Saturday, 2 January 2016


Day 1 of 2016 was a humble affair, with a couple of mild pottering in the afternoon. Pottering 1 saw a quick visit to the delights of Killingworth and the smaller portion of the lake. Our quest was simple - the redhead Smew, which has remained teasingly close to Cramlington with residencies at both the private Shasun pool and over at Big Waters.

Ascot was not productive Asio-wise, but a number of common year list padders sufficed.

Pottering 2 was later in the afternoon, with a jaunt to West Hartford; fine views of hunting Barn Owl were obtained.

Day 2 has weather-wise been a torrid affair, the birding somewhat better though.

QEII Park at Washington provided great views of a 2nd Winter Iceland Gull. No camera other than the iPhone, so I tried my hand at "digi-binning" with moderate success...

Pity the BHG wasn't the main photographic objective, however a record shot of the Iceland I guess....

With the smell of success from the comfort of the car, destination two was to be a similar mission - Widdrington providing Great Northern Diver from the driving seat.

My arrival at East Chevington was made somewhat better with a Lesser Redpoll on the trackside. The North Pool still had the Slavonian Grebe along with some more usual suspects - including a nice party of Red-Breasted Merganser.

Heading up the road to Druridge Bay Country Park provided the biggest surprise of the trip - rolling down the bank to the water sport car park I noticed a bulky bird hunted on the grass next to the gravel path. Stopping, winding down the passenger window I raised my bins to be confronted by a stinking Pomarine Skua! Bizarre!

With the "success" of the Iceland Gull digi-binning I set my self up to grab a record shot - only to find the bird had lifted.... No sign anywhere despite a good look round the pool / car parks...

Druridge Pools did not provide any Water Pipit, but in compensation 1 drake Pintail and a scabby drake moulting Scaup were noted.

Cresswell appeared Dowitcher-less, but there was a chance it was handled up somewhere out of view. A few Snipe, 1 Water Rail and hods of Wigeon / Teal.

At Snab a half hearted sea watch in the wind, rain and depleting light did not provide much out of the ordinary - 1 Gannet, Kittiwake, Fulmar and a few Guillemot. Newbiggin didn't produce anything either - not even a Mediterranean Gull! Sea was spectacular though....

Final stop, River Blyth - few waders added to the day list and not much else.

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