Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Northumberland and Lancashire

I have been visiting relations in Northumberland since 1971 and have always enjoyed the scenery and the birding. Recently however my birding pal David and I have taken to doing a dawn to dusk expedition to see how many species we can get. We started this in 2001 and usually hit 60+. Our best year till now was 2012 when we logged 74. This year we managed 75. When I look at what we missed we could have hit 80! We managed not to get great crested grebe, golden plover, greenfinch, bullfinch and whooper swan. Anyway lets be positive as we had a cracking day,met a few local birders and thoroughly enjoyed our outing. We started at Linton Lane at dawn and then proceeded to QE2 Country Park, Woodhorn, Lynemouth, Snab Point, Cresswell Pond, Druridge Pools, East Chevington, Druridge Bay Country Park, Hadston Carrs and Hauxley. We finished at Widdrington and Stobswood in fading light but by that time there was not a lot to see. I managed to boost my 2015 list by 15 species and add black-necked grebe to my Northumberland list. We also had good views of pink-footed goose, goosander, GSW, red-throated diver, common scoter, sanderling, stock dove, twite, tree sparrow and yellowhammer. Kestrel was a common occurrence and thanks to Deggsy we got brief views of a stoat in ermine and a water rail at Cresswell. Our bird of the day was 6 fulmar at Snab Point. We have never seen  fulmar there this early in the year.

Snab Point had a good arrray of waders including purple sandpiper, sanderling and red-throate divers offshore.

Cresswell Pond

Druridge Bay beach looking South from Hauxley, finally got grey plover here.

I had two goes at the great grey shrike near Cramlington and failed both times. This was in spite of excellent directions from Liverbirder.  I also went to the Derwent Valley in nearby Gateshead to look for red kite and willow tit. The Thornleigh Wood feeding station was disappointing in the range and number of birds and although I walked the area for two plus hours the red kite eluded me. However I was able to add dipper to the 2015 list and saw a fine pair of goosander on the river.

So it was on to Bolton to visit more family, with restricted opportunities to bird. A  woodland walk with the family produced a treecreeper and I was able to get to a local wetland reserve called Pennington Flash for an hour one afternoon. Unfortunately I arrived at 3.30 and the hides were locked at 3.45, so the hoped for willow tit eluded me yet again. Note to self: get up early and get out!!  Hopefully I will have a bit of time to work the patch again and add to the 49 species for January.

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