I finally got out to stretch my legs on Wednesday afternoon. I headed off to QE2 Country Park at Ashington as it has a few things going for it for me at the moment. First it has a reasonable path all the way round (dog shit not withstanding) wide enough to accommodate a double buggy. Second it is close so no extended car journey with grumpy toddlers and third there is the smidgen of a chance of a good bird.
A brisk NW quickly disappeared as we found the shelter of the ubiquitous pines that flank the path almost the whole way around. Every now and again they open up for 30-40m and allow you to view the lake. At our first stop a Great Crested Grebe that was close to shore strained away and quickly dived surfacing 20m further out. It won't breed here but might pair up and move to a smaller water inland.
Two handfuls of Common Goldeneye, a single male with full harem, were diving in the centre of the lake and a single male Goosander stretched and preened amongst them.
Only a small number, maybe 40-50 Herring Gull with nothing special amongst them bathed at the south side.
We got back to the car park after our 1m circular just in time for the mixed flock of Rooks & Jackdaw to lift from the field opposite and noisily join the Black Headed & Common Gulls, Coot & Moorhen, Mute Swan & Canada Geese feeding and lounging on the grass between lake and car park.
I checked through most of the Jackdaw, found one bird with a white covert feather in each wing and one that was showing a hint of a line but not enough to call it Viking.
500 Pink Footed Geese roosted about 1km west in the same ploughed field as last years Common Cranes.
Arriving back to be greeted by my parents I started dropping the species seen into my Bird Recorder database and lo and behold I'd missed Coot, Moorhen & Canada off my year list, with Great Crested Grebe that brings my county list up a little.
Lighter mornings meant that I dashed out an hour early today and got in a little time at Boulmer beach. The sea was very quiet but finally put my Pipit nightmare to rest when I spotted a Meadow amongst the Rock Pipit & Pied Wagtails feeding on the high tide debris. You watch there'll be flipping hundreds tomorrow...