Friday, 14 October 2011

Lesser Scaup Revisited

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.

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