Whilst doing my Webs count on Sunday I bumped into Geordie S a birder whose patch includes the lower Derwent River where I finish my first count. He advised that a number of Cormorants had died at nearby Shibdon Pond over the last two weeks and that others were looking ill. He had watched one as it swayed, head down for a while and eventually simply keeled over which is a bit of a concern for the cause of death it suggests. Now I know Cormorants aren't everybodys favourite bird and indeed to Fishing Clubs can be a registered pest. Licences can be obtained to shoot them apparently but surely nobody would be taking pot shots at such a well watched spot as Shibdon. Worse still the corpses are rapidly consumed by the many Gulls in the area thus anything untoward is passing higher up the food chain. Hopefully there will be a simple explanation or the event will pass. It would be a shame not to see the many birds that use the River Tyne sunning themselves on the remains of the Staithes at Dunston. The picture above is a Big Waters bird as I've tried for some Tyne shots and it's just been too gloomy.
Other items of note from the count were 496 Teal over the stretch between Redheugh and Newburn Bridges and 104 Curlew at Newburn Riverside Business Park.