Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Monday, 16 January 2012

N-ice day for a Dip & a Chiff

How cold
The weatherman said minus 5
Yeah right...... So when's the last time they got anything right ? !

After an early morning drop i popped into Flushing Meadows,
bitter  & pools 95% iced , but a nice bright day

a Sheld drake added a touch of colour, with Willow Tit on the vocals - my earliest record of one singing

an oddity was a single Crossbill over heading SE

a call from "The only man to climb Finchale Abbey cliffs using Brambles as rope" had me on the trail of a 'Chiffchaff sp'....

Off West, a drive along to the Valley of The Brown Knee ( i'm trying not to Wander too far as i need to Rest :- myself & my feet are suffering from ' Plantar Fascilitis'  )




In the sunshne, the day was pleasant  & met up with GB, where we soon picked up his Chiffy - very active & looking into the sun wasnt working, then it made its way onto the ground to allow a close view -  very much a bog-standard Chiffchaff, but an excellent find on the Local patch this time of year - one i havnt seen in winter for a good while.

A walk looking out for Lesser spotted revealed 2 more Woodcock, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Kingfisher, Siskin, Redpoll, more Willow Tits, half a dozen Goldcrest, 45Redwing, 10Tree Sparrow, Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch, Grey Partridges & Wagtail.

Fresh Otter spraint found at a couple of places, though again no sign of the animal itself....

fresh Otter spraint on line with the toe-cap, older spraint showing white bones etc online with the injured heel.


The valley was perishingly cold out of the sun
although the temperature didnt seem to be bothering the Dippers in the least ! with several in song.
An Icy Dip
At dusk one flew down river above the trees - at least 50' above the water.

I waited on as the sun slipped away.... 2 Little Owls seen & 2 more calling, only a single Tawny heard, but more than made up for by a hunting Barn Owl & a noisy Fox.

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Others seen Wandering recently include:-
Goldeneye, Meadow Pipit & Mandarin x2













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