You get two sunny days in a row and every man and their dog(s) head for Druridge. It was like a bank holiday Monday in August this afternoon, cars, people, dogs and kites everywhere.
A quick look on the sea produced a flurry of year ticks - guillemot, red-breasted merganser, eider, razorbill and kittiwake (the patch competition is very generous, awarding two-points to the latter three species!). There were also 11 red-throated divers offshore and 17 sanderling on the beach.
After nearly being attacked by a huge black shark (on the end of strings, held by a small child) we headed for the tranquility of the Budge screen.
The Budge fields still hold a lot of water and a lot of birds. The highlight were three pintail amongst the wildfowl. A visiting birder alerted us to a short-eared owl, perched on a fence to the south of the screen. It sat, perched on the same fence-post, for half an hour. It was too far away for photo's.
Two long-tailed ducks are still on the big pool. The female was being harassed by the first returning shelduck of the spring.
At the 'top-end' a mixed flock of goldfinch and linnet also contained a single greenfinch.
So the year-list stands at 73, giving me a score of 81 on the patch competition. The mini-league for the 'Coastal North' has been published for January and I am last - got some catching up to do.
65 moorhen (seen last week but missed)
68 red-breasted merganser
71 short-eared owl