After a week where the two evil W's, work and weather, got the better of me and having spent Saturday getting wet on a building site that more resembled a lake I was looking forward to my Webs count this morning so imagine my dismay when upon awakening the only sound was of shifting tiles and creaking eaves as the wind tore a hoolie round the gable of my house. I considered not bothering but even a blustery count is better than siting around thinking about all the work I should be doing so off I set.
Arrived on the Tyne at 8.10 hoping the rising tide wouldn't effect the last section of the site only to find that the gale was so strong the tide looked like it was going out and the mud flats were devoid of bird life. No point counting nothing so will leave it till later in the week when weather and tide may be more favourable. Not wanting to go home I headed up to Whittle Dene and spent five minutes on the road dam watching seven Tufties, eight Goldeneye and a Cormorant fishing at the far west end of the reservoir while searching for the long staying Redhead when a bird flew in from the east and landed just fifty yards away. Ah perhaps my luck had turned. It was the Smew and it was swimming toward me as I edged the hide (car) nearer. I have tried to photograph this bird many times but it has a personal space of about 100 meters so this was the closest yet! Got three shots off and waited for it to surface a little closer but as it did took one look at the car and flew off west. Bugger!
So down to Prestwick Carr where many of the birds that should have been on the banks of the Tyne were huddled in the middle of flooded fields. A mixed flock of 200 or so Golden Plover and slightly fewer Lapwing were surrounded by numerous Black headed and Mew (Common) Gulls.
The only additions to the list over the week has been Feral Pigeon and today added Shelduck and a bathing juvenile Great black-backed Gull. Perhaps he could wash a bit harder and turn into a putative Slaty backed Gull!! (see Birdguides)