With lockdown restrictions still in place, visits to my patch have been much less frequent than I would like. I'm still getting out on-foot-from home in my 5km patch though.
In the few visits I have made to the patch, I've mostly been working on net-ride maintenance ahead of the ringing season and I did the march WeBS count last weekend, both of which are permitted activities.
On 5th March Janet and I had a wander around the patch, an early Chiffchaff was by the timber screen, it wasn't singing but was calling almost constantly and hasn't been seen since. We also had 140 Twite in the dunes and a few singing Skylarks.
On 7th March I did a quick evening seawatch in a brisk NW wind. I had one each of Great Northern and Black-throated Divers on the sea with a good count of 37 red-throated Divers. When I left, over 1100 common and black-headed gulls were on the sea and more were streaming in from the west.
Last Saturday, there was report of two Ruddy Shelduck north of Hemscotthill Farm so we called by on our way to the shops - to find three of them with 45+ Shelducks. A brief stop on the patch boundary got them on my patch year list too.
Janet and I had a late walk around the patch on Saturday evening, it was a lovely sunny evening, so some of photos came out okay. When we left as dusk approached we estimated over 1100 Common Gulls on the sea.
|Drake Wigeon over|
|One of 1100+ Common gull|
On Sunday I did the WeBS Count. There was plenty to count so it took me a while, Wigeon numbers are still really high (322), as they have been all winter and, as has been the case through the winter, Teal numbers remained lower (43). 35 Shovelers on the Budge Fields was a good count. 12 Grey Herons were looking dapper in their breeding plumage. Waders included four Ruff, a single Black-tailed Godwit, five dunlin and 35 Curlew. A few Lapwings were displaying and an obvious pair of Oystercatchers were sat tight.
On the big pools there was a flock of 106 Canada Geese with a single Barnacle Goose. A Great-crested Grebe appeared to be on its own.
I was asked recently to do a 'virtual' talk for the Natural History Society Of Northumbria about patch-watching at Druridge. I had to record it on Zoom and submit to them. Despite spending half of my life these days on Zoom/Teams etc I much prefer to talk to a live audience. I recorded it in a hurry to meet a deadline and I'm not happy with it really, but here is a link to it.