Myrtle Warbler, Shincliffe, County Durham
Yeah, I know, it's not the best photo in the world but given the light & weather conditions on Saturday I'm surprised I got a shot at all!
I stayed with my parents for the weekend, in Blyth, just so I could get an early start. I was at Shincliffe for first light but the bird didn't show until 7:30 and then very briefly. Later, however, it did start to show quite well at times, allowing views of the bright yellow rump and the white tips to the tail feathers. The white eyebrow was also quite obvious when the light was ok. Very nice. I gave Myrtle the time she deserved and headed North to Wideopen to try for the Green-winged Teal. By now the heavens had really opened but the bird was soon found on the North side of the lake.
Green-winged Teal, Big Waters NR Country Park, Northumberland
There were a lot of Wigeon & Eurasian Teal but I also scoped a female Scaup.
Scaup, Big Waters NR Country Park, Northumberland
I headed off to St. Mary's Island to look for Purple Sandpiper but the tide was up and there were no waders on the shore. As I left, however, I noticed a large, mixed flock of waders on the putting green. There, in the middle of Golden Plover, Oystercatchers, Dunlin and Redshank, was a lone Purple Sandpiper.
A quick stop by Blyth pier and docks failed to provide the Great Northern Diver but did have a few Eider, Guillemots and a Dabchick.
Today (Sunday) was much brighter. My first stop was East Chevington. The North pool quickly provided me with a Red-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebes and 3 Long-tailed Duck. A pair of Stonechats provided the passerine interest.
Long-tailed Duck, East Chevington, Northumberland
From East Chevington I headed to Cresswell. I had some nice views of c20 Twite at Bells Farm. At Cresswell I was surprised at how much the water level had dropped since my last visit. The track to the pond still had the numerous Tree Sparrows and a confiding Song Thrush.
Song Thrush, Cresswell Pond, Northumberland
Truth be told, there was not much variety to the bird life at Cresswell compared with other sites visited. The exception was a Water Rail at the entrance to the outlet.
The big star at Cresswell was mammalian, rather than avian. An Otter, which I find hard to come to grips with at the best of times, was feeding in the pond. No fish was safe as he caught several nice sized Flounders. Most of time he would take his catch to a reed bed to eat but once he came out on the sandy shore and gave everyone there a real show.
Otter (& Flounder)
Otter (no Flounder), Cresswell Pond, Northumberland
That was the weekend over, except for a few Red Grouse on the way back to Kings Lynn.
Cheviot & Hedgehope covered in snow, from Cresswell, Northumberland