Tag: Common Crane

Battling the breeze; Otter Safari 02/06/2015

by on Jun.04, 2015, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Otter, Southeast Northumberland

Tuesday saw Pete and Jan taking their 7th trip with NEWT, and as I got out of the car in Embleton to collect them it was ever so slightly breezy…

When every bit of water you look at is whipped up into a froth by the wind, with dainty Little Gulls hanging in the wind and delicately dip-feeding, searching for Otters becomes particularly challenging and, despite Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes staring intently at reedbeds, that we’ve seen Otters appear from in recent weeks, there was no sign of our target species for the afternoon.  A really stiff breeze will frequently lead to reduced sightings of all wildlife, but the afternoon produced some impressive sightings…as we watched at least 10 adult Avocets, and four chicks, at Cresswell, alongside a summer-plumaged Sanderling, two huge birds appeared low over the dunes, battling into the wind.  I gave my head a shake and looked through my binoculars again…and there were two Common Cranes 🙂  They slowly crossed the pond, lifted as a flock of Canada Geese took off beneath them, and were blown back towards the sea!  Undeterred they continued their progress westwards, landed for a few minutes and then continued.  I’d alerted a few local birdwatchers to their presence, including Ipin as they were heading towards his house…and he soon had them as an impressive garden tick 🙂

I couldn’t imagine how the evening could get better…and then as dusk approached, I was scanning through binoculars and noticed a small bird that I couldn’t immediately identify.  A quick switch to viewing through the ‘scope, and there was one of my favourite birds twirling on the water’s surface and darting at flies.  Common Cranes may be huge and impressive, but Red-necked Phalarope is simply a breathtaking avian jewel 🙂

As we headed back to the car, the breeze had decreased in strength, but had also turned from quite warm to bone-chilling.  A Barn Owl flew silently from a fence post, and the journey back to Embleton produced another one sitting on a post just a few metres away from us.

And with that wind, I’d been worried we wouldn’t see anything…

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A forest foray

by on Apr.09, 2010, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Kielder

After a Druridge mini-safari on Tuesday, which included a visit to the Common Crane near Eshott, yesterday was something completely different with a Kielder Safari.

After collecting Ruth and Diana from Stannington we took the scenic route up through Knowesgate to Bellingham, in the wilds of west Northumberland.  That’s the point where we deviate from the public roads and follow a track that’s off-limits to the public.  Along the way we saw a few Buzzards, but a superb male Goshawk, and an incredibly skittish Red Fox, were the highlights of the drive through the forest.  Around the reservoir there were Crossbills and Siskins everywhere.  Lunch just over the border in Scotland was followed by more birdwatching and the spectacle of a Common Buzzard catching, dismembering and consuming a vole.  With lots of other buzzards up in the air whenever the sun came out, there was plenty to see.  A stunning drake Mandarin brought a splash of garish colour to the afternoon and a long-distance ‘scope view of last year’s Osprey nest revealed a small white blob – probably the head of one of the pair that have returned to the site.  As we headed back towards civilisation a large flock of Fieldfares and Redwings near Bellingham was a reminder that the winter is only just behind us.

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