Friday, 6 January 2012

More First Week Birding

Yesterday's north-westerly offered the hint of miniature auks off of Church Point, I headed down sure of finding some shelter in the 'hide' after all it was a Thursday and only 5 days into January. I had to take a quick look around the corner of the caravans to convince myself that someone hadn't opened a birdfair style marquee with refreshments such was the footfall heading north for 'the wheatear'. At the point my modest arrival time after the school run was only enough to guarantee me fourth place in the line of  seawatchers, not even on the podium. I had stopped for a little glance at the, long staying (2nd year now so I think I can use that phrase) Tundra Bean Goose still loafing around the Church Pool with Greylags and the four Greenland White-fronted Geese. (not pictured before anyone tries it on)

 Tundra Bean Goose

 The seawatch was less than eventful, Razorbill, Gannet (an adult) and 4/5 Red-throated Divers the best I could muster. An adult Mediterranean Gull I picked up a long way out to the north west came in to Newbiggin, I later counted seven in the south bay.

The plan today had been to do some gulls around Seghill Tip but the tip was closed and I could only find a small group of perhaps 80 gulls at best. I had arranged a meeting with a joiner regarding some internal work on the SSWT so I couldn't move too far from the general area. I headed for North Shields Fish Quay calling in at Marden Quarry on the way for the 1st-winter female Lesser Scaup. Marden Quarry provided year ticks in the form of two drake Goosanders, Sparrowhawk and er Wren!

 Lesser Scaup - 1st-winter female

The Fish Quay was very quiet so I moved on to Gloucester Lodge Farm via the chippy and had reasonable views of 16 Snow Buntings around the stubble south of Blyth Cemetery, in the field I saw my first ever Lapwing display as a teenager in the seventies. A nice finch/bunting/sparrow flock to boot.

Meeting over and nearly time to retrieve the kids I dropped into Prestwick Carr for another year tick, it's January I just can't help myself in the first few days. When I arrived birders on site said it hadn't been seen since early morning. I walked 100m down and scanned south and luckily within seconds had latched on to the Great Grey Shrike about 600m across the carr on wires. A couple of Short-eared Owls looked resplendent in the mid-afternoon sun

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