20th Nov. Lee and I began a few hours birding today at Castle Island. It was far quieter than the last time I had visited but we did count fifteen plus Goldeneye amongst the waterfowl present. The day was brightening and warming nicely.
Next stop was to look over the rocks and sea just before reaching Cresswell Village. A small flock of Common Scoter flew north before landing on the sea and drifting southwards. Two or three Red-throated Divers were seen along with Guillemot, Razorbill and Eiders. Waders on the rocks below were Oystercatcher, Knot, Purple Sandpiper, lots of Dunlin and Redshank. I’d kept a look out for Little Auk without success.
The feeders along the pathway to Cresswell Pond Hide were attracting many passerines including Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and tits. We’d seen a male Stonechat on the wires as we parked up, and more Stonechats were seen feeding in the reed-bed in front of the hide. A Little Egret was also found in front of the hide as we entered and it fed there for sometime before disappearing behind the reeds to the right then flying northwards to the other end of the pond. It soon returned and showed well in the sunlight. A Water Rail crossed the open area in front of the hide giving a short, but good sighting. Common Snipe flew into the same area and most soon disappeared into the reeds. I’d estimate that we saw upwards of thirty five fly towards us in two flocks. One or two remained in view on the edge of the reed-bed.
There were large flocks of Lapwing at the pond area and one of the flocks constantly lifted and flew over the pond. There didn’t appear to be any threat from raptors. A lone Kestrel perched on the wires by the road and on occasions flew north of the pond where it hovered. The edge of the pond held large concentrations of both Teal and whistling Wigeon. Little Grebe, Gadwall, Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser were amongst other birds on the water.
We moved north to Druridge Pools. The pools and surrounding area were quiet. We were unable to locate any geese in the area. A small number had been seen as we passed Woodhorn, which I think were Greylag, but could not be certain as we were unable to stop.
Maiden Hall was quiet too with the only sighting of geese being Greylag. Shovellers and Goldeneye were seen on the lake.Although a bright day, the light was none too good as we arrived at East Chevington. Again it seemed that the only geese present were Greylag. There were good numbers of Gadwall on North Pond. Teal , Wigeon and Goldeneye were again seen in some number. It was soon time to make for home.