12th Feb. We were greeted by the calls of Pink-footed Geese, ice sheets, potholes and puddles on arrival at East Chevington today, but the brisk walk to the mouth of the burn quickly warmed us through and the chill air was soon forgotten. The reward was excellent sightings of the flock of Twite which to me seem to be getting more and more accustomed to folk passing by and certainly giving the watcher far more opportunity to study and/or photograph these birds than the flock used to further down the coast near Bell’s Pond. There were no rarities among the flock, but the Twite were enough to please us after having visited in strong winds recently and found no sign of them. There was a little wind today and the sunlit dunes made all the difference. A small raft of Common Scoter and the odd Red-breasted Merganser appeared on the sea directly in front of us although waves made for difficulty in picking them up. Sanderling and Ringed Plover were feeding along the tideline. Two Skylark flew south along the dune line. To the west the Pink-footed Geese lifted at times and flew amongst the wind turbines. Having spent a good bit a time by the mouth of the burn and having chatted to interested passers by we found that the geese had landed in the fields behind us and so we took a short walk south to take a closer look. The majority of these birds were Pink-footed Geese, although there was also a sizeable flock of Greylag Geese. Our checking of the geese paid off as Sam picked up a Red-breasted Goose at the back of the Pink-footed Flocks. Such a smart species these Red-breasted Geese and its going on my year list, whatever the thought. Full marks to Sam for picking it out as we weren’t aware that it was being reported here.
Beauty and the Beast
We took a walk along the east side of North Pool but didn’t find a great deal in the area or on the pool. There was a number of Goldeneye, the odd Little Grebe and a few regular birds on the pond. Our next stop was to be Druridge Pools. As we approached the pools we passed an old friend of ours, but he must have been day dreaming and didn’t notice us.
We have still to catch sight of the Water Pipits! There were numbers of Shoveler on the pools and of course numbers of Wigeon and Teal and we found a male Pintail. Common Snipe was also seen.
We’ be getting a bad name as the café near Cresswell Pond was our next stop for a bacon sandwich and a chat to another old friend of ours who we met inside. If that café issues shares I’m going to grab some! It’s always full and I wonder where folk went before it opened. After we had had our fill, the coffee cake was tempting, but the bacon sandwich filled me up, we returned to Cresswell Pond. Once again there seemed to be little about and the water was of course high. After watching the sizeable flocks of Wigeon and Teal at the north end of the pond and the Curlews in the fields to the East we decided to return to patch and check out the lake, but not before watching the Kestrel being harassed by corvids.
There are numbers of Goldeneye on the lake along with a small number of Goosander and today we found at least four Gadwall. We remembered when Gadwall were never seen on the lake until maybe the last two or three years. Best of all a Great Crested Grebe had returned, which to para-phrase the poet Ted Hughs, shows that the globe is still working!
A very enjoyable day, although even I (as one who likes winter) am looking forward to some warmer days.