Saturday, 1 February 2014

A ray of sunshine

January having been the most dismal start to a year I can recall with the patch list on just 53 and weather that depresses the hell out of everything it was wonderful to see February dawn clear and sunny. My usual count was still low with the exception of 30+ Pied Wagtails on the largely frozen flash water and 20+ Blackbirds finishing off the crop of Hawthorn berries. The total lack of Redwing and Fieldfare was notable but singing from Robins, Dunnocks, Great, Blue and Coal Tit was in full swing with one early Chaffinch joining the throng. Upon turning for home I cast my bins over the dozen or so Black headed Gulls in the horse field and low a Med Gull was present. Only my second on patch and first self found and photographed.
Later I headed up the coast and at Druridge couldn't find the Green winged Teal but four excellent Pintail were present. Unfortunately the weather had returned to bleak and the wind was howling so I decided to watch from the car and off to Amble where a small Fish and Chips was consumed whilst checking the Black headed Gulls. It's of note that many of Northumberlands Black headed Gulls and some of the Mute Swans associate a car window opening as a sign that food is present. I wonder how that will stack up in the long term development of the species. Gull J72J was still present and without feeding the scraps (well there wasn't any) I worked my way back down the coast toward home. Numerous reports were appearing on Birdguides for Little Gulls and at St Mary's Island I parked up and within ten minutes had a first winter just 20m offshore. The photo was taken through the windscreen but by the time I'd got out for a shot in focus the bird had moved on. A good gull day then.

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