Greyhens in Weardale image by Dave Brown
Some local movements of wildfowl & waders were evident after the recent heavy rain followed by a sharp freeze. Black tailed Godwit appeared on Boldon Flats, 3Whoopers were at Bish Middleham & 4 Shoveller at Lyons Park.
Blackhall produced an excellent selection, all 3 diver species & 8Goldeneye on the sea. Water Rail & Jack Snipe again on the beach pool. 2Barn Owls, 6Stonechat & a Lapland Bunting moved south.
Seaton Snook Twite flock has risen by 100 birds since the end of October, now numbering 120 birds - which attracted the attention of a hunting Merlin today (IF)
Twite image by IanF.
Close by the Shorelarks in the North Gare area appear to be split in 2 separate groups of 4 & 3, although Snow Bunting seem to still be in short supply.
Chiffchaff image by D.Fullerton
A further sharp frost seems to have pushed any remaining Chiffchaffs into sheltered waterside locations with 2 at Jarrow & Ch-le-Street, with singles at Pittington & Hetton Lyons. These ar not such a common sight over recent winters.
An unusual bird on the Sedgeletch local patch - Red-legged Partridge. The first one here for MH since April 2004 ! This is all the more surprising given that a regular breeding area exists just 3,000 metres away - showing just how sedentary these birds can be.
Regular fieldwork in the NZ34 area & surrounds (GS RR SE CW MH et al) shows Jack Snipe returning to regular winter haunts, Woodcocks back in limited number & Short-eared Owl seemingly restricted to just 2 individuals in the whole Houghton/Wellfield areas. It seems many of our northern visitors are 'bad to get' this season.
Warm sun encouraged Great Tit & Mistle Thrush to further brighten the mood despite the days getting shorter.