This blog has been lacking bird pictures of late so I set off yesterday to rectify that situation. Up the coast to Cresswell, normally a banker at this time of year. After managing to park alongside an RV that almost filled the car park joined ADMc and colleagues at the north end who instantly put me onto a juvenile Peregrine as it passed overhead. As the panic subsided got decent views of two Curlew Sandpiper, Wheatear and plenty of Dunlin along with a visit from SH and Crammy Birder. Was advised of Pink footed Goose, Pintail, Goldeneye and Scaup but all views into the sun so no photographs were taken.
Druridge was packed with trippers so off to the Ponteland hide at Hauxley. Seven Dunlin, three Redshank, one Ruff one Mute Swan and a whole lot of stink but decided to make a go of it. Something passed overhead, possibly the same Peregrine but everything bar the Swan and a few Teal flew off north. I was joined be a couple armed with some decent equipment and we spent the next twenty minutes watching nothing but the Swan. They called it a day and as they left, advised me that the Tern hide was providing more action. I replied I was doing a timed count and stayed put. All comes to he who waits and no sooner than the gate was shut than a peeping put me onto a Kingfisher right in front of the hide. I had waited for years to finally see these inanimate bits of wood that someone had hopefully placed there be used by their intended target. No sooner had I focused (or not as it turned out) than someone else came into the hide and the bird flew off. I didn't mention that he had just missed a wonderful sight and we spent the next ten minutes watching the bird fishing from the fence line on the other side of the pond.
Off then to Amble for some sustenance and actually bought a pasta salad and fruit cocktail rather than fish and chips. No not some health kick, the queue for F & C was down the street and the Co-op had them going cheap. Parked on the front and instantly noticed a white ring on one of the many Black headed Gulls present. Un packed the scope and to the entertainment of those in sitting in their cars chased the damn bird back and forth not helped by some brat who thought putting the flock to flight was a great game. Eventually got 72J as the last three letters and either T or J as the first. Cut the bloody grass can't you (hypocrasy at it's highest if you see my garden!). Anyway some research in Birds in Northumbria 2008 suggested that the bird was J72J ringed in Trondheim 2005 and seen at Amble numerous times since.
Back then to the hide at Cresswell where four Snipe in front of the hide kept us amused and I finally found the Pink footed Goose and Pintails in the distance.
Was joined in the hide by Nigel and Vee at which point I found the Scaup quite close near the sandbar. We waited in vain for her to get closer but after a brief stare back she put her head under her wing and slept.
The Snipe provided more amusement as we tried unsuccesfully to get shots as they took off but a dragonfly in front of the hide was a bit more obliging. I described it as a Green Hawker but after consulting the book found they don't occur in the UK so I guess it's a female Blue Hawker.