( 13.75 mile according to my Google map )
Very lightly milder than of late, & with rain rather than the snow we had again at the weekend.
When it eased off a fair selection became vocal :-
Mistle Thrush, Coal, Blue, Great tits, Bullfinch, Wood Pigeon & Dunnock all singing, with local Buzzards displaying yesterday.
|The Mighty Sedgeletch|
A single pair of Lapwing back on their small breeding site at Sedgeletch this morning despite the remaining ice & snow.
Waited 5 mins at 'the waters meet' & the Water Rail appeared - thats the last 3 visits ive seen him there - though the RM's ones seem to have been hit hard by the minus 10-16's before Xmas.
nice to visit that lower stretch of the river for the first time - added Gadwall, Shoveller
|Seaweed ! & Gadwall|
|White Heugh, nr Sth Hylton - A19 bridge|
with Goldeneyes, Dabchick & Goosanders too.
had another look at that Fatfield LBBGull today - im pretty sure its an 'intermedius', MH has had a look at it too, darker than a UK bird.
another unusual one was at the Swg outfall at WWWT - either a Gadwall hybrid or one of these strange mixed sex ones i read about not so long ago.
i rushed a 'boring' looking stretch at Offerton, jogging to make up some time, when a roadside Little Owl bounded away from a large Sycamore
surprise at Herrington with the unusual sight of ice free water !
must be 4-5 weeks since saw any of the local waters like this
less than a third ice cover, lots of gulls & duck here, with Pochard yeartick.
rushed the final furlong hoping for Micks IceGull at Biffa, but the light went by i got there - thats one for another day
ended with a day list of 78 species on foot from home -
undoubted highlight being a Local Patch tick & the areas smallest bird, the Harf Inch.
Single Hawfinch at Biddick Wood - while checking ditches where id watched Woodcock the last few visits & heard it calling right behind me.
spent a while hoping it would come back into view, & had a nice close view of a continental Coal Tit amongst several of its more olive mantled mates.
Looks promising, in an area of mature Yew & Beech on the far Eastern boundary of Lambton Estates - only saw the one, but i'l be back to check it out again.
Frustratingly it was 100 metres outside the Sunderland boundary, but nestling very nicely inside the Houghton one .
(Hopefully, any twitchers climbing the fence there are unlikely to ever be seen again.....)
Hoton Patch -89
Sunderland Met Boro -90
Vice County 66 -91