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VC66 Sightings - SAT 18th Nov'17

A fresh start to the weekend from Gateshead boroughs high ground, Steve Fryer was up on Barlow Fell early doors noting Barn & Tawny Owl, along with 20+Tree Sparrow & 50Skylark.

The dedicated sea-watchers at Whitburn Obs also got off to a good early start with a juvenile Iceland Gull close inshore at 7am, other highlights from the morning watch included 5GNDivers.

Comprehensive details of the Ob's daily log are listed on the Trektellen website :-

A fine Saturday morning early winter is a perfect time to appreciate the beautiful parkland at Croxdale Estate - Fred Milton reporting back with an excellent range of woodland birds,

Croxdale Chapel image by F.Milton

including Buzzard Dipper Sparrowhawk Goosander Nuthatch Treecreeper GSW Jay etc but sadly none of the recent Hawfinch today.

2 Green Sandpipers noted at Chilton Moor - this is an exciting & active bird to study in winter, it can be hard to detect on small inlets & issues, though this site regularly produces records of this non breeding species from every month of the year.

Green Sandpiper image by S.Evans

Over recent years a pattern has emerged of local birds noted visiting modern sewage works, where they are impossible to detect other then when arriving or leaving.

Another Green Sand was viewed at close range at the Phil Stead hide.

Our local RSPB reserve continues a good run with a small herd of Whoopers Swan dropping onto the Saltholme West roadside pool, comprising a couple of family groups.

Whoopers - image by IanF

Elsewhere on the reserve visitors were treat to a list of specialities including Water Pipit, Pintail, Cettis Warbler & Long-eared Owl.

Water Pipit - image by B.Martin

The coast at Seaton is popular with visitors & dog walkers particularly on a weekend, although they seemed to have little impact on the 4Shorelarks which gave many visitors the chance to study & photograph this unusual winter visitor from the high mountain tops of Scandinavia.

This species appears to be having a better run of records over the last few winters, with Dave Phillips noting the Twite flock close by having risen to a respectable 90 birds. Elsewhere at Teeside Marsh Harrier & Spotted Redshank look set to spend the winter with us.

Inland local patchers report winter thrushes as rather thin on the ground other than up in the dales, with treble figure flocks of both in upland pastures.

Fieldfare image by IanF

Bill Richmond visiting the Durham uplands today & finding 2Snow Buntings whilst making the most of the sun to record this superb image of our County bird & Club emblem

Grey Partridges seemingly confused by the weather with a mix of coveys & vocal paired birds. Winter feeding stations are yet to pull in any large numbers as natural food sources are still in abundance.

Todays star bird seems to have been a GLOSSY IBIS,

spotted by Hilary Chambers at Greatham Creek - the first County record this year & in fact the first seen for a while hopefully this will be relocated on your local patch tomorrow........

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