I had considered going down to Rainton today to cou over some redpolls with Newton Stringer but the other side effect of Christmas is having to spend far too much time with other people, so I craved a morning of silence, or at least not having to make conversation with anyone.
Like a small child at Christmas I'm clinging to the belief that there is at least one visitor from the Arctic with a bit of a red cap somewhere out in Northumberland so I stumbled back onto Nigel's patch this morning to search for the finch flock that had lots of Mealy Redpoll in pre-christmas.
The flock is still there, and the Alder seed is now falling so the redpolls are often feeding on the ground. I believe if anything the flock is bigger, still mainly Goldfinch and Siskin, but now with a few Chaffinch and at least two Brambling thrown into the mix.
Mealy Redpoll numbers are into double figures but counting them is challenging, full credit to the boys that are pinning the Arctics down at Rainton over a bigger area. Common Buzzard and Woodcock also noted today as well as two Sparrowhawk engaged in what seemed to be co-operative hunting.
I drove home via Druridge, the Chibburn Little Owl was quite confiding today. There was little of note in the fields as far as I could tell, though after spending three hours with the polls I didn't make too much effort.
A quick stop at QE2 which is crammed with Wigeon and Coot as well as a decent number of Black-headed Gull and Common Gull. One 'interesting' 2nd-winter individual of the latter species on the ice shelf showing a hooded appearance stretching well down around the upper breast as well as a very neat rounded head, though there was nothing else about it that would suggest anything other than canus.