Saturday morning a quick trip to Gosforth for an hour produced decent views of the 2 Bitterns once again. There was still a bit of ice round the edges of the reeds and it was mainly Mallards sitting on it and in the water was up to 80 Wigeons, 100 Teal and a handful of Lapwing.
These birds were very unsettled taking to the air quite a lot as a couple of Sparrowhawks decided to do some exercising in the area. Also the first Cormorants of the year for me and a couple of Grey Herons out looking for a bit of Breakfast were welcome additions. On my way out I bumped into Nigel T who said he had just seen a Kingfisher flying along the Stream. Spotted 2 Roe Deer through the trees and watched them for a couple of minutes until they were spooked by someone walking through the Woods and were a great site running and jumping in my direction then over the hedge into the open fields. At Big Waters a lot of the ice was gone and the pond was filled with birds. Spotted Graeme B in the car park and gave him the pleasure (some may call it that, some don't) of my company on a wander round the public end for 45mins. Then went to the hide and was amazed at the amount of Teal I could see even though Graeme had said he had got to just over the 300 mark. When Alan J arrived he started counting in earnest and after a lot of movement they settled down and a count of 602 was obtained, a record for January since records were started. Other notables were 2 Great Black Backed Gulls, the first Snipe of the year, 8 Wigeon, 5 Lapwing and a Goldeye. In the Feeding Station plenty of Siskins, a Water Rail scuttling across at an unbelievable speed, 5 Reed Buntings along with the normal multitude of Finches, Robins, Dunnocks and the Tree Sparrows.
Alan whilst replenishing the feeders moved the broken cage feeder into the trees and the whole dynamics of the Feeding Station seemed to change, all the birds moved to the left hand corner of the hide nearest to the Hide (the light was bloody awful and annoyingly didnt get any decent pics) with 8 or 9 Blue Tits sitting in lines along the branches, they were then replaced by Tree Sparrows and every bird seemed to be targetting one feeder. This was obviously noticed by a young Sparrowhawk who came storming into the mass of birds but speed along dosen't get the meal and he left "empty clawed".
Sunday Morning up to Cresswell early. Andy M was already there preparing for his WEBS count and there was plenty of stuff around, including 5 Red Breasted Merganser
428 Wigeon was Andys count but he carried on so might have got even more. An enjoyable 2hrs was had there with people popping in and out including Vee and lots of movement on the pond, my first views of a Shoveller this year and 5 Shelduck along with nearly 200 Curlew made the visit even more enjoyable.
Off down to St Marys via Woodhorn whilst searching for the Greenland White Fronted Geese I spotted Graeme Bs car so knew I had got the right place. Got onto them straight away and that was a lifer for me. 20mins of enjoyable chit chat and watching lots of geese movement North (Graeme, the 3 flocks I took pics of were 124 Pinks, 136 Grey and 175 Pink, didnt take pics of the 4 other flocks) then to St Marys, a bag of chips and the second half of the match in the Car Park (No more to say on that other than "We Were Robbed". Whilst sitting there jumping up and down I did notice that the BHGs were getting there Black Heads already.
Bumped into a couple of young (young to me anyway) who had spotted a Common Scoter but unfortunately I didnt get onto it. Lots of Golden Plover and a couple of Grey Plover, even in the bad light, were lovely to see. Plenty to see though as usual although only spent 30mins looking as the crowds were gathering to get across to the lighthouse with the tide revealing more and more of the causeway. It looked like the start of the Grand National with about 50 people waiting for the tape to go up, unfortunately the young gentleman (showing off to his girlfriend) who broke the tape also slipped and ended up quite wet (I just dont understand people who can't be patient)
Walking South along the promenade on the bend there was a sad sight of a young dead seal which had just been uncovered by the outgoing tide with various Gulls paying it attention. Heres hoping that the light next weekend might be a bit better so Mr Nikon can be unholstered.