Birding round Durham & Sunderland 2012

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

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Pot Luck Week 18-24 April 2017

Been  a decent week round the doors so heres a round up of some the highlights.
Springtime view of Houghton-Le-Spring - even if its turned into a Blackthorn Spring !

18th April - first Curlew on nest. 100 passage birds on adjacent field
Still a common enough bird in lowland Co.Durham -

18th April - Leo nest in path side hedge at 10' - this is the new pair. This is the first year in a decade which we havnt inspected a nest at the egg stage - not only are birds in short supply, but we havnt wanted to risk an (very rare) abandonment

19th April - 14 species of Waders passing through
with Dunlin & Whimbrel later in week.
Perhaps 10 species could breed on the patch....
Common Sand - bonny when seen close up

19th April - first Dippers fledged - others still building

20th April - Houghton became "the new Norfolk" with MH finding
Male Marsh Harrier, drake Garganey (found by The Poacher), Yellow Wagtail (5 locations during week)

A pair or 2 of Yellows still breed each year.
A male circled HoGate in huge arc's contact calling - presumably looking for a mate.

MH Pitching in with another cc Marsh Harrier in the week.

Bittern at dusk was very welcome after looking for one all winter !

22nd April - Reed Sedge & Groppers in

By the weeks end Whitethroat display flights were commonplace.

Vixen close to Lapwing nest at dusk - pair working together to out smart her

23rd April - White Stork
heading home after a full morning out I scanned the escarpment as usual & got quite the shock !
I rang MH who couldn't get onto it & GS who told me he was at Hamsterley as I watched it fly over his house...

Marsh Harrier another male hunting through nth - this is another bird which we've come to expect - not too many years ago it was barely annual. I believe we've had at least 6 birds through the patch this Spring - GS starting us off with a late March bird.
Good mix of vis migs over the high ground included Fieldfare Siskin alba wags Golden Plover Snipe Brambling Buzzard etc

"Summoned home" earlier than anticipated I took a short cut....
& literally bumped into a Long-eared Owl nest with 2 healthy youngsters ! (id love to say I found this with skill & fieldcraft... but it was pot-luck)

24th April - male Goshawk (another helping of pot luck)
adult male came into view calling ! Circling & allowing a good view through the telescope.
I had no hesitation in posting about this Schedule 1 bird as it breeds nowhere near us... we think...
I read on the DBC website that Norman.U had a bird over his garden 7 or 8 miles away, early evening - having arrived from our direction.... who knows...

Lesser Whitethroat - sev obs reporting birds in central areas today

male Peregrine circling over the main pool at Rainton shadowed by 150 hirundines

another Kingfisher nest on patch

Foxes earth
The Vixen has been sitting overlooking the nature reserve pool - theres Greylag nesting on the bankside - I'm sure shes seen it

Willow Tit nest

If you want a lesson in Willow Tit nest provision then check out Twitter user :-

Otters kill & spraint - tucked away in the reedbed where I was hoping to find WRail nest

New Badger sett Early Purple Orchids flowering,

Tawny nest doing well etc etc

The Crows starting on eggs, Pheasant Mallard & Pigeon often first to go

Crows nest

Numbers of Butterflies picking up with the first Speckled Woods out at the weekend

A great week - Note to self to blog on the day so I can add a bit more detail.
(lots of retrospective stuff to add too).

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