The first few days of 2013 have been a slow meander bird wise, with all ornithological activity done from the seat of my bike.
New Year's Day was curtailed by high winds, so the north of Cramlington was concentrated upon - the Horton Burn dipper was picked up near the affectionately named Boghouses, and kingfisher, grey wagtail are always pleasing for the day one year list. Jack snipe is available in the vicinity but a lack of suitable foot ware prevented a look. Later perhaps.
Wednesday to Friday was spent on 12 hour shifts - so it was dark both sides...
Saturday was the bird clubs winter big day - while for me it was a shorter than expected trip out on the bike with a trip to Blyth seafront and the realisation of an apparent slow puncture. It was a quicker ride back as I fought to beat the impeding flat tyre and long walk. Still, the short journey produced a few new birds for the list including red throated diver, cormorant and shag.
News on Sunday of crossbills in Cramlington saw an early afternoon bike ride to Valley Park - a smashing spot. We managed three crossbill (7 had been seen earlier), a couple of roe deer, plenty of reed bunting, chaffinch, bullfinch, great spotted woodpecker and the like. At the Southfields roundabout the adult lesser lack backed gull flew over the road, always good to get this early as its quite a scarce winterer here.
Arcot was full of wild fowl of limited species - wigeon, tufted duck, teal, mallard and gadwall, plus mute swan, Canada geese, coot and moorhen.
Beacon lane provided redwing and fieldfare and 45 grey lag flew west over us as we approached Bassington NR. Our arrival at Bassington was greeted by seven lesser redpoll in the north-west corner, another good species to "get out the way" in January. Not much else there, a couple of goldcrest and a blackbird to be precise.
The wonders of modern technology informed is that today's bike ride was 16 odd km, not a bad circuit, of which the map can be seen here:
Hopefully I'll be out tomorrow, maybe travelling a bit further too.