Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Friday, 21 October 2011

crisp morning, very mixed bag.

couple of hours from first light yestday on a crisp morning - the first day the windscreen needed scraping.

down on the reserve the pathside puddles had a thin cover of ice, but the sun soon rose & warmed things up.
Top Pool 4

Signs of Summer fading day by day, but a juvenile Little Grebe still made noisy demands to be fed, a Swallow sped through, a couple of Chiffchaff feeding & giving short bursts of song. Red Admiral & Speckled Wood made the most of the sun later on in the day, with singles of Pip & Noctule bat the last 2 evenings.
Dab & chick
A Sparrowhawk tried his hand a catching some finches, an unseen feeding flock of 300 Redpoll & Siskin scattering in the process. Kestrels seem to be everywhere at present, but no Buzzard up today perhaps with it being flat calm.

Several Roe around the place, "the dog runners" now in most cases are actually "dog walkers" & have them under control while on the reserve & the deer seem to be relishing the fact.

I think ive had 3 records of the humble Tree Spug over the reserves complex this year - yeah, yeah, more fly-owa's !!
But eventually tracked one down in the bush :-
Conclusive proof ! - Tree sparrow - Rainton rarity

Despite colonies within a mile & a half in 3 directions, this is one species which is tricky to catch up with - further nest boxes should help bolster its currently recovering population.

Another farmland speciality (just o'er the border in Durham City Country ) was a nice roadside flock of Corn Buntings - a very bonus while driving home in the afternoon.

Visible migration has tailed off, but a couple of flocks each of Pinks ( 130 & 180) Fieldfare (18 & 56) , Starlings & Wood Pigeons all going South west out of sight.

Several species where static & enjoying basking in the sun:-
An evening visit for the last light produced 3 owl species with a Jack Snipe avoiding the floating asios flying close by between Pools 3 & 4.

Above, the spot at the side of a ditch where a Jack flicked up - image shows where hes been probing the ground - Still havnt managed an autumn picture of one on the ground..... winter should help that job along a bit.....

The Last Flight - a skein of Pinks head south at the end of the day.

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