Thursday, 31 March 2011

Bulldozer, tractor, and.....

The title will make sense later on in the blog post so don't worry so much about it right this moment in time.

I havn't updated my blog for a while now so thought I would let you all know of my most recent semi-day out birding. It was a fiarly nice day on Saturday just gone and therefore thought I would have a look out somewhere in the afternoon and see if I could get anything added to my county year list, though with no signs of anything really interesting anywhere or any recent reports I was struggling of where to go. It was to late for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, no Stonechats at Waldridge Fell just yet, no Willow Warblers, and I wasn't going to go chase something like the later species anywhere because in a couple of months I will almost certainly see one or fifty. So I checked BirdGuides after my dinner and was thrilled to find out a Crane had been seen at Saltholme RSPB, a quick text to Pablo (the Durham listing champ) and no surprise to find out he was there watching the bird. So I had two choices:
a) Say no to a Crane in Durham
b) Say yes to a Crane in Durham

So after a fuel stop I found myself pulling up along the road that leads toward the Calor Gas Pools, when I got out the car someone to my delight was standing looking at a bird in the distance. A quick lift of the bins revealed the colossal Crane being mobbed by a couple of Black-headed Gulls. Got my telescope out and had about 30 seconds on the bird on deck and then no surprise it started to wander around and get increasingly annoyed at the gulls and then took off. I had never seen a Crane fly before only ever seen a bird wandering around on the deck so this was a semi-tick and something I had wanted to see for a long while. I was not disappointed what a hugely impressive bird! It flew right out towards Billingham and I could still see the bird with the naked eye, it then came back on itself and disappeared behind Cowpen Bewley tip in the distance.My mate pulled up and was quite literally 10 seconds to late!  A quick check of the rest of the reserve gave me another county year tick in the form of Barnacle Goose and Little Ringed Plover.

(Crane (all) - © Ian Forrest

(Crane - © Ian Forrest

We tried to locate the bird by driving along to Greatham Creek car park but failed, however my mate came up trumps by spotting a Short-eared Owl hunting. A nice bonus! So that was the day. Shame my mate dipped the Crane but he had seen the cracking Lamesley bird two years ago so not so bad I guess.

All in all a cracking afternoon, I resisted the urge to go Gull watching. As much as I like standing around the tip at Seaton Common I resisted that day.

Until next time, Foghorn out!

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