It's been a strange week trying to mix a busy work schedule with birding. Managed to combine a meeting at Blyth on Thursday with a stab at the Red necked Grebe in Blyth harbour but without success although the Snow Buntings were more obliging. The good sunlight also allowed some attempts at Sanderling in flight but with limited result.
Other than that it's been a schedule of work from 8.00 till 3.30 then out on the Carr for an hours birding and back to work till 6.30. Why the schedule? Well there's an evening visitor which made up No 50 on the list and if you don't blink you may get a view. Start scanning the distance around 4.00pm and with luck she'll be low and fast over the grass turning to fly directly toward you, she'll be hard to spot as she merges with the background. Then about one field away she'll bank right and start making a long turn into the wind where she may just make one pass before dropping down into the grass. Twenty to thirty seconds if you're lucky although many aren't. Of five expert birders present on Wednesday two failed to pick the bird up and last night of the twenty or so present at least five didn't see it. I trust this included the lady with the bright pink dayglo jacket and dog at heel who perhaps needs to re-consider her attire before expecting to see many birds other than rear views of those flushed by the dog.
Anyway, the spin off benefits of my schedule is more birds for the list. Tuesday the bird flushed a large flock of Teal from the ponds near the garden centre and Wednesday saw a flock of 33 Waxwing sudddenly emerge from behind us and fly into a tree 50 yards away before moving into the hedge further west.
Thursdays watch saw the big bird flush numerous Snipe from the fields and PF spotted a Woodcock that flew straight over our heads up the bumpy road such are the benefits of spending some time on the patch.
This morning it was out sharp in dull weather to be greeted by a small flock of eleven Siskin that by the time I retuned at 10.30 had grown to 34. Also added to the list were possible Green Woodpecker yaffling in the golf course but no end of searching could get a visual although 16 Waxwing were flushed and headed off west. Twenty three Pink footed Geese flew in from the south and turned east over the Carr possibly heading to Big Waters and a solitary Mute Swan headed for the flash water. This makes the year list now only 56 with notable omissions being Skylark, Meadow Pipit and any Owls. Lets hope the onset of warmer weather will allay fears about the effect of the bad winter on these species.