As March falls into it's latter stages, the warmth of Spring is not even hinted. Its absolutely freezing, with a cutting easterly blow.
Sundays birding was from the relative discomfort of the push-bike, with a lap of Northumberland's most delightful village. The route took me to West Hartford where STH had reported a drake shoveler earlier in the morning. Sure enough the dapper drake was still present, along with 40 teal, five gadwall and a couple of mallard. Good going for the patch. Ten oystercatcher huddled on the shore.
Bassington NR was a void of nothingness, my hopes for a Cramlington green woodpecker are decreasing as the first quarter ends, it'll be up to a calling bird at Arcot for a few weeks last hope.
Northumberlandia was the next port of call - despite the weather a few families were out for midday walks, and the site was very quiet bird wise. The land to the east of the opencast looks promising for the next few years, with newly planted trees looking favourable for owls and the like, maybe a wintering great grey shrike too... From the top of the Northumberlandia "face"I could get a great view of the surrounds - snow to the land not far west, and raging seas along the east coast. Ah, I do love Spring.
Beacon Lane remains little owl-less and I even managed not to find any yellowhammer today. Arcot Pond was better - still good numbers of wildfowl on the water - three goldeneye were my first in Cramlington for 2013, while support came from pochard, teal, mallard, wigeon, tufted duck and plenty of coot. Could not see the little grebe, probably in the reeds...
The detour via Valley Park did not provide the hoped for Jay, but approximately 25 waxwing at the start of Greenlaw Drive were a nice bonus.