Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Sunderland - Wonderland

The Sunderland area continues to attract the attention of many visiting birders for the Rainton Meadows Redpoll display team - all 3 captured supremely by Ray Scott today;

Mealy(top), Arctic x2 (centre)  & Lesser(bottom)

with additional interest with also rans of Long tailed Duck at Cox Green(CW) & Iceland Gull (AW) again at the river mouth.

I had a wander from home past the edge of Lambtons & followed the river to WWWT

Plenty of fusts for the year, with Sedgeletch providing Treecreeper, Reed Bunting, Stock Dove & Kingfishers.

the beck was discoloured after overnight rain, but this morning saw the ponds still iced over -
several times this bird looked as if it was about to strike, despite there being no open water
(can remember reading in BB about K'fisher crashing through ice to catch prey !!)

This female bird had a gap between mandibles when the bill was closed (another poor imageo on my FlickR page)

Also at S'letch, a Stoat put on a good show & i was pleased to record it with a wobbly phone held to the 'scope !

Where 'the waters meet'- he broke off from hunting Rabbits to check me out, before it noticed the Water Rail i was watching, crouching under overhanging grasses & stalks -  it fluttered across the beck out of harms way.

It was nice to hear Bullfinch singing in 3 locations, a Goldcrest feeding on the ground - i thought he was sickly at first,

4Kingfisher in total- Sedgeletch, Chartershaugh stretch, Victoria Viaduct & Washington Swg outfall,

at least 5 Mealy Redpolls at Fatfield fishing pond, with 1 feeding on the ground for a fair while.
Mealy, Goldfinch & Lesser Redpoll at the back.

I hung around the Cox Green / Washington WWT area for a while.

After a tip-off about tree removal at Wader Lake, i checked out the best Avocet viewpoints... Roll on March ! (thanks NF)

That section produced a great selection today including :-

Nuthatch, Dabchick, Tree Sparrow, Long tailed Duck, Brambling, Goosander, 60Siskin, 5Mealy Redpoll (the fatfield birds were still there when i went back), Barn Owl, Kingfisher, LBBGull, Goldeneye, dead Scaup, high tide roost of 40 Redshank & a real surprise when a pair of Peregrines came by, flying slowly up river......

I was still a good way from home when it began to get dark, but no Shorty nor Barny at Sedgeletch as i made a bee-line over the favoured fields - though i got a shock - firstly a covey of Partridge came up, then 3 female Pheasant (i though they roosted in trees, not the ground ?)

Finished the day with 80 species on my Sunderland List - at the moment all OFFH.... though a couple of old gadgees with padded lumberjack shirts were messing about in a boat.... i wonder . . . .

local patchers boat ? - its called PERSERVERANCE

( Ive been looking at the list of SSSi & SNCi's in the met.boro & noted them on my google map here  - many of these classifications are for flowers & girly bollocks, but there are numerous areas that ive never visited - some of them will surely hold some good birding . . . .  looking forward to checking them out....
The Google map still amazes me - i wasnt sure if i could view Whitburn Steel adequately from the confines of Sunderland, but clicking on that little 'yellow jelly baby icon' gives an amazing 3D view
Obviously keeping tabs on regular Hton patch, but this Metropolitan Borough idea has opened up a whole new patch - i'll have to swot up on seagulls & little dots hurtling over the waves -
I havnt had a close look at what a sum-total could be by 31Dec2011, but im Wondering about a target of #200 while im Wandering !!)

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