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Sat 16th Dec - Friday 22nd Dec

Saturday 16th

A Lapland Bunting was noted all week at Newburn

Lap Bunting image by Ian Forest

Barn Owl (GS) at ShibdonPond Gateshead reminded us of 3 species of owls seen back in Nov 1988, when Barn, Tawny & Long-eared Owls all roosted on site in adjacent trees. A couple of daylight hunting birds were noted at Houghton & 2 nr Rushyford on 19th (GB)

7 Snow Bunting remained at Shields (DH)

Peregrine over A690 Houghton (NU)

1GND, 1 BTDiver, Merlin & Snow Bunting at Blackhall.

Sunday 17th

Water Rail in Roker Park again (PeteC)

Monday 18th

possible Coues Arctic Redpoll in mixed finch flock at Barlow Fell. 200+ birds mixed finches present.

(Steve Fryer)

Raptor fest at Hurworth Burn (JO)

Merlin, immature Peregrine, Buzzards, Kestrels & Sparrowhawk

young male Merlin in the West of the County (Derek Bilton)

5Woodcock in the East Rainton area & 3 Hetton Bogs which had min of 5 Water Rails (CW)

Scandinavian Rock Pipit at SAFC Academy car park (JC)

Littoralis Rock Pipit (John Chapman)

Glaucous Gull at Shields seemed to have lost its attached hook & line

Winter wildfowl were more evident with Mergansers displaying at Hartlepool (BM)

Still a familiar sight on the N.Tees marshes in winter - the graceful Pintail - a very rare British breeding species, caught here in flight.

Tuesday 19th

Lapland Bunting again coming to a seeded area with 60 Linnet nr Newburn bridge although very flighty (Norman Urwin)

Bittern was spotted at RSPB Saltholme from the wildlife watchpoint (Dougie Holden) - another was on the Long Drag during the week.

3 Chiffchaffs were at Zinc Works (IF) - there has been at least one here since late October - another was retrapped by ringer at Whitburn having been rung there in the Autumn - both seem unlikely places to overwinter, but with with the pattern of an increase in winter birds over the past couple of years.