Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Monday, 17 January 2011

Sunny afternoon Ramble

I resisted the call of the now thawed  nature reserve pools, but by-passed them for a farmers field ramble.

A pleasant sunny afternoon, even nicer out of the breeze - the birds seemed to think so too with a couple more species beginning to tune up.

A Willow Tit singing briefly from a regular breeding location was very much unexpected, so early in the year - though Stock Dove doing the same, along with sallying display flights were expected.
Bullfinch i think of as being a February singer - though they seem in fine fettle this year -  a few more males heard. - A good crop of berries & tree seed (flock taking Ash keys today) & now fatteing buds to go at.... their local population has never been so good.

I wrote yesterday about the dearth of Skylarks & low & behold a pair back on territory today - the cock bird making a couple of tentative stabs at bursts of sub-song, although he was quick to return to ground each time to feed & follow his mate, as if he was hesitating, realising  he needed to keep his fat reserves for a later date.

Linnets have suddenly reappeared too - small flocks buzzzing about near to nest colonies, Yellowhammers sitting soaking up the sun & a cock Reed Bunting in just about full plumage, all further hints that we are steadily pulling away from the shortest winter days.

A couple of usual suspects were on standby for a quick photo-session

- although one of the Leos appears to be a 'new' bird

- even taking into account todays good light, still much paler than any ive previously seen this winter.

An OFFH yeartick almost evaded me - Grey Partridge were noisy, coming up in groups & pairs every now & then , but a "runner" eventually grabbed my attention...

Red-legged Partridge it was - perhaps not too much of a surprise up at Seaton where they are put down, but across this way a decent bird to find.

Sunderland Yearlist         109
Houghton Patch OFFH     95
Vice Co.Durham             112

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