I got picked up about 9:15 by SA then we went to pick up AR a few minutes later and then finally The Finch (DC) soon afterward. We arrived in Northumberland at about 10:30ish and like a bullet out a gun me and The Finch went straight for the budge screen at Druridge Pools. The Finch set up his scope and started laughing as he had it straight away, second bird he looked at apparently. So there it was a fine drake Green-winged Teal amongst some Eurasian Teal. I got my eyes on it through The Finch’s scope and then once I was sure I had seen it I set up my scope and had a look at it and then took some pictures. I wished I had spent more time watching it instead of trying to get a picture as it soon disappeared after about 5 minutes of watching it. We didn’t see it again but we did see Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Shoveler, Wigeon, Snipe (The Finch only) and Herring Gull.
We then headed on to East Chevington bust sadly there wasn’t much showing at all in the area! The Finch headed down to the hide and we all followed. We met 2 lads in the hide and they where debating whether or not a bird they had seen was a very early returning Marsh Harrier. It was down so we waited a while and it came up and it was ID’d as a Common Buzzard being mobbed by 2 Carrion Crows. Then about 5 minutes later The Finch cried out “BITTERN! Straight out over the island” we all panicked asking where and eventually got onto it. The Bittern was up in the air a good 20-30 seconds and I had fantastic views through my scope. What a belter! Didn’t expect to see one of them today. There where other birds about with Coot, Great-black Backed Gull, Teal, Kestrel and probably other birds but sadly I didn’t pay much attention probably due to the excitement of the Bittern.
We moved on to have lunch at Druridge Bay Country Park and we enjoyed our lunch. Here from the car park and car we had Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, and Red-breasted Mergansers. The Finch also reported a Pochard as being present.
We then headed onto Low Hauxley. The feeding station was busy on the way out with Tree Sparrow, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, and Dunnock as well as a Pheasant up the wooded bank which quickly went out of sights. The reserve itself was heaving (as far as Low Hauxley goes) with birds. Loads of waders and these included Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone (The Finch only), Redshank, and Dunlin. Also there was a single lonely Brent Goose, some Greylag and Canada Geese. Also I think a few Shelduck were present and that’s all I could remember sadly.
We then headed north to a pull in to do a Sea Watch and where distracted by a Stoat! We watched this white stoat for a short while and then got back in the car. It was cold! Even cold for me to do a Sea Watch and I’m usually up for one. From here we headed back down to Cresswell Pond NWT, at Bell’s Farm there was a single Brent Goose still present as well as a Turnstone and a few other birds such as Canada Goose, Lapwing, and Shelduck? Can’t remember? We then headed onto the hide at Cresswell where we had fantastic views of the Otter! It came really close but must have smelt us and disappeared never to be see again by us. We added Tufted Duck and Reed Bunting to the day list and other birds were present that Cresswell usually tunrs up.
All in all a good day with 1 life tick and 4 year ticks.
Life List update
232 – Green-winged Teal
Year List update
115 – Brent Goose
116 – Green-winged Teal
117 – Bittern
118 – Bar-tailed Godwit
Here are some pictures from the day…….enjoy!
(Green-winged Teal (far left) - Derek Chalrton)
(Green-winged Teal (2nd from right) with Eurasian Teal - Andrew Kinghorn)
(Brent Goose (pale bellied) Low Hauxley - Andrew Kinghorn)
(White Stoat - Derek Charlton)
(White Stoat - "HEY! What you's looking at?" - Derek Charlton)