Tuesday 29 December 2009

Whitley Tails

A wander up to St Marys (yesterday) was rewarded with a handsome male Pintail on the ice at the wetland.

Plenty of wagtails along the cliffs; Grey, 1st winter female Pied and male Pied.

Unfortunately my camera was zipped away when a couple of  'jackasses' came past on their bikes, along the promenade and straight onto sheet ice. Ouch!

Saturday 26 December 2009

Ducking Christmas

I managed to 'duck' the stress of Christmas and impending kitchen disasters with an early(ish) walk along Whitley beach. There was a lone Gadwall flying in from the south and landing in the surf at the north end of the beach. It swam along the shore, calling all the while, and then every 5 minutes or so it would take to the air for a lap of the beach only to return.

On the wetland was a beautiful pair of Wigeon along with a large number of teal.

The Water Pipit is still present at the north end of the beach.

Along the links were a sprinkling of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Golden Plover, Pied Wagtail and a single Grey Wagtail. Also, a single Purple Sandpiper on the exposed rocks off the beach.

Seasons Greetings

Monday 21 December 2009

Skylarks on the move

It was a wintry Whitley Bay beach this morning with a snow flurry to boot. Of note were Skylarks flying south along the surf line. I spotted 2, then another party of 8, and then another 8. I looked for the reported adult Med Gull, and thought I had found it, until closer inspection showed it to be a Black-headed Gull in summer plumage. Rock pipits were numerous, with several taking to the steets on Whitley Bay in search of food. I guess the cold weather has reduced the supply of insects along the beach.

Saturday 19 December 2009

Nesting birds in the rain forest

Arrived back from Bali to snow on Thursday, brrrrrrrrrrr. Now sorting
through video and here's a couple of vids of nesting birds filmed from
our bungalow at the Saribuana Eco Lodge, in the rain forest on Mount

Orange-breasted Flowerpecker

Oriental White-eye

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus macei)

Filmed, just after sunrise from the balcony of our bungalow at the Sarinbuana Eco-Lodge, on the slopes of
Mount Batukaru in Bali.

Sunday 13 December 2009

"Come quick. Snake eating frog!"

.... called my Balinese guide in stacato pigeon english.

"A frog that eats snakes?", I asked. "No. Snake eating frog!"

Sure enough there, in the paddy field, was a small snake (Green Vine) with a frog in it's mouth - still croaking (the frog, not the snake).

And I got it on video. Click here to view.

Friday 4 December 2009

Checking out the birds down by the pool

There are two ways to go birding abroad. Firstly there's the hardcore approach where you don as much karki as possible, slap on the factor 1000, on any visible skin left, pull up the white socks, fasten the brasher boots and go chasing 500 species from first light to well after dark. This is not fun near the equator. Indeed I have seen grown men reduced to tears, on organised bird tours, ridiculed for not being able to keep up with the group. That's why I don't go with 'Tickseekers'. I just go with the missus, a pair of flip flops, a dangermouse tee shirt and some shades. For the first couple of days I like to checkout the birds down by the pool.:) You can also pick up some great local knowledge off the bar keep. And if not, well the bitang beer is very good.

The commonest birds poolside, here in bali, are Yellow-vented Bulbuls. The have a very melodious call. This one (pic above) was in the palm above my sunlounger. Other birds of note include lesser frigate birds passing overhead, spotted dove, olive backed prinia, common tailor bird, grey and purple herons, savanah nightjar, tree sparrows (everywhere) and java munias. Tan is coming on a treat by the way.

Click here for Video of Yellow-vented Bulbul.