Sunday, 27 May 2012

Marsh Magic, a second and fresh start!

Well, I kinda let this slip over the past year and a bit! I've decided to re-start this blog and give it another go. There is to much to catch up on so I will start the blog from this week's events. Wednesday saw me heading down to the main area I bird (when I'm actually in the area): The amazing N Tees Marshes on the report of a Temminck's Stint, a scarce bird and one I really wanted to see for the yearlist. We got there pretty quickly and met some local birders who hadn't seen it recently, and it had most likely moved on. We felt we should look for it since we were there but again, there was no sign. The numerous Avocets and Lapwings made up for it, as did the Ringed Plover and Redshank. Still a shame to miss a special bird, but that's birding! Thursday was a scary day. A Birding friend of mine texted me before an exam that a county 2nd had been found, again in the N Tees marshes and only a few hundred metres from where i had been the night before. The bird would be a life tick for me, so i began to get very, very twitchy and desperately wanted to get out of school and down to see it! The bird in question was a Long Billed Dowitcher, a rare american wader somewhere between a Snipe and a Godwit, and this one was in breeding plumage- brick red all over with variations on barring, streaks and dots all over. I rang my Mam and tried to organize a way to get to it as ASAP (the last stayed 15 minutes). She said she would take me down as soon as she was home as she wanted to see it as well. I held on teh hours until she got back, checking RBA every few minutes to see if it was still around. It hung on until we got there at 7 thankfully. Wow! What a bird, certainly a contender for bird of the year for me! I didn't get out again until today, when me and my Mam went for a short trip to RSPB Saltholme (the place where the Dowitcher had been). On arrival we were told to head straight through, a WHITE WINGED BLACK TERN had just been found, and was still showing by the centre! We ran to the viewing gfallery and were greeted with views of this spectacular Marsh tern gracefully flying around teh lake. It wasn't quite an adult, but was stunning non the less with a jet-black body and very pale wings. We watched the bird for over 20 minutes until it moved off to the Saltholme pools where it spent most of the afternoon. What a bird, and although not a lifer, one of my favorite birds this year! I decided to continue with the plan and have a look up at Haverton Hole rather than go and spend some more time with the tern, mainly to see if I could find some Dragonflies or Damselflies which have so far this year eluded me. I added my first species of the year, Blue Tailed as I had predicted just outside the visitor's centre, and a common blue damsel also hawked with them! I didnt see anymore so birds once again returned to the fore. En route to Haverton I spent time looking at the Swifts, only recently back from africa, hunting with the hirundines and giving a good show. Reed and Sedge Warblers added a beautiful theme tune, and Whitethroats added another touch to the song. A few Great Crested Grebes provided interest, but Haverton was quiet aside from a fishing Grey Heron. We wandered back to Paddy's Pool to spend some time admiring the breeding Common Terns and Black Headed Gulls, and both made the walk worthwhile, as did the cute mallard ducklings scattered around the pond. With little more to see we began walking back to the Centre, but a flash of red caught my eye. A Large Red Damslefly was hanging of a blade of grass, looking very out of place with a wonderful attire of bright red. Another Damsel moved behind, it, another Blue, and this time it was an Azure, my 4th species of the day. I was chuffed to say the least!