Due to an accident over in Cumbria, I'm some what lacking transport, and the Uni is lacking 2-3 metres of hedgerow, so walking was the mode of transport for the afternoon, I'm glad it was.
Before meeting SW I had a quick look at Red House Farm Pond, 20 Mallard, and 1 Grey Heron fed in the ice free water. We headed along the backtrack to Holywell, just before the Dene was reached I picked up the call of Red-Legged Partridge over the embankment, as we edged over a few birds became visible feeding around a game feeder, left by the shoot. At least 8 Red-Legged Partridge were present in the area, joined by 12 Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, a couple of Pheasants, and a lone Robin.
The hedgerow between the Dene and the pond was quiet, with only a few Blackbirds present. We stopped briefly at the public hide to see the pond was 100% frozen, with a small group of Gulls sitting in its centre. As we made our way to the members hide we flushed a Woodcock from the hedgerow.
The feeding station was relatively busy, although ice had created limited views, as the bottom two shutters wouldn't open. 10 Moorhen, 8 Phesants, 1 Female Brambling, 1 Female Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren and Blackbird were showing in the feeding station. A second Woodcock was seen flying the length of the North Wood, and a male Sparrowhawk put in an appearance.
25 Greylag flew overhead, and 20 Gulls rested on the ice, 18 Herring, 2 Great Black Backed.
Santa visited the Scrimgeour household last night, and very generously left me a scope :) so today my Dad and I headed up the coast, firstly to Cresswell Pond.
The pond was complete frozen, with only a few Lapwing and Gulls standing at its centre. The ducks were all tucked into the SW corner, Wigeon, Teal and Mallard. Also Redshank, Curlew and Carrion Crows were in the area, the Barn Owl put in a quick one, hunting over the dunes. A lone, ringed, Whooper Swan landed on the ice, I collected the ring details and we headed off towards the River Blyth.
At the top of the hide track a few birds were feeding in the muddy area left by the sheep. Fieldfare, Skylark, 6 Grey Partridge, Magpie and Starling. The lone Magpie seemed to have the knack of imitating the Partridge calls. As we drove down the coast towards Lynemouth we picked up a Merlin being chased by a Jackdaw and a further 6 Grey Partridge.
15-20 Waxwings were sitting in the tree's just off the spine road, just before the West Sleekburn slip road.
The Blyth was teeming with life, large numbers of Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, joined by Ringed Plover, Goldeneye, Teal, Goosesander, Coot, 2 Woodcock and a single Bar-Tailed Godwit.
Last but not least we headed down to St Mary's, where I've been missing out on the large numbers of Skylarks and Buntings present. Quick text to TS and we headed into the Northern car park. We pulled up to find a lone Redshank, it was busy so we didn't expect to see much, just as that thought passed through our minds the flock appeared on the horizon, consisting mostly of Skylark, although 4 Snow Buntings were present, along with a single Reed Bunting. A big thank you to the people contributing to feeding these birds. If you haven't yet seen this flock its well worth the trip, don't forget to take some seed with you ;)