Last Saturday, 12th April, I had a trip to my usual haunts of Druridge Pools and Cresswell Pond.
The main pool at Druridge had around 30 Sand Martins at a time. From observing individual birds I think that many were passing through and, during the hour that I viewed the pool, the number of individuals seen was probably a lot more than 30.
The long staying female Common Scoter was still present along with Tufties, Gadwalls, Teals, Mallards, a single Great Crested Grebe and pair of Canada Geese, with one apparently nesting on the island.
There was no sight nor sound of Little Grebes and this is the first time I can remember not recording one on the pool. No sight nor sound either on the Budge Field.
From the middle hide there were lots of Shovellers on view. I counted 13 males. No sign of Swallows, although one visitor the hide had seen one over the reserve. A pair of Pintails were the highlight.
A single Chiffchaff and a Robin were the only vocal birds.
At Cresswell Pond there were 6 Avocets. The usual species of duck, with a single female Merganser, were joined by a several very active Redshanks. There were no Little Grebes in evidence here either.
On Friday, 18th April, I spent most of the day along my usual coastal route.
At the flash near Lynemouth traveller site, three Whooper Swans were present with three Mutes.
Starting at Cresswell Pond, I was greeted along the track by a couple looking at a male Garganey on the small pond, which was uncharacteristically highly visible. At one point it was driven to the centre of the pond by a truculent Coot. Once in the main hide, several visitors had either seen, or were directed to the Garganey. It later appeared on the main pond with several Teals and was asleep on the west bank when I left. Subsequent visitors to the hide probably missed it, especially since the light and haze were not helpful.
I was joined by a couple, David and Linda, with whom I shared a very productive and enjoyable hour. Two visiting Whimbrels accompanying a Curlew showed well on the spit. This was an excellent opportunity to compare size and plumage and David took some photos that showed the differences very effectively. This week, only two Avocets were present.
Two Black Tailed Godwits, one in full breeding plumage, originally identified by another visitor as Bar Tails, added to the variety on view and then a Little Gull put in an appearance. The gull was very active, only twice stopping for a quick rest in about half an hour.
Two pairs of Mergansers joined Mallards, Tufties, Teals, Wigeons, Shovellers, Goldeneyes, Shelducks, Gadwalls and both Canada and Grey Lag Geese. I heard a Little Grebe, which, given the absence last week, was a relief.
I was surprised that there were no Sand Martins in evidence, given the number seen last week at Druridge. No sign of any Warblers, but several Tree Sparrows attended the feeders, which were well stocked.
Next stop, East Chevington. Nothing unusual on the main pool. In a single bush I had Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap all singing.
Druridge Pools held a good range of wildfowl, two Whimbrels (probably the same two that had flown earlier from Cresswell) were with 75 Curlews in the field beyond the main pool.
A male Marsh Harrier hunted the field beyond the Curlews and a pair of Yellow Wagtails landed right in front of the hide.
Only a very few Sand Martins in evidence, but my first Swallows were evident in small numbers across the reserve. I heard Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat.
On the Budge Field a Lapwing is apparently sitting on a nest in full view of the middle hide. The two Whimbrels put in a brief appearance, before moving on again.
From the car park at Snab Point there were two Red Throated Divers, a Fulmar and several Eiders.
Although I made no deliberate effort to build up a good list, I saw 68 species during a very enjoyable day.