I have not done much birdwatching over the past two weeks, apart from looking at the garden visitors and the occasional observation en route to work.
My better half and I decided that we would have a short trip along the coast this afternoon. But before we set out, we were entertained by a female Sprawk that landed on our fence and then hopped along our neighbour's hedge. It stayed for about five minutes. I could have run for the camera, but I preferred the pleasure of just sitting and watching such a spectacular bird.
We headed for Cresswell and a two huge flocks of Pink Feet were circling over the fields towards the Ashington to Alnwick road. Based upon a comparison with a flock I took time to count a few weeks ago, I would guess that there were at least 2000 birds present.
A large number of Wigeon were feeding in the field behind the farm next to Cresswell Pond. Further along the road, near the double bend beyond the Druridge cottages towards Ellington, there were 29 Redshank. Behind the cottages were 6 Grey Partridge. As they fed , never raising their heads, my wife commented that they looked like a group of large Hedgehogs.
It rained steadily most of the time and we decided to stay put in the car. I had hoped for a short walk to see if any tweets were feeding in the fields near Callico Barn, but I think they were hiding from the rain as well.
As we returned past Cresswell Pond, all the waders and some of the ducks took flight. A raptor was disappearing over the farm - a repeated flap, flap, flap, followed by a glide on flat wings - a poor distant rear view in the rain; but a Sprawk for sure.
In spite of the poor weather, the black sunflower seed in our feeders has not gone down as quickly as hithertoo. The Coal Tits have ceased their frantic hoarding and I suspect that more of our neighbours are putting out food. As I crossed the bog that passes for our back lawn I found what I assume to be one of the seed hoard bravely pushing up leaves.