I've been down to the patch a couple of times post. No photos though, it's just been too dull.
I had a nice dusk visit on 20th, it was nearly dark when I left at 16.15. Highlights were two ruff and eight dunlin on the Budge fields and flock of about 15 fieldfare flying over and into the bushes, quite often a species I have to wait until autumn for.
Standing at the Budge screen, I heard a water pipit calling, but I couldn't find it, I think it was overhead. There were also three drake pintail still present.
On Sunday, I took look one look at the number of people at the Budge screen and gave it a dodge. I had a quick look offshore, but it was very quiet other than a flock of about 40 scoters flying south which included five velvet scoters!
This morning was quite warm, but the strong southerly wind and overcast skies made it feel colder. And there very few people about - which is good.
There are still plenty geese about though. The majority, a flock of over 3000 pink-feet, were over by Low Chibburn somewhere - they lifted and settled gain after a light aircraft flew over. A smaller group of about 350 came down into the fields west of the Budge - there were at least five European white-fronts and five barnacles with them.
I saw three species I wouldn't normally expect in January:
Greenfinch - one on the feeders, a species I wouldn't normally expect until the big post-breeding flocks of finches arrive in late summer - the presence of feeders has dramatically increased the number of finches, tree sparrows and reed buntings overwintering at Druridge.
Shelduck - normally a February arrival (there were two on New Years Eve - not a species I would expect in December at all).
Stock Dove - Two on the Budge fields - again a February/March bird
My other year-tick today was little owl - thanks to Dave Elliott for the tip-off
From the Budge screen, I picked up a very large (must have been female) peregrine sat on a fencepost beyond the Haul Road way over towards Low Chibburn Farm. The drake scaup was still on the big pool.
My year list now stands at 86 species and 99 points for the Patchwork Challenge.
Ooh we're close, I'm on 86 for 95 points....
Only Saturday to get some new January birds Stewart... 90 would be nice to finish the month on!
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