I headed west this morning for a spot of birding at Allen Banks with Mark. It was a sunny if slightly windy morning, so hopes were high for a good show from our targeted migrant species.
Two pied flycatcher were singing during our visit - a very smart species in spring. Both birds were mobile, singing frequently - I assume these are very recent arrivals and have not yet established their territories yet.
Allen Banks has also proven to be reliable for wood warbler in recent years, and this mornings visit heralded just one mobile singing bird. Wood warbler is actually becoming a tricky bird to catch up with in Northumberland, so this is generally the best time of year to nail the species in the county (in 2007 there were no recorded observations in the autumn!).
Overhead swift were conspicuous and on the river itself a pair of dipper were active, taking plenty of food into a nest.
Also noted were goosander, grey wagtail, mallard, chiffchaff, blackcap, nuthatch, treecreeper and wren. Redstart was neither seen nor heard.
A quick stop-off on the journey back home produced one yellow wagtail at Whittle Dene, with a pair of swallow apparantly intent on nesting in the hide.