Monday, 9 January 2012

Cresswell Walk

Photos taken my walk participant

Atmospheric Day

7th Jan. I’d had my fingers crossed since arranging this RSPB walk, as I had hoped we would avoid the icy conditions of last year. Not that I would have minded too much, but I think participation may have been limited. In the event we had twenty-one participants come along on a rather breezy, but otherwise wonderful January day. A day which offered very good lighting conditions. After we had picked up our youngest participant Sam we headed for Cresswell, Linkcatching a glimpse of a Sparrowhawk as we left Killingworth. Sam is a keen photographer and also gaining a keen interest in birds and nature and has provided some good photographs from the day on his blog, which is well worth following. We met everyone in the car-park at Cresswell and before beginning the walk enjoyed coffees, cakes and mince pies provided by members. It was a very nice way to begin what was to be a good days birding and I thank those who contributed the goodies and their time.

Sam has provided a report on his blog so I’ll keep mine short. Well short in a relative sense. :-) We picked up divers auks and waders as we walked along the beach, but got back onto the road as I felt the inlets about to flood with the incoming tide. I was pleased to have found a small flock of Twite even though they were very flighty in the windy conditions. Tree Sparrows were found at Bells Farm as were four Grey Partridges.

The birds of the day were undoubtedly the three Short Eared Owls. I initially caught site of one in the dunes as we returned towards the pond hide. Three Short Eared Owls went on to perform for us for about ninety minutes. This gave me some of my best ever sightings of this species and was a grand way to end the day. They were certainly catching the attention of passing motorists some of whom stopped to ask what species they were. A Kingfisher also put in an appearance and at one point circled in front of the hide. The pair of Stonechats also entertained us as we watched the Short Eared Owls as the sun began to set. With several hundred Pink-footed Geese keep taking to the air and flocks of Wigeon and Teal on and over the sea the day could not have worked out better. It provided fifty-four species. After my trip to Norfolk and this walk I was cream crackered on Saturday night.

My all weather birder mate Tom is back in Yorkshire for the time being at least. His blog is another that I reckon is going to be well worth following in the longer term so I hope you’ll consider following if you don’t already do so.

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