Happy Christmas to all out there in Birding Land and outside of Birding Land (mostly my Kids, Grandkids and Great Grandkids) and especially to those who profess their dislike of the festive season.
Returned to Howdonland on Friday evening then after a bit of admin and shopping on Saturday Carole told me to go and watch some pretty birdies somewhere while she washed clothes, tidied the house up and I suspect wrap a couple of presents. So after a bit of protestation which didn't last too long and telling her that she should be resting as she has failed to dislodge the horrible cold she has had for a couple of days I was out of the door like a shot in the direction of St Marys. Parking outside the cemetery I walked past the North Field which was as usual populated by mainly Curlews and the odd Lapwing. The tide was nearing its peak so there was plenty to see close to with lots of Gulls, Redshanks, Sanderling, Turnstones and the odd Cormorant close to the promenade. On the promenade itself were plenty of Pied Wagtails, several Rock Pipits and Turnstones who weren't too bothered by human presence.
In the Wetlands there was a substantial amount of Gadwall (18 I could see although I was told later there were 30+). Wandered around to the top of the grass bank overlooking the North Bay where I met a nice guy who has just moved up here from Sunny Wiltshire to Non Sunny Monkseaton, Nick Adams. I spent about 2hrs there watching Sanderling, Turnstones with the odd couple of Purple Sandpipers "playing" and feeding in the tide line.
Nick was interested in Colour Ringed birds which I have recently become more interested in and we spotted 3 Turnstones and 1 Sanderling with rings. Nick kindly sent me an email with the details on as I had forgotten my book. The highlight of the day was watching a Peregrine making several attempts at getting his Christmas Eve Dinner but as far as we could see failed despite at least twice cutting a single Golden Plover out of the flock of many hundreds but never succeeding in the final kill. Most of this happened in glorious light and was an amazing spectacle to watch with hundreds of birds wheeling around the sky or diving onto the muddy rock faces to disguise themselves.
Other birds seen were quite a few Eiders and a solitary Med Gull (seen by Nick but by the time I got onto it I could only describe it as a "blob in the distance". There was also a couple of Greater Spotted Twerps frolicking in the Surf although I am not sure if they were of the Human Race as the male looked a bit like Jamie Oliver
Finally, whilst away in Norfolk/Suffolk over the past week my lifetime total increased by 4 to the magnificent total of 256
Once again Happy Christmas to everyone, even those Bah Humbugs in Beadnell and Wallsend