5th March. Today was as spring like as it gets, but still with a nip in the air. The light was grand once the early mist had lifted.
A quick look at the QE pond brought little of interest apart from numbers of Goldeneye. Lynemouth Flash seemed to hold more birds than usual. (I note from the NTBC Bulletin that this flash along with the Beehive and Backworth Flashes are at risk from planned drainage). We found Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin and Redshank at Lynemouth. A quick look over a calm sea from Cresswell Village brought little other than Eider Duck on the water, but we did have a good sighting of a Grey Seal. Mist lay further out at sea so viewing wasn’t easy apart from close in to shore.
The walk up to the hide at Cresswell Pond provided at least ten very active Tree Sparrows along the hedge and on the roof of the farm buildings. The two Long-tailed Ducks remain on the pond. Other birds seen on the water included Shelduck, at least eight Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Goldeneye and two Little Grebes. There were at least seventy Lapwings on the sandbank with a lone Dunlin. Curlews were numerous and continued to be so with lots of movement whilst we were on the coast.
It was a day to enjoy the weather and outdoors rather than sighting anything spectacular, although by now we had added Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Common Buzzard to our list of species. We were unable to locate any Twite, but did find a small flock of Linnet flying over the road near Bells Pond. Our walk up the difficult waterlogged pathway at Druridge Pools brought us little at the end of it. I’d hope to catch sight of the reported Smew. The sun was so bright that looking in a southerly direction proved pointless as any distant birds could not be made out in any detail. Another Common Buzzard was seen being harassed by a Carrion Crow. In the past I have had some good sightings in this area, but my more recent visits have been unrewarding. The pathway did provide me with some botanical interest in my first Coltsfoot of the year. I was about to photograph it when I remembered that I hadn't taken the camera gear today. I remembered that this little stretch of pathway is excellent for butterflies and other insects later in the year.
We accidentally passed the road for the East Chevington pools so decided to take a look at the pool in the Druridge Country Park. We did find two Red-breasted Mergansers here. North Pool at East Chevington still held numbers of Goldeneye, at least twelve Shoveller and a number of Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon. The bright sun again made viewing of the South Pool difficult.