‘At whatever moment you read these words, day or night, there are birds aloft in the skies of the Western Hemisphere, migrating’.
As birders you know that these words in the opening to Weidensaul’s ‘Living on the Wind:across the hemisphere with migratory birds’ to be true. However to see it happen and know something about a bird and where it has come from still give me a great feeling.
Having just ‘twitched’ Goosander’ on Leazes Park Lake. I had to still try to find something of my own. There on the ice in amongst 50-60 other Black-headed Gulls was a bird with a white readable ring on its leg. T90N. Trust me even though the photos wont allow you to zoom in.
With a little help from @saddinall who pointed me in the direction of http://www.cr-birding.org/ It was easy to track down which ringing scheme this bird had been part of. Poland.
Its easy to complete a form of your sightings and within 24 hours I had an email back with the following attachment.
Western Pomerania is about 700 miles due east of Newcastle and it felt like I had been connected to a great moving wheel of migration.
OK, at at somewhere over 5 years old it may not be the 32 year record from Holland but it was an individual amongst the masses. And I am hooked and now want to find more.
Oh, if you do not own a copy of Weidensaul’s book order one right now. Whilst it is set in North, South and Central America birds know no boundaries.
To get a good number of birds in NZ26 I do have to respond to other people’s sightings. So a tweet from @whitleybirder of 4 Goosander on Leazes Park Lake was really welcome. Even if it means that as others have been to or are planning to go to Aberdeen for the Harlequin I am working out how to get to see Goosander.
The lake was half frozen so the birds were easily seen and there were now 6 birds ( 2 drakes). 65 for the year.
50-60 Black-headed Gulls sat on the ice allowed a check for rings and this time there really was one. T90N deserves to get its own blog post later but I was pleased with this find.
Number 66 of the year was a Dunlin at low tide by the Scotswood Bridge in B. This did get bird of the day award over close second, Dipper. This bird was feeding in the shoals exposed at low tide on the Derwent behind Swalwell B&Q – what glamour.
Outside of NZ26 I found two Waxwings ahead of an early meeting in Stockton. This keeps up a good record of me finding my own Waxwings in 9 out of the last 10 winters. It does give me a problem, of I will probably need to go for someone else’s Waxwing in a year when, I have already found my own. Not a real problem though you can’t see too many Waxwings.
This was passed though as bird of the week, by number 67. Back to W and the place where Britain’s first Grosbeak was found.
My find was not so spectacular but will cause some debate as to whether it should go on the list I am sure.
Along the river East from the farm at Bill Quay. The air was full of Herring Gulls going bananas. The river here is steep sided and I was looking down onto the spectacle. The cause of this excitement was about 30 metres above them and for a few moments 10 metres directly over me. A male Goshawk. Close enough to see the long white display feathers and see there were were no obvious jessies. I have heard there is a falconer with some large brown bird that uses an open area west up the Tyne, but the Gos after a a few minutes of really good views drifted East towards Hebburn and was lost to view.
And finally, I accidentally set my alarm an hour early one day but the plus side was a Tawny Owl calling from nearly in the garden at 5.30. Always half full!