Saturday, 8 January 2011

Rainton and Chester, and review

Just been able to get on here , and as I have so much to put on I have just decided to do a quick review of my NYB (New years birding).
NYDay was a late start but we headed straight down to the N tees area. First stop COWPEN BEWLEY, which enabled me to get some quick waterfowl- Pochard being the Highlight, and some Tits and Finches, but also a Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
Then to Saltholme. Brambling and Bullfinch were new additions. Quickly added Water Rail, Bittern and Long Eared Owls- pretty good start. After a gentle walk, we headed up to Hartlepool, picking up 2 geese species in the field and a Short Eared Owl. Hartlepool had Rock Pipits, Eider, Red Breasted Merganser and loads of Waders. Suprised to see a dead seal too!
2nd: Up the coast on the Second. Brent Geese, Shelduck, the rest of the waders, Sea Duck, Red Throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe and Tawny Owl all good birds, oh yeah, and Waxwing (Morpeth)

On to todat: We decided to go to Rainton Meadows DWT for the multiple Arctic Redpolls that have been seen there amongst the Lesser and Mealy Redpolls. Arrived there at twelve and went stright over to the first hide, btu realised this was a waste of time as it was stil frozen, se we went up to the feeders where the Redpolls are regularly seen. We sttod for a while watching the coming and going of the birds, seeing large flocks of Goldfinch, Lesser Redpoll and Mealy Redpoll feeding in this small area of young Trees and shrubs. After being sttod around, freezing, for a while, a small pale redpoll perched on a nearby tree, and a few people mumbled its location, saying it was arctic. ARCTIC REDPOLL! Finally, I caught up with the species after missing it on a previous attempt to see it.

After a 'coffee' at the cafe and brilliant views of Bullfinch, we headed of to CHESTER LE STREET. On the river their there have been sightings of Whooper Swan, Scaup, Mandarin, Gooseander and Kingfisher along a small stretch of river. As soon as I arrived I spotted an unusual bird on the river- Goldeneye, a beautiful female under a road bridge. After watching her for a while, we moved on in search of the other birds. As we reached the wier, we began watching a group of 4 Gooseander, two males and two females, diving in the river water. Suddenly, a blue streak flashen aross my binoculars, and I followed it up river until it was lost from sight. KINGFISHER! Now in a brilliant mood we headed to the area the other birds had been sighted. Standing on the edge of the river with two other birders, I quickly picked out a single WHooper Swan, Male Scaup and Female Mandarin Duck. Amazing. On the way back to the car we bumped in to a flock of tiny Long Tailed Tits and Goldcrests. A perfect end to a brilliant day.

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