First port of call was QEII where the East Chevington redhead Smew seems to have relocated to (as reported by Tim Dean last night). Sure enough showing well just in front of the lakeside early morning offering better views than it had at its previous location.
A 2m swell but little wind meant that their wasn't much movement on the sea at Newbiggin, bird of the morning was a tern (sp) that was dip feeding but too far out to do anything with. A single Great Northern Diver moved north and 3 Common Scoters were a year tick. Up the north beach I added Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and Bar-tailed Godwit as new for the year. Three Snow Buntings fed just north of Beacon Point in typical, er, Arctic habitat, but the walk back over the golf course produced little else.
Bolstered by a lunchtime Cornish and an Apple and Raspberry Slice I headed north, first to Amble to look for gulls with no joy, via the country park which apart from half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and 25 Moorhens produced nothing of note. East Chevington still had two Bewick's Swans on the north pool as well as the female Long-tailed Duck. Two Short-eared Owls were present too.
The goose flock at Maiden's Hall Lake is still hugely impressive though hard to work at times depending on where they are feeding. I counted 16 Tundra Bean Geese there were probably many more roosting individuals. As well as the impressive numbers of European White-fronted Geese (250+) there are also 21 Barnacle Geese that have been sucked in now.
After collecting the kids we headed for our usual meeting place with my older son and a short stroll along the river; yesterday we had splendid views of a Kingfisher but there was no repeat performance today. However heading home I picked up an 'eared owl' from the car at Pegswood Community Park. As we slowed alongside J picked up a second so we stopped to take a look as there was good light, the sun just about to set behind us. Not two but three Short-eared Owls put on a great display circling high and tussling over the rough grass for the kids. Such a good year for them and not just at Prestwick Carr, a further two are lingering around the dunes at Cresswell.