Despite the freezing weather it is more like spring, this evening was cold but sunny and I managed my first proper after-work visit to Druridge of the year, a couple of hours of nice birding.
There were still a few wheatears on the short turf and a chifchaff or two in the woods. The Budge fields are the wettest I've seen them since the big floods of September 2008, there's not much room for breeding lapwings! The outflow burn is running out hard across the beach though.
The Budge, and surrounding fields, held a lot of black-headed gulls, a scan through the southerly mob produced nothing new, on my way to the little hide, I looked up and saw a large raptor overhead, it just wasn't right for buzzard, it was female marsh harrier - it soon lifted everything off the fields and 14 of the grey herons out of the heronry.
By the time I reached the little hide, it had vanished, but judging by the amount if birds in the sky over Bell's and Cresswell ponds I bet it had gone that way! The herons hadn't settled because some geezer was in the wood nicking timber, everything else had settled though and so had I, to scan through the gulls....BINGO! the first one I got my scope on was a adult Med gull!
I went off looking for snow buntings on the beach or a black redstart maybe, but turned up nothing new. Nice birding though...
The car said it was 7.5 degrees when I left - it felt more like .75!
I am off work for the next week so expect more regular updates from the patch
91 lesser-black-backed gull
92 marsh harrier
93 Mediterranean gull