Visits to my Druridge Patch aren't going to be very frequent as we've gone into Lockdown Part III. I'm back to birding on foot from home in line with the current restrictions. I've got a new challenge for the year - Lockdown listing. Alan Tillmouth set the ball rolling on this, birding only within a 5km radius of home.
I'm quite lucky in that my patch includes a good length of coast including most of my Druridge patch and some more ponds - Cresswell, Ellington, Linton Lane, Warkworth Lane, Woodhorn and the QEII Country Park. There's some nice woodland including Chugdon Woods and Ellington Dene and I'm yet to explore Ashington Community Woodlands (formerly known as Pit heaps).
|My 5km patch|
I've had a few excursions in the last couple of weeks, all on foot, including Cresswell Pond, Snab Point and mammoth trek south to Beacon Point last weekend which was the first time I've walked there from home. Today, Janet and I headed to the Wild West of the 5km patch - Linton Pond, returning by North Linton and Warkworth Lane Ponds. It's ages since I've been to Linton Pond - there were lots of birds but nothing unusual. At North Linton we found a big flock Fieldfare and Redwings with over 30 Yellowhammers and 50 Tree Sparrows in the adjacent hedge.
|Alien landscape next to Lynemouth Power Station|
|Looking west across Warkworth Lane and Highthorne towards the snowy Cheviots|
|Warkworth Lane on a frosty morning|
Closer to home, I've been checking Ellington Pond in my lunch breaks. I've found a huge flock over 600 Linnets using a winter bird crop in the arable field next to the pond. They're feeding on fodder radish which is amongst the unharvested barley.
|Bird food crop|
|Linnets heading in to feed|
|A single linnet|
I've recorded a decent 104 species on 5km patch and it's getting me out to places I never usually go to. To spur us on with a bit of friendly rivalry Alan has set up a list on Bubo -
I did get to visit my Druridge Patch yesterday. We were passing on our way home from shopping so it made sense. There was a lot of disturbance from the pheasant shoot next door (strange how that is still allowed) but managed to add Marsh Harrier, Shelduck and Buzzard to my year-list. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and it was nice to get away from the mud of the paths and woods around home.
|Two of a larger flock of Curlew headed over|
|Sanderlings heading south over the breakers after being flushed from the beach by a dog.|
I'll keep the blog updated with news from Lockdown 5km patch and Druridge when I'm allowed.
Love it. This is the area that I do a dawn to dusk in February every year, but not this year I fear. Last year's report here, we have probably bumped into you in the past as we've been going here from Belfast over 20 years now.
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