Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Stoatily Gripped

With last night's teasingly close reports of a possible Sooty/Bridled Tern on the Northumberland/Durham Border the bairns, determined to grip off their older brother, twisted my arm and made me arrange a twitch if news was out by the time we dropped him off at school. With no news by 08:45 it was duly cancelled and we headed for Cresswell instead.

A busy hide with two occupants ensured all the available birds were already pinned down and could be swept up quickly though my daughter seemed more intent on sweeping up literally with the hide brush! A non self-found year tick Little Stint later along with a rather short-billed juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and a few Ruff we readied ourself to leave as the phone rang with news that Sooty had turned up on Colt Crag Reservoir.

Should I be ashamed of actually considering letting the kids skip nursery to twitch it? I didn't of course instead spending the morning contacting people I knew were out there and passing info out to those who might waste fuel checking sites that had just been looked at; worked quite well with Sweethope, Capheaton, Colt Crag and Hallington all visited and negative news relayed over the space of an hour.

Kids in nursery I decided to drive down to Derwent on the off chance that Sooty was on a circular route, almost fruitless. Whilst loafing at the roadside at the west end this Stoat wandered over the road and clarted about for a while on the grass verge a few feet away.

Whittle Dene on the road back added little more than 7 Great Crested Grebes and a 3rd-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull that was probably a large male and had me considering michahellis for a short while. Nice to see Mike Richardson (Birds in Northumbria Editor) out in the field here.

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