Friday, 17 October 2014

...The Turn Of The Tide

St Mary's Lighthouse, the beacon of North Tyneside

Another Friday had come around and after an early finish at work, and a quick cup of coffee at home,  I headed up to St Mary's Lighthouse & Wetland Nature Reserve to test out my new camera equipment and get my nature fix.

I couldn't wait to get snapping with my new Nikon, its worlds away from using my iPhone and telescope to digiscope. It just makes life a lot easier for a wildlife watcher like myself. Never say never mind, there may come a time when I need to digiscope a species that is just too far for the camera. Lets hope not though.. ;)

Whilst the wetland seemed to be quiet with only few Gull species, Mallard, Coot and a lone Mute Swan making up the bird life on the pond, the shoreline was abundant with shore birds; Oystercatcher, Turnestone, Curlew, Redshank and Ringed Plover.
Shore birds can be a royal pain in the rear to ID at times, depending on the species, they are however great entertainment value. They're either sleeping, flying like its going out of fashion or obsessively feeding like birds possessed! It was brilliant being able to get so close to them, that is until a random dog would come charging towards me and drive all the shore into the air. Funny thing is most of the birds would come back to the exact same 30 seconds later.
After a quick scramble up the cliff and through the gut I headed for the north end of the wetland, this when I seen a large female Sparrowhawk swooping down and into the small trees. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to photograph it as it first swooped down and after much searching I failed to locate it again. Bit of a bummer! At least I seen though.
As I headed back along the path to the car I bumped into another birder, canny bloke, and he was telling me about a Short Eared Owl that had been seen hunting around the fields between the Wetland and the caravan park a few days ago. I was loving this new information, anyone who knows me will know how passionate I am about Owls. I hung around for a bit keeping an eye across the fields and on a small flock of Goldcrest on the other side of the path. Goldcrest are great little birds, cheeping whilst moving from branch to branch in search of food.
All in all a great couple of hours on a nice chilled night, time to get to know the camera and observe the wildlife of St Mary's ......and as for the Sparrowhawk and Short Eared Owl ......I'll be back! ;)
Redshank at dusk

A 'ringed' Turnstone