Tag: Bohemian Waxwing

Wax(w)ing lyrical about wildlife; Otter Safari 09/11/16

by on Nov.10, 2016, under Druridge Bay

There are a few species that really epitomise winter wildlife-watching, and they include my favourite bird, one of my favourite mammals, and another bird that never fails to excite…

I collected Andy from Whitley Bay (it’s great to have him back from Mull for a few months over the winter!) and we had an interesting chat about plankton sampling and microscopy as we drove up the coast to collect Genine from Newbiggin.  Genine’s last trip with NEWT was a breathtaking pelagic in early September, and now we were out in search of Otters and any other birds and wildlife that we could find around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland.  I suggested that we started with a quick search for Waxwings, just a few minutes down the road.  As we approached where they’d been seen the previous day, a flock flushed from a rowan tree where they were gorging themselves on berries.  We watched them land in the bare branches of a tall tree nearby and counted at least 120 birds, with another 60 flying around and landing in trees just along the road.  In the cold and damp, we started our search for Otters, and were soon watching one as it fed on small fish.  With hardly a breath of wind, the water was flat calm and we tracked the Otter‘s movement by the trail of bubbles it left each time it submerged before, after around half an hour, it left the water and vanished up the bank and behind a fallen tree.  Curlew, Lapwing, Common Redshank and Oystercatcher were probing the mud along the water’s edge and a flash of electric blue heralded the arrival of a Kingfisher, which played a game of hide and seek with us as Goldfinch and Bullfinch perched in the tops of trees, the disembodied weak winter song of a Robin came from the depths of a hawthorn and two Sparrowhawks tussled in mid-air overhead before one gave up the fight and flew well away.  Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Common Eider, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Mallard, Red-breasted Merganser and Tufted Duck were a nice haul of wildfowl as Little Grebe warily watched the spot where the Otter had vanished and Long-tailed Tits called unseen from nearby bushes.

The approach of dusk brought thousands of Starlings in a swirling murmuration before they dropped into the reedbeds for the night as the high-pitched yapping of Pink-footed Geese and the discordant honking of Greylag Geese betrayed the presence of skein after skein arriving from feeding areas to the south of us.  Squealing Water Rails remained hidden and, as the last rays of daylight filtered through from the western horizon, Whooper Swans arrived.  Big, ghostly and quiet on their approach, as they hit the water they began whooping and their haunting voices accompanied our walk back to the car in the dark.

Proper wintry cold, almost continuous drizzle, stunning wildlife and lovely clients – just a great way to spend a day in mid-November 🙂  We’ll be running Otter Safaris, Druridge Bay Safaris and Lindisfarne Safaris right through the winter, so get in touch, wrap up warm and come and join us for a day searching for Northumberland’s fantastic wildlife!

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Waxwing lyrical again

by on Feb.11, 2013, under Birdwatching, Family and friends, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

One of my favourite birds eased the pain of a shopping trip to Morpeth on Saturday morning.  Why a painful shopping trip?…well, going to order a pair of reading glasses was my acceptance that my eyesight (at least my near vision) isn’t what it was when I was younger.  I do a lot of reading, but I’ve reached the point where my arms simply aren’t long enough to hold things far enough away for me to be able to read them, and I can’t grow longer arms…

As we approached Morpeth, it was comforting to realise that my vision, beyond a few feet, is still fine, as a distant flock of birds resolved into a group of at least 38, outrageously beautiful, Bohemian Waxwings.  There really isn’t too much in the way of subtlety where Waxwings are involved and, shopping trip completed, I positioned myself with camera.  Take a few shots…move closer…take a few shots…move closer.  Then the inevitable happened and the birds moved closer to me, and too close to focus on (with the camera, not with my eyes!).  Before that though, I did manage just under 300 images 🙂

Bohemian Waxwings,Northumberland,bird photography tuition,bird photography holidays

Bohemian Waxwings,Northumberland,bird photography tuition,bird photography holidays

Bohemian Waxwing,Northumberland,bird photography tuition,bird photography holidays

Bohemian Waxwing,Northumberland,bird photography tuition,bird photography holidays

Bohemian Waxwing,Northumberland,bird photography holidays,bird photography tuition

Bohemian Waxwing,Northumberland,bird photography tuition,bird photography holidays

Bohemian Waxwing,Northumberland,bird photography tuition,bird photography holidays

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