for tomorrow.