Thursday, 29 October 2015

Searching the square 2056

I few days ago 25th i think i returned, i pretty much stuck to a public path which isnt used much east of the main path it takes you through a game feeding area which has lots of cover for birds ie gorse ferns hawthorn etc (in the summer the ferns were taller than me and im 6'2) In this area there were willow tit, long tailed tit linnet lt tit goldcrest etc the path according to the os map is pretty much unfollowable so you kind of have to improvise and try to get across into the small wood which is old birch oak and a good number of old alder trees which i havnt noticed before, there is a small path running through this wood which takes you up to a crossing of tanfield railway track. there wasnt much here today however i think if theres a place your gonna see redpoll, siskin etc its here, the alders were full of catkins. Anyway i then got out the wood and tried to make my way down to the small pond through marshy ground , a small hide which the game keeper has made is here with targets of foxes scattered in the area so obviously if any ducks land on the pond or pheasants visit this area at the wrong time there not gonna stand much chance, in fact there usually is moorhen on the pond but not today. Good news on the stonechat front as a female showed herself and eventually a male popped up too, i had a few minutes with them then carried on,( theres been a number of occasions where ill watch a bird for quite a while and then out of nowhere a sparrowhawk comes in and catches some bird in the immediate area) i feel that hanging around to much makes the bird more cautous of me than any other threat in the area so now i dont hang around too much.anyway by now it was getting dark so i decided to head back.

I wonder what the alders will bring?!?!

species seen
1red kite
3 yellowhammer
4 feral pigeon
5 dunnock
7 song thrush
8 lt tit
9 willow tit
10 coal tit
11 bh gull
13 blue tit
14 great tit
15 goldcrest
16 wood pi
17 bullfinch
18 wren
19 fieldfare
20 gs woodpecker
21 greenfinch
22 stonechat x2
23 chaffinch
24 jay
25 siskin
26 linnet.

on the way back through NZ2057 heard tawny owl, red legged partridge 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

In The square NZ2056

After i had a thorough search for birds last week in NZ2056 i thought this week id try another with a few hours to spare i set out the house in the dark at 06:30am , to be honest the reason i got out at this time was for the owls however the wind was up and they wasnt calling or if they were i didnt hear them. i did spot a bird which to be honest could have been anything dart into the trees just behind Tanfield railway but it was just too dark. for some reason i was'nt really expecting much or anything exciting as it is an area im familar with. I decided i would work on the area around causey gill/fortune hill wood although i did scan the fields on the way down and back again.The light was bad and the weather was overcast but the first good bird came in the form of a willow tit always a bird that cheers me up and infact there were about two in the area, calling away, i then noticed there were a few Alder trees which oddly enough i hadnt noticed before but i gave them a quick scan and alas 2 siskins were feeding on them , the 1st time ive seen siskin in this square. so this was great also greenfinch were in the hedges quite a rarity !!! most of the regulars were about and a quick mooch through the start of causey gill produced a dipper,nuthatch, treecreeper etc i had a quick walk around the field north of fortune hill where i flushed about 7 pheasants  and then decided to hang around the elders again maybe for some redpoll action, but sadly none, so i decided to take the slow walk back, then i noticed ahead of me on the path 2 grey partridge possibly the best view ive had through the bino's one was standing tall and i could see the black patch on its underside, lovely. so i carried on and a few paces forward and another bird caught my attention in the hedge, a bloody Stonechat  again the 1st time i've seen one in this square, no doubt it was probably on its way to burdon moor, where they always tend to show up, but maybe, as i havnt really been birding in this area over 2015, they could have bred, i will deffo keep an eye out!
Anyway that was that and i walked home happy!

species list. 36 species spotted

lapwing c75
mallard 20
meadow pipit 1
bullfinch 10
dipper 1
goldcrest 3
chaffinch 5
goldfinch 50+
coal tit 2
willow tit 2
jay 2
long tailed tit
20.feral pigeon
treecreeper 1
siskin 2
blue tit
black headed gull
redwing 3
mistle thrush 1
gs woodpecker 1
greenfinch 1
grey partridge 2
starling 25+
stonechat 1
yellowhammer 2

Monday, 12 October 2015

thornley woods

Arrived at the visitors centre at 6-45am as i entered the wood a female and male tawny owl were calling in the darkness as i followed the path i noticed  a roe deer  in the field to the east. Throughout the wood flocks of tits were calling with goldcrest and treecreeper out in force, the occasional nuthatch would pop up here and there.,a red kite landed in a pine tree right above me with another flying ,2 buzzards were perched on pylons in field east of the wood watching the pigeons feeding on a recently ploughed field.bullfinch were also present here and there as were jays and great spotted woodpeckers
popped in the hide where blue, coal, great tit, nuthatch, robin. chaffinch, wren and treecreeper were showing well think i may donate a feeder and some seed this winter.
and around 25+ canada goose flew over, also grey squirrels

Its been a while since i last visited and i noticed theyve been busy thinning the pines, which is a good thing also nice to see dead wood been left throughout the walk, quite a pleasant walk really it would be nice to get a few more species next time.

The species list. 26

Tawny owl 2
wood pigeon
buzzard 2
canada goose 25+
herring gull
blue tit
great spotted woodpecker
red kite 2
tree creeper
great tit
skylark fly over
black headed gull
feral pigeon
coal tit.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Walk to Far Pastures and back.

Started off a 6am again, nice and dark. had little owls and lapwings calling at marley hill, then tawnies calling in clockburn wood and paddock hill wood, when it was light there was lots of fog so went to the hide here there were teal, mallard, snipe x5, little grebe, water rail and a mute swan made quite an entrance dropping out of the fog I felt quite sorry for him as he seemed to be looking for his mate and was constantly calling. on the way back I spotted a kingfisher on the derwent also dipper x5 grey wagtail, a few red kite overhead were seen and 4 lovely goosander near on the derwent near clockburn lake.
in marley hill there were 25+ tree sparrows along the hedges in a field. great stuff.

Full list 51 species

mute swan
red legged partridge
little grebe
red kite
water rail
herring gull
black headed gull
feral pigeon
wood pigeon
collared dove
tawny owl
little owl
great spotted woodpecker
grey wagtail
pied wagtail
long tailed tit
willow tit
coal tit
blue tit
house sparrow
tree sparrow
reed bunting.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


started of early 6am for awalk down to the derwent, it had been raining all night and was still spitting as i set off, the only bird of note were lapwing calling in fields north of marley hill , in fact the  1st birds seen were tawnies, heard  a male and female just after i crossed the viaduct as light was setting in.

I pretty much headed straight to far pastures to escape the rain and poor light, a water rail eventually showed, 13 snipe were still asleep at edge of reeds, teal, mallard, little grebe and moorhen were present, a few chiffchaff too. on the lane i spotted 2 lesser redpoll in amongst the trees with a possible 12 flying away. 2 dippers were singing to each other on the derwent with mallards and little grebe, also a siskin at owlet hill meadow.

up on long hill there was alot of activity with 3redwing song+ mistle thrushs, chaffinchx8 should have checked for brambling a greenfinch and linnets and a lone magpie trying to warn them all off. a swallow quickly flew through.

From start to finish this is all I seen.
1 mallard
2 teal
3 pheasant
4 little grebe
5 cormorant
6 grey heron
7 buzzard
8 red kite
9 kestrel
10 water rail
11 moorhen
12 lapwing
13 snipe
14 curlew
15 black headed gull
16 feral pigeon
17 wood pigeon
18 collared dove
19 tawny owl
20 green woodpecker
21 great spotted woodpecker
22 swallow x1
23 meadow pipit
24 grey wagtail
25 pied wagtail
26 grey wagtail
27 wren
28 dunnock
29 robin
30 blackbird
31 redwingx3
32 song thrush
33 mistle thrush
34 chiffchaff
35 long tailed tit
36 willow tit
37 blue tit
38 great tit
39 nuthatch
40 jay
41 magpie
42 jackdaw
43 crow
44 starling
45 house sparrow
46 chaffinch
47 goldfinch
48 greenfinch
49 siskin
50 linnet
51 lesser redpoll
52 bullfinch
53 yellowhammer
54 reed bunting

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Swallow and house martin.

Spotted a few swallows today and a house martin, also lapwings were calling out in the fields with little owl last night.  More mysteriously while i was out a bird that i could not see was circling making a klee-eep noise quite high pitched it was after dark. Ive searched all the possible nocturnal birds it could have been but couldnt make a connection. My other possibility could be a bat but sadly i know nothing about them it seem to loud to come from a bat though..... Very strange.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

"Do you like owls?"

This morning i set off at 5:30 am, (in the pitch black), my planned destination was up to riding barns farm via the footpaths north of Marley hill, then onto hole lane then all the way down along Clockburn wood over the Derwent river, scan Clockburn pond/lake then follow the river path to the viaduct over the viaduct down again to the river(owlet hill) then maybe to Far pastures time permitting.........

It really is exciting to walk when its still dark the senses are heightened, there's hardly any noise and this morning was perfect as it was'nt too cold (or if it was i was soon warmed up by my body heat) and there was hardly any wind.

The 1st bit of action started when i arrived at Riding barns farm, trying my best to make as little noise as possible on the gravel path to try and not set off any dogs that may live at the farm. i noticed a Tawny owl standing upright on the roof  we were staring at each other for a few seconds then it silently swooped down and then right along the path and up into a big old oak tree. Bonus.....Anyway i carried on, i crossed a sty into a field and as i approached Long hill there must have been about 2-3 Little owls calling to each other..i was'nt lucky enough to see one but it was still a bonus in my book! (2 little owl territories within a few minutes of my house). i got out of the fields and onto a very dark, quiet, shadow filled, hole be honest there was'nt much happening, the odd robin song/call,crows in the distance ghostly shadows etc etc i crossed fellside road and started down alongside clockburn wood as i walked thoughts of the  Friday the 13th movies,Horse thief's, crazy maniacs who walk around woods at night (uh uh) and hell beasts, kept me amused......Again the calls of female and male Tawny owls came from the wood and as i stood and listened i realized they have quite a vocabulary. i reckon 3-4 seperate birds were taking part in the night time operatics... but a surprise came when i heard a woodcock about half way down the lane in a boggy area(1st ive heard down hole lane)......and that was pretty much it other than the very odd blast of cold air that seemed to go right through me as i approached the bridge at the end of hole lane ,ghost train???????as i got out the woods i crossed the bridge where a heron was hunting and bats were flying over the derwent (it was almost light now), on clockburn lake the usually two mute swans, little grebe x2, mallards, moorhen and as i got onto the path along the river i heard another Tawny owl (scar bank) up in the trees. 2-3 dippers were spotted along the river however further along the path alot of cattle had escaped and were having breakfast on the trees and shrubbery in the area and bolted from me making lots of noise leaving behind only a few mallards on the river, i crossed the viaduct and down to the meadow in the hope some goosander maybe about, but no only a few mallards were seen and another dipper another surprise came when i flushed a snipe from the edge of the river twice! kraa....a buzzard and 2 red kites were also seen in this area, time was getting on at this point so i decided to head back via hollinside manor i did a "ROCKY BALBOA" up the steps and in the field to the right a green woodpecker was calling, up at the manor a red kite was in the air but not much else....i slowly took on the dreaded walk up hill up hole lane back home!

Full list.

1 mute swan
2 mallard
3 pheasant
4 little grebe
5 grey heron
6 buzzard
7 red kite
8 moorhen
9 woodcock
10 snipe
11 curlew
12 black headed gull
13 feral pigeon
14 wood pigeon
15 collared dove
16 tawny owl
17 little owl
18 green woodpecker (heard near hollinside manor)
19 meadow pipit x2
20 grey wagtail
21 pied wagtail
22 dipper 4
24 dunnock
26 blackbird
28 long tailed tit
29 coal tit
30 blue tit
31 great tit
32 nuthatch x1
33 jay
34 magpie
35 jackdaw
36 crow
37 starling x10
38 house sparrow x5
39 chaffinch
40 linnet
41 bullfinch
42 yellowhammer x10