This morning I followed my usual route up the coast via Cresswell. I decided to call first at Druridge Bay Country Park and view East Chevington north pond from the hide where the Pacific Diver has been seen most recently. This was my first time in this hide which, although having a restricted view to the west, is well worth adding to my regular visit list.
On the way, a field between High Chibburn Farm and Widdrington held over four hundred Fieldfares and a few, possibly six, Redwings.
There was no sign of pacifica from the north hide at East Chevington, but there were plenty of other birds of interest.
There were four male and five female ducks showing strong Scaup characteristics. Given the poor light and that they were distant, I will leave other sage minds to decide whether they are or not. Having recently been looking at hybrid ducks, the mind boggles at the possible permutations for Scaup, Pochard, Tuftie. They looked convincing Scaup to me, especially when a more slightly built female Tuftie swam alongside.
A pair of Pheasants plundered the grain under the feeders, which attracted two Blue Tits, and singles of Goldfinch and Reed Bunting. Meanwhile, a Water Rail screeched occasionally from the dense reed.
Everywhere you looked there were Goldeneyes; a few displaying enthusiastically. There was a smattering of Tufties, Teals, Gadwalls and Mallards, a pair of Red Breasted Mergansers, quite a few Mute Swans and a few Coots. Little Grebes were more evident from their calls than from sightings.
A small bird attracted my attention. Dark cap, white cheeks, dark back and light sides; diving frequently. A lovely non-breeding plumage Slavonian Grebe.
There were at least four Chiffchaffs calling in the country park.
I returned to view Cresswell Pond from the roadside to the north. The eighteen Whooper Swans that arrived last week were still there. On the north pool, there were seventy-five Dunlins, four Avocets, one Ruff, four Ringed Plovers and around ten Redshanks. There was an occasional fly-by of four Turnstones and regular visits from very active and noisy Oystercatchers.
As I returned towards home, a flock of Whoopers flew north over the River Lyne, so I turned around in pursuit. As I hoped, they joined the others at Cresswell Pond and swelled the flock to thirty-nine.
The forecast was cloudy but fine at first, followed by rain. Got that back-to-front, didn’t they?