Monday 6 May 2019

Tick and run for 249

I hate the tick and run culture of birding, but sometimes, needs must!

News broke this morning of a cattle egret amongst the ponies on the Budge fields at Druridge which had allegedly been found by Dave Elliott. Janet and I were in Alnwick meeting friends over coffee in Barter books when I heard about it but as soon as we could, we headed south. It was mistake to take the A1 as the bank holiday traffic had already slowed to a stop at Felton, frustration grew but we eventually made it to the patch. The egret had moved onto the field north of the pool amongst the cattle (who would've thought?) and was viewed at a distance from the turning circle. The views were satisfactory though and the bird showed well and the sunshine made the orangey colours (of the bird coming into breeding plumage) on the crown and back stand out well. Not prepared for birding, I had no cameras on me so there's no pics...

Family commitments meant I couldn't hang about, but a great bird to catch up with on the patch, if not totally unexpected. Cattle egret takes my patch list to 249 and the overall patch list to 269.

I tried a seawatch yesterday evening from 16:45 for an hour. It was quite with a couple of manx shearwaters going north, eight sandwich terns, a couple of whimbrel and nine common scoter of note.

On (or over) the Budge fields I noted all three common hirrundines and my first swifts of the year, with about half-a-dozen over the pools on the fields. Four species of raptor were also noted - kestrel (remarkably my first on the patch this year), sparrowhawk (big female over the pools), buzzard and marsh harrier - a female hunting on the Budge fields.

This rather fine lapwing caught the light outside the little hide.

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