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That Frida' feeling

Well, what a difference a full day of sunshine makes - Loads of Bird News from across the County today.

First news this morning was of 4Whoopers sw over Whitburn(KDs) & a further 3 adults in-off at the now well watched Blackhall beat (RR), which continued its good run, also holding 2Black Throated & 13Red Throated Divers, a single fem Velvet Scoter & a Water Rail on the beach pool - perhaps a late migrant?

Whooper Swans in-off at Blackhall - image by Rob.R

The recent flooding, quickly followed by a hard frost must have come as a bit of a shock for our first year Kingfishers - 1 at Boldon Flats (DFo) was away from regular haunts - sudden floods & discoloured water often bring birds to standing water bodies & reports today came from Hardwick(2), Far Pasture, Hurworth Burn, Rainton & Joes Pond.

Kingfisher image by Brian Smith

The North Gare Shorelark flock was reported to have increased to 7 birds, whilst the Snow Bunts up at Shields dropped to 2....

Green Sandpiper image by BrianM

Birds at RSPB Saltholme included 2Water Pipit, GSand, 2Blackwit, Marsh Harrier & Water Rail.

MH was able to join this years Hawfinch club with a bird resting close to a Houghton housing estate - a superb addition to any local patchers list.

A juv Peregrine was a fine sight moving over Lamesley (GStorey) & 2Jack Snipe were again at Shotton (RR).

Towards the end of the day a spectacular 30 Red Kites were in the air together at Gibside (GN), whilst the gull roost further up the valley at Derwent was reported as below average numbers with 6,300Common, 3,200BHeaded, 15GBB, 6HGull & 2LBB's & a fem Merlin(P.Massey).

Gull roost at Derwent Res by P.Massey

A surprise GCGrebe dropped into Low Barns late in the day -

winter plumage GCG image by GB.

nowadays more notable at this time of year than the pair of Little Egrets in the Cormorant roost ! Another Little Egret was inland on the Deerness west of Esh Winning today (DPhi)

At the end of the day Redwings & Blackbirds left the limestone escarpment at Pittington (SE) before continuing on south at height - no doubt continuing their migration.

colour ringed Curlew image by IanF

This bird on Seaton Common today was rung on Seal Sands back in 2000.

Whilst the situation regarding Curlew in some parts of the Country is worrying, it is evident that Durham continues to be an important County year round for these wading birds.

A current desk study of Curlew in the Lower Wear Valley is giving an insight into the range of these birds which roost at WWT Washington.

The simple map shows flightlines & feeding areas so far this month - it would be interesting to know how much further they range & where other Curlew roosts are located....

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