After spending much of yesterday afternoon catching up on some NTBC emails and keeping tabs on developments on The Farnes with a boat on standby if events and the stars had aligned (they didn't), I nipped out last night for a few hours evening birding.
Castle Island was Egret-less but a Pale-bellied Brent Goose may well have been a patch tick, I'll need to check. A Little Ringed Plover at the east end was dwarfed by surrounding Shelduck (38) and Mute Swans (100); a drake Goosander lingering around the island too and my first Common Terns at this site this year.
Later I went to stake out a couple of possible Long-eared Owl sites, unsuccessfully from the LEO point of view but I did manage Barn Owl, Lesser Whitethroat, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler and the male Quail still singing from the same field as the previous day, so not a bad evening.
Non-birds involved five Hares in the same field, a Harem?
With the kids off school/nursery I planed a trip to Washington WWT today, conveniently Blackhall Rocks is just a few miles fiurther on and it would have been rude to spurn the opportunity of a quick glance at the splendid drake Surf Scoter. Drakes are just the business, one minute innocently bobbing in the waves with just a white patch on the back of the head to show; flick of the head and there's a duck with a clown mask in the midst of the flock.
At 6-700m offshore it was never close but close enough to appreciate a smart duck, clearly bringing some much needed colour to Blackhall ( having worked in Peterlee for five years I'm not a big fan of the place). So no photos from me but below is a borrowed shot from the flickr album of Chuq Von Rospach who took this one on Shoreline Lake in California and kindly allows it to be used for non-commercial purposes by people like me.