Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Monday, 6 March 2017

Spring Up

A quick drive 10km up the road and a pleasant day Bird Watching in Gateshead / Beamish areas.

It certainly felt like a Spring morning, clear bright sunny, with a Chiffchaff singing away.

Mixed fortunes with the Jack Snipe hunt -

A prospective search of a disused industrial site yielded 4 birds, but a former tip site which regularly produced 3 or 4 was empty.

From an elevated position I could see a new water body in the middle distance - closer inspection revealed a subsiding cereal field.

The wet half has been taken out of production - some new habitat in the making.
Sedges were beginning to take hold & deer slots were visible in the soft mud. 
Nature is so quick to reclaim its own back from us.

A public footpath sign pointed the way, though it was hard going as the furrows had been left to grass over producing literally hundreds of tiny little puddles away from the main body of water.

20 odd Snipe came up, but no Jacks despite a thorough search - utterly frustrating as there will certainly have been birds here. Well worth another look....

Another spot I remember finding birds with ease was along a boggy stream to the rear of a well known pub.

Some years ago, the Council, In their infinite wisdom planted phragmites, fenced off a good section & removed livestock... the result is very depressing.
Why are conservationists obsessed with replacing natural habitats with ranks of phragmites ?

& dug out the natural marsh & meandering stream to replace it with a steep sided deep 'duck pond'.

Lots of birds, Partridge, Jack & Common Snipe, Heron frogspawn etc on the original grazed side -

very little of anything within the choked reeds & deep duck pond.
Chalk & Cheese - the grazed marsh RHS - as the whole of this site once was - full of life,

Yet another well meaning mess up

Anyway, took a wrong lane & ended up at a gorgeous Burdon Plain - again another location ive never seen in daylight !

Between here & Pockerley / Beamish 12:00-15:00 saw 2 Red Kite, 30 GoldPlover  GreenWood  14 Teal Tawny Owl vocal, GSW drumming, 3Jacks, Nuthatch singing, 2 WillowTit in song, 2pr GreyPart, 2 Roe doe, 3 Hare.

An Old Burr Oak Ravensworth

Hidden pond nr Beamish, Teal, Snipe, Heron, Buzzard & Yaffle calling here.

The Jackometer was rising & I reckoned I was on 98.

Down the road was Tanfield Lea Marsh - somewhere else id never visited in daylight... (pattern emerging here)

What an amazing place !

Its like Stanleys version of RSPB Leighton Moss. Brilliant looking site.

Straight away a Roe doe watched browsing in the wood edge, 1 + 3h Water Rail, 11CSnipe the water looked high & I couldn't see any sign of Jacks, 2pr Teal, Willow Tit in song, Sparrowhawk.

This is somewhere I will be returning too.

A tot up at home - i'd added 2 in error but forgot another , so -Ouch, I got home with 1 less than I thought.

Jumping in the van & travelling 20 mins feels like going on a birdwatching holiday !

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