The weekend at last, time for a bit of birding so off to Big Waters after 15mins de-icing the car, which I wasn't expecting and when I got to Big Waters I looked for Torvill and Dean before the birds, the road in and tracks were like a skating rink. First birds I managed to see were 16 Canada Geese circling around and 3 Greylag who then headed off towards the North Fields. I was then ran at and barked at by a dog well under control by his owner who imparted the usual information that he wouldn't harm a soul was just extraordinarily friendly in a strangled voice as he had been shouting for over 2 mins trying to get the dog to come to heel. My reply was somewhat discourteous so I wont repeat it. I then had to hang around as it ran into the fields then into the reserve where some knobhead had left the gate open. Eventually the nice dog (most dogs are nice, its some of the bloody owners that are first class prats) walked off along the track so into the reserve just as a flock of at least 22 Long-tailed Tits traversed the trees on the side of the track. Spent 10mins watching them then off they went, they are such an enchanting bird, then into the 1st Hide which was already occupied by Paul the Driving Instructor (hope I remembered the name right as I had forgotten by notebook and pen) and we spent a good hour there watching the usual suspect but also had the pleasure of 2 Otters circumnavigating the lake and giving us a great spectacle of all the birds coming out of the reeds and flying over in our direction. This went on for over 10mins before things settled down and Paul spotted an unusual bird for the pond on the far side and sure enough it was a Male Pintail.
I was on the phone like a shot to tell Alan J, then he informed me that there had been 3 there yesterday. I then mentioned all the Goldeneye, 7 of them, the reply was there had been a few more the day before yesterday.
I then headed up to the main hide and met Alan J on the way. Alan did a few counts but I cant remember what they were but we did spot a couple of Gadwall, a female Tufted which I had forgotten to mention earlier, a Kingfisher on a fly through which was another patch first for the year and a Kestrel which did a bit of "hovering" but then departed. By this time I was beginning to feel the chill so god knows what Alan's infamous "Blue Hands" were like so we headed off for a walk round the public end. We spent 30 mins there but didn't see a lot as we were too busy dodging dogs or dog owners joining us for a chat (at least there dogs were under control). We saw a Grey Heron then once again I had to inform Alan that we had seen 3 earlier in the day (NOTE - Dont forget Book) .
I mentioned that I still hadn't to see Grey Partridge so Alan took me to the spot that they had moved to and sure enough I spotted them within 30 Seconds. More Long-tailed Tits were spotted and a possible Goldcrest was heard although it couldn't be found but a Coal Tit did appear a few more metres down the track.. So quite a decent day with 3 year ticks which now puts me up to 63 on the Patch.
Finally, I passed Killingworth on the way home and I was drawn to this little beauty which had a ring on and took several pics from a bit of a distance and managed to piece together a bit of a number which is probably not the right one but wonder if any of the details give an indication of which country it was ringed in.
From several different angles I managed to piece together the following:
The M on the 2nd line could be a K. On the ring the MR0 were in that line - the top 2 lines were the same font which was smaller than the number
Thats all I could see as it kept going back into the water and wouldn't go with the others when people were putting Bread and such out.