Look I tried not to go birding today, I offered my sixteen month old twins the opportunity of going to an indoor 'adventure' centre. I told them they could play with the plastic toys and eat the plastic food. I tried to make it sound as attractive as I could.
They weren't having any of it. Insisted I took them birding and tried to add a few more species to their paltry county year list. When it's your kids you know sometimes you just have to tough it out and do what they want to do. So reluctantly we headed off for a little jaunt....
First stop the Church Pool at Woodhorn to tick that mega rare Greylag Goose seven of which were feeding in the adjacent field, I looked hard for anything that would enable me to claim a subspecies you know Finnish or Tundra/Taiga anything that sounds vaguely north of the Arctic circle or that it used to be part of the USSR will do won't it?
So we moved on north, up the coast to the birder's mecca, Cresswell Pond. We picked up three Linnet with a group of Pied Wagtail with the horses opposite Lynemouth Bay. We arrived to find that all the parking was taken, had I stumbled upon a pilgrimage day or a DBC club trip? I drove slowly along the road, the hide looked packed, the pond looked empty. It appears Cresswell has become the birders equivalent of a bus stop (if we all stand here long enough one will turn up). Even the north car park had someone with a big lens staring forlornly into the dunes.
Taking it slowly after Bell's Farm I quickly located the Twite flock, at least a hundred strong. I managed to get decent views from the car, without scaring the cows. At least four Mistle Thrush fed nearby and three Grey Partidge were very close to the road foraging almost between cows hooves. The Twite flock whilst mobile later moved into the trees of the small plantation at the entrance road to Druridge allowing a reasonable count and view, perhaps if this is regular pre-roost behaviour as it was late in the afternoon, this might offer the paparazzi a good photo opportunity.
We stopped for another chocolate break in one of the small car parks north of Snab Point and took on board two bonus county year ticks with a single Red-throated Diver and a southward bound Shag.
Last stop the flash pool just off the A1068 on the Linton road. 150-200 Herring Gull bathed and hung about. A ten minute wade through the birds found a first year Iceland Gull amongst the frequent rotation as birds came, bathed and left for nearby Ellington Tip on a frequent basis.