Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

Birdwatching in & around Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, County Durham.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Patch Tick - our smallest bird ?

i had a walk along the Wear via Cox Green down to South Hylton & back via Offerton & Herrington CPk

( 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
& my first views of local patch Sea-weed to the list there,

White Heugh, nr Sth Hylton - A19 bridge

with Goldeneyes, Dabchick & Goosanders too.

Phone-binned Goldeneyes

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

Herrington C.Pk

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.....)

Latest scores:-

Hoton Patch -89
Sunderland Met Boro -90
Vice County 66 -91

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