I awoke to rain and more greyness which prevented any thought of getting out sharp on Prestwick Carr but by 10.00 there was blue sky at the coast so I headed for East Chevington in the hope the six Snow Geese had remained and I could obtain a royal flush in geese for the year but no Geese at all present when I arrived so carried on up to Hauxley.
The Ponteland hide was busy so walked up to the Tern hide where IF and colleague had most birds present accounted for until a Greenshank flew in and started my day of taking crappy pictures. A colour ringed Turnstone plus Grey Plover, Bar Tailed Godwit and Curlew also added to my pain alongside numerous Ringed Plover and Sanderling playing with my attention on the beach.
Returned to the Ponteland hide and watched 304 Greylag Geese for half an hour before checking out Druridge Pools where all the ducks were on the far shore and then continued on to Cresswell.
As I arrived seven Whooper Swans flew in and upon entering the hide I was informed that two Bittern had recently been displaying to each other and that a Red Crested Pochard was on the water. I found the Pochard along with a female Scaup and a pair of Pintail and a Ruff but the Bittern wasn't playing so I spent the next half hour or so discussing the merits of said species with a fellow birder and Vee who had turned up with her big lens at the ready. We were joined by a lady with a distinctly Low Countries accent who we guided round the various species until she asked if there were any Shelduck present. We guided her to some juveniles feeding near the spit where upon the birder remarked that they were a 'nice dutch bird'. I noticed her flinch as the translation suddenly hit home before she realised that it was neither a come on nor compliment and after a brief pause a discussion regarding the dutch translation of Shelduck ensued. Precious!
Of course eight people in the hide and only the quiet lady who hadn't said anything piped up with 'isn't that a Bittern' and we all focused (or not) on a bird flying about twenty yards back into the reeds. Another hour passed and the bird hadn't shown again although I'd managed to ID a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper with the help of a birder from Troon. The light was fading and I shut the window and was about to leave when the shout went up and there was the Bittern again in typical posture peering out above the reeds.
In all then, a splendid day with some good birds but my photography was woefull.