I scraped a couple of hours in the field Friday between shopping (ugh) and work. It was grey, it was cold and frankly not a huge amount happening. Having said that it was a damn sight better than being stuck indoors. First stop was a quick look at the 'hospital pool' at Ashington for the four adult Greenland White-fronted Geese that have been around since mid-Jan. Still there, or at least their heads were, I presume still attached rather than on sticks but due to the lie of the land who knows.
As I headed up the coast I was hardly filled with optimism. A sudden gush of corvids and pigeons as I came past the Ash Lagoons prompted me to pull in, just in time for a Peregrine to sail through and over into the north end of the lagoons.
Druridge Bay Country Park, my next stop was very quiet, the only vaguely interesting bird (at least to me) I could drag out of the hangers on waiting for bread was an argentatus Herring Gull.
After noting that a large proportion of the Bewick's Swans had departed Slimbridge during the week I decided that I'd head home via the back roads on the off-chance that a group may have dropped in for a rest somewhere. Bewick's are RARE in Northumberland these days. Not 500m along the road and a group of swans appeared as if by magic in a roadside field, 10 in all, the only problem being they weren't Bewick's but Whooper Swans.
I headed slowly back home without seeing almost any birds at all, even corvids were notable by their absence from the usual haunts. A big flock of Lapwing (317) the only entry in the notebook from the new lakes created during opencast restoration at Middle Stobswood.
A last stop at Bothal Pond revealed where all the corvids were, the west field was full with c.400 Jackdaws, 100 Rooks and a few Crows. A little time working through the Jackdaws, sadly at distance revealed three individuals showing characteristics of nominate race monedula (see images below).
Interesting that whilst two showed clear differences between black wing panel and greyer upperparts and/or underparts one stood out as still having black underparts despite a fairly good white collar.Martin Garner has been blogging about Jackdaws again, co-incidentally just this morning and I was interested to note that Dan Brown suggested the possibility of 'intergrade'. There is an overlap zone between spermologus and monedula races in Europe and they have been proven to interbreed occasionally, perhaps these individuals are more likely to be these intergrades or turrium as they were formerly known?