Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Well worth the wade

We've waited years & years for some decent spring time wader habo.
The Buff Breasted Sand found by SMc whilst the site was under construction in the 90's gives an idea of what  the site can draw in when the water level allows.....

2011 & the wait is over...
our main pool at Rainton sporting, courtesy of a sluice, a suitably lowered water line.

Having been opencast mined & put back specifically as a nature reserve & HQ for the County Wildlife Trust, you'd imagine the pools would be superb & need of little change -  this isnt the case.

The profiling is poor & unimaginative, much of the shoreline is very poor & stoney - the result of the compacted soils being eroded away into deeper water - it could, & hopefully will be in time a far better & more attractive to a wider range of passing & resident waterfowl.

On a more positive outlook, some sections of muddy inverterbrate rich shoreline exist & have been irresistable to a superb selection of waders - 20 species having been noted so far this year.

Heres a selection:-
Fine Ruff - found by KM
Green Sandpiper (SE/CW) - JBridges
The first of several Common Sandpiper - found by AK
Curlew - local breeder
Ringed Plover - an annual although scarce passage migrant

1 of 2 Wood Sandpiper (SE), another single later in the month RT/GC
Reeve & Redshank
male Little ringed Plover

Others have included Greenshank, Black tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and not forgetting these 3 Temmincks Stints found by GC & JB:-

3 Temmincks Stint - John Bridges

Temmincks - JB

Temmincks with Lrp - JB

Temmincks - JB

Temmincks with Goozilla ! - JB

These 3 Temmincks, a new addition to the site list, came in mid morning, taking shelter from a very strong westerly wind - these conditions often hampering viewing in a ever so slightly draughty hide....
2 of them remaining for a full 7 days ( 1 relocating to Houghton Gate Pool, refound by SE/JW ).

These proved very popular with visitors- the 3 of them creeping round the shoreline in feeding circuits and when coming close to the hide, giving many people not only having their best ever views of the species, but also giving them the chance to see them for the very first time.

With 15 wader species in the first 2 weeks of May, the hide is proving very popular & the band of regulars growing all the while -   Pec Sand is rumoured to be coming next..... dont forget your balaclarva & long-johns !

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