Expect the Unexpected. II

As you know from these blogs NZ26 is my drug of choice.  Some days it plays this role very well.  Out before work to go for a Grasshopper Warbler reported by @joe_dobinson near Swallow Pond was relatively easy.  A bright cold start, bird song in bucket loads.  This included a very confiding Willow Warbler singing for 20mins down to a couple of metres.  He impressed me, but he impressed what I think must have been a silent female more as she stood tall in a leafless Ash tree and mechanically moved her wings in and out exposing her under-wing coverts.  Either side were two new birds for the list #98 Whitethroat and a short burst of #99 reeling from a patch of bramble by the pit heap in z.  Getting back across Newcastle early doors when the previous day’s Lesser Whitethroat in Benton was no longer singing, not so much fun.

Bright and cold went to windy and miserable, but I was now on 99. So one more try for the Ringed Plover on the Tyne. Fail. Then the twin ‘voices’ kick in.  The one saying ‘there’s always tomorrow’ and the one saying ‘lets just try somewhere else’. There were no Sand Martins at Watergate Park or any Lesser Whitethroats in the scrub to the North.  So aimlessly wandering up the hill I thought I will go and see if there are any Whitethroat in the top hedge as a tetrad tick at least.  Nope.

In the lea of the wind two robins at 80 metres were dropping down onto food and returning to the hedge.  Then a third bird, with an brick-red tail did the same.  Can’t be.  I moved closer and it was a female Redstart with all its splendid shivering tail.  I know I the week of find refind Hudsonian Godwit this is not big news, but this is NZ26.  I had not even thought about Redstart.  And for it to be #100. I was happy.

The lea of the hedge is not the footpath, but as I don’t have a dog running through the crops I feel a bit smug.  I probably look a bit weird, granted. Staring at a bit of hedge and using my phone to tell all my followers on Twitter -including Tod the experimental musician in Ohio, who must have clicked follow by mistake, about my find.  But not as weird as Camo Man.  

When I turned around there was a guy, in camouflaged jacket and trousers standing with his back to a Beech tree on the footpath. Holding an air-rifle, the sound of which I had vaguely heard when I was watching the Redstart. Having got over my gun phobia last year when I bumped into two guys similarly dressed claiming to be gamekeepers deer hunting on my patch near Causey Arch (they had serious hunting rifles) I was not impressed.  So when he sternly commented on me not being on the footpath I retaliated. I deliberately suppressed the news of the best bird to be found in Gateshead that day.

I then pissed on his fireworks by standing on the path and continuing to bird.  I don’t know if he was up shooting rabbits or not but he eventually got back in his four wheel drive (registration noted for the future) and went off.  

11 thoughts on “Expect the Unexpected. II

  1. Lol I spotted those twonks last year at causey, dressed in all over leafy camo outfits. I’ve noticed a black 4×4. Hunting van with orange writing on it, hunting around causey. I’m pretty sure they’ve wiped out the jays in that area.


    1. They were probably the cause of the pile of Jackdaws I found last May too. Pretty sickening. If you see anything suspicious though it’s worth talking to Northumbria Police’s Wildlife Officer via telephone number 101.


      1. Yeah I got a pic of them jackdaws on my blog, by the boulder in the wood.
        I noticed they had around 100 game birds over the autumn/winter months,so that means the jays/crows/jackdaws/ fox’s have to be taken out.it’s a joke!
        They’ve put up new shooting towers,feeding stations etc.
        I’ve found a few dead fox’s hung up in that area over the last few years too.


      2. The guys I spoke to were proud of the buzzard nest you mentioned before. But last year two pairs built a nest. It may be the second was young and inexperienced or too close to first. I haven’t been there this year. How many buzzards do you think there are? Also what’s your blog I’d like to see. Thanks.


  2. To be honest I have only seen 1 pair of buzzards over the last 6 months,there were lots of kestrels in the field east of high field farm.
    Looking forward to seeing if there will be spotted flycatcher in Beckley wood this year.
    I really wish that area gave.some more surprises every now and then.


    1. The more you look the more you’ll find but with little standing water it can’t pull in lots. Best birds last year were Twite but I think you saw those first Quail LEO, 667 golden plover but I love garden warbler song so that was my fave.


      1. Yes I need.to search for garden warbler this year,had a few last year,but on my last trip didn’t hear/see any. I’m gonna see if there’s any grasshopper warbler behind the woods up there soon.


  3. got a tree pipit in the woods yesterday! I noticed from your birdtrack records you had one june 2013.
    good stuff


    1. Yes I thought that was just a freak finding as I never saw it again. It was singing near where the road goes between the two woods. Great news.


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