A quick catch up from last Wednesday. I decided to get up fairly early and get to the coast just as the light was getting good enough to sea-watch.
I arrived at Snab Point at around 7:45. It was overcast and the light very flat. There was little or no wind, the sea was calm and the tide low. I spent about an hour scanning the sea. Very few birds were in evidence, but I did see around a dozen Red Throated Divers.
A trip up the coast followed, where I spied two large flocks of Pinkfeet heading inland towards the lake west of Widdrington. They eventually landed somewhere in the land between West Chevington and Broomhill. There must have been more than a thousand.
Having failed to find the feeding Pinkfeet, I went to Druridge Pools. As I got out of the car, I was greeted by a female Merlin hurtling south along the dunes. She veered towards the trees alongside the Budge Field and spooked a flock of finches, before disappearing from view. A short while later I noted a flock of Starlings and Lapwings rise rapidly from the fields towards Cresswell Pond and I guessed that Mrs Merlin had passed by.
From the Budge Hide there were good views of a large Lapwing flock. I stopped counting at six hundred. A Little Egret dropped in from the east and promptly disappeared in the long grass.
The middle hide afforded good views of a flock of one hundred and nineteen Curlews feeding alongside Lapwings, Widgeons, a small flock of Redshanks and a single Ruff.
The main pool held a good mixture of ducks. Mallards, Widgeons, Gadwalls, Tufties, Teals, Goldeneyes, Shovellers and a single drake Pochard. Two Little Grebes fed on small fish very close to the hide. In the distance near East Chevington reserve, I could see a female Marsh Harrier quartering the ground, with angry Crows in pursuit.
I paid a second visit to Snab Point, where the tide had receded. Apart from Eider Ducks and one or two Red Throated Divers, the sea close in was quiet. Towards the horizon, a large flock of gulls followed a fishing smack. As I looked through my scope, an out of focus black and burnt orange object blocked my view. A male Stonechat sat on a plant no more than five metres away. It was joined by its mate and they foraged for a few minutes before flying out of view.
I then drove north to check again for geese and to look over the still very full Cresswell Pond. A flock of over five hundred Pinkfeet settled two fields west of the pond. I didn’t bother to visit the Cresswell hide.