Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ton Rush

Last day of my wife's holiday week and with the kids still on holiday birding may be limited next week so I opted for an early-ish morning at Newbiggin ahead of discharging parental responsibilities at the bairn's football and work.

Three Waxwings again on the dregs of cotoneaster berries at Wansbeck Business Park as I went past. A brief stop at the Woodhorn railway bridge failed to produce Chiffchaff but a Goldcrest was the first of several.

A flat calm sea and strong sunshine along with little obvious movement meant I didn't sit for long, just long enough for two patch year ticks; the stocky silhoutte of a drake Shoveler moved north through the sun close inshore and a more-distant, and southbound, Sandwich Tern was overdue.
Five Purple Sandpipers fed on the rocks at Church Point. Harbour Porpoises continue to show well off the Point with at least two groups again today, often visible to the naked eye.

The beach walk produced little more than a smattering of Meadow Pipits and the wander through the juncus and gorse added nothing extra. A few Blackbirds along the Ash Lagoon Bank along with a singing Song Thrush then up came the hat-trick with a dapper male Stonechat flicking about the tall stems between the first two scrub patches. I watched it for a while, as they really are smart in Spring and they hang around long enough to let you sort out the scope and phone.

I took a short walk around the Mound and the new plantations, hoping for Chiffchaff but a single Siskin, Goldcrest and a hatful of Blackbirds were all I could drum up. The Mound was showing signs of native activity though as ever they had melted away.
Native Fires
Back across at the point briefly 2-3 Red-throated Divers put in an appearance. I headed back 'inland' to Woodhorn and had only managed half a dozen paces from the car when a Chiffchaff briefly sparked up providing my 100th species of the year at Newbiggin. A search of the graveyard trees drew a blank and then it started again seemingly further away. After a few more blank minutes I eventually tracked it down in the hedge where it sang intermittently as it moved along. The church pool was Groundhog Day until something pale shot into the juncus, momentarily giving me a wtf? moment, until it re-appeared and I managed to get better views. Pushes the Stonechat close for looker of the day even if it is just aberrant. 

White-faced Bunting!