Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Wander Along The Seaton Burn; Part 1



With its source at Big Waters Nature Reserve, the Seaton Burn runs east along to Seaton Sluice where it meets the North Sea.  This is my second time birding along it and I covered a relatively small distance on Saturday morning. I began by parking next to the Melton Constable pub in Sluice and proceeded to grab my gear from the car; bins, coat and camera.
I took a few test shots of a flock of Black Headed Gull gathered on the grass, it was a bit of an overcast day! Not the best day for wildlife photography, not that I'm making excuses.
I started walking towards the burn and heard a collective high pitched chirping. I turned and to my left towards the pub was a mixed flock of House & Tree Sparrow. I'll be honest this is the first time I've seen these two types of Sparrow mixing together in a flock. Nice to see and a chirpy start to the morning.
That pun was absolutely intended, forgive me.
If you look on the photo below you'll notice two House Sparrows, male and female, on the left and on the Right, two male Tree Sparrows.


As I walked past a large collection of moored fishing boats on the grass I noticed fleeting activity on the Burn, the tide was out and the usual Redshank were hurrying across the mud in search of prey. I accidentally spooked a Little Grebe as I approached the waters edge, it started to run across the waters surface for a few yards and then proceeded to dive out of site. Despite a valiant search it had vanished. Last time I was here I observed three very flighty Little Grebe all do the same tactic and all disappeared from sight.

Carrion Crow & Black Headed Gull were frantic along the river looking for anything they could take from the waters edge or pick from the muddy margins. A large flock of Redshank were gathered on the southern bank, feeding on the marshy flood plain and periodically flying towards the coast.


Now, as an amateur wildlife photographer I'm still learning but in this instance I was just in the wrong place at the right time. I watched through my binoculars as a Sparrowhawk flew alongside the path and up into a mature tree fifty feet or so in front of me. Although Sparrowhawk are rather common birds of prey I have yet to capture a decent shot of one, I thought this was my time to shine, c'mon David you've got this!......
Unfortunately the sun was behind the bird! This caused the shot to be back lit, what a nightmare! The female Sparrowhawk was only perched for about 20 seconds before flying into the wood and out of sight.
Anyway here is the failed shot of said Spuggyhawk!!


To be continued......

David
Nature North East/ The Northern Owl Project