Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Late Show at Far Pasture

It was about twenty to four when I received a text from Rob (Gatesheadandbeyond) informing he'd found a Green-winged Teal at Far Pasture :O and knowing I wouldn't be able to get tomorrow I decided to drop everything and rush down there (on foot as my bike is still out of action after my last visit).
Rob was just leaving as I arrived but the bird was still there he said. Well you could have fooled me! plenty of European Teal on the pond but no sign of the Yank.

A kingfisher was stuck to the top of a bulrush and the drake pochard was still kicking about, but it was a good ten minutes before I got a brief view of the GW Teal way over the back of the pond, as it disappeared with a small group behind the far right island.
And it was a good half hour later before it paddled out again, still right in the far corner offering only the crappiest of photo opportunities in the fading light.

This kingfisher was seemingly rooted to the spot, didn't move in ages.

Drake Pochard offered the best views in decent light

Possibly the worst ever photo of Green-winged Teal, only vaguely
recognisable thanks to Photoshop brightness and contrast tool.
Finally it came to the rear of the nearer island which wouldn't have been bad for photos had it not been for the fact it was now ten to five and near dark.

No maybe this is the worst ever photo of green-winged Teal
(rear of island) saved only by the fact the vertical white stripe
(as opposed to horizontal) is clearly visible.
Much better photos are on Gatesheadandbeyond (see link)
At least I got it, the view through the binoculars was a lot better than that of the camera lens thank goodness, but typically it settled at the rear of the island offering only an arse-end view, and that was that.
Just before I left a single snipe flew in for a good view front of hide, then I spied a water rail feeding out in the open on the pond to the left.

Not often seen feeding calmly in the open, would have been a cracking
view of this Water Rail had it not been practically dark!
 Some good birds on show then, and though very gloomy now the show wasn't over, as I walked out of the car park no fewer than 23 Red Kites were up in the air together, terrific sight and most I've seen in a long while!

A good end to the day then, after this morning's unsuccessful trip out with the Birdman to see if we could finally nail the (apparent) flock of Twite at Marley Hill.
The day was calm and bright but only half the flock seen on Sunday (when it was gloomy and windy) was present, and only linnets, some heavily streaked females or 1st winter birds were confusing but on close inspection sadly no Twite. Whether these have been mis-identified or not we don't know but in three visits there's been nothing to report and it would be unusual to get Twite (a mega for Gateshead) so far inland.

An update on garden sightings :

The female Brambling has been seen regularly since last Monday, sometimes visiting three or four times a day, but was last seen on Saturday.
The single Tree Sparrow was seen once during the week but didn't come to the feeder.
Both male and female Greenfinch have been in a couple of times each but not together.
Goldfinch numbers peaked at 28 on Monday.
Collared doves were new for the year, small bands of starling and house sparrow have passed through occasionally but still very few tits, a couple of blueys on occasion and a single coal tit is all.
And 'Gammy' the chaffinch has been a daily visitor and still looks fit apart from his obvious leg problem.

Cheers Birdman, and cheers Rob :)



  1. Worst ever photos of green winged teal iv'e seen also ;) lol. But you added it to your far pastures list, which is the main thing!!!

    1. Second one on my FP list, I also got the one that visited shibdon regularly a few years back when it turned up at FP one day.
      But honest man I just about needed a torch on the way back, the little so and so just wouldn't show itself. No doubt you'll get some mega close-ups tomorrow just to show me up some more (if its still there) :O

  2. Looks like you made it just in time - but maybe you shudda sketched & painted it...?...! nearly as bad as some of my photos.

  3. I didn't dare go home without a photo in case it flew off overnight Stevie, the birding culture around here is no-one believes you've seen anything unless you have photographic evidence :(
    Anyway you should see some of those I didn't post :O