Since last week's twitch, things have been back to normal around NE66.
A few new birds have been moving through the patch as would be expected by now. Siskins are daily seen passing over but only one male has been on my feeders. Two Bramblings on the return leg of their winter stay called in. A female with the Chaffinch flock on Wednesday then today I heard a familiar 'wheezing' note, like a Greenfinch but softer. As Greenies have a sad new status in these parts I paused and wonderd if it was a singing Brambling? Sure enough, there he was up a small tree singing away, still in winter plumage. Its a sorry state when a singing Brambling is almost as likely as a singing Greenfinch locally...
A bitterly cold NW wind on Saturday gave zero chance of summer land birds so I had an hour seawatch from Rumbling Kern. Its not as much of a point as Cullernose and is in the shadow of Boulmer but it can be ok for gulls and terns.
1600- 1710 -
Red breasted Merganser 1 drake N
Sandwich Tern 5 N ( first terns of the season)
Razorbill 14 identified many auks too far out
Common Gull 98 N
Kittiwake 130 N
Gannet 50 N ( I don’t usually count Gannets and Kittis but early on there isn’t much else)
Fulmar 2 N
Shelduck 1 N
Common Scoter 4 N
Goosander 1 redhead S
Whooper Swan 2 N
Lesser black backed Gull 1 N
Shag 1 N ( rarely count these either, but there was only one today so for completeness)
Red throated Diver 1 N
Purple Sandpiper 15+ on the rock with 15+ Turnstones.Sunday remained cold but very bright and clear so we checked some of our inland sites around Alnwick.
A circular walk along the new local railway and back into the industrial estate by the wooded Cawledge Burn turned up common woodland species with 15+ Chiffchaffs, 5 Great spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Redwing, 2+ Sparrowhawks and best of all, on a small drainage settling pond on the estate, a Green Sandpiper. A nice little find on the edge of suburbia.
Disclaimer. This post might be a bit pic heavy...
|As you can imagine a Green Sandpiper on a tiny pond, it was never going to end well so after about 30 seconds off it went calling on the way.|
After a short stop for supplies at Greggs, it was time to get a little bit more rural, well, 5 miles more...
In the bright sun some typical moorland wildlife was seen but none of the hoped for Ring Ouzels or Wheatears yet...
|A massive flock of Northern Golden Plovers looked great in this light.|
On last years Ring Ouzel field there was scarcely room for one as it was packed with Northern Golden Plovers. At least 700, possibly up to 900 birds present running everywhere and flying short distances making an accurate count impossible. We couldnt find a Dotterel...
Nearby a small Adder, 5+ displaying Redpolls, 1 Stonechat and more Chiffchaffs went into the book.
After a good stretch of legs with not much more to add, we came across a nice pair of Red Grouse.
|Him n her Red Grouse. Not much compensation for acres of burnt moorland.|
Shortly after the grouse we rounded a corner to briefly meet the day's second highlight. On the wires, an adult male Merlin sat with an entourage of mipits and linnets keeping an eye on him, even providing outriders to escort him away from their territories as he flew off.
So, few migrants and no rares but we still enjoyed a very pleasing morning out .
|Male Merlin and his Mipit Mates.|