Cooped up at home I simply popped down to Askham Bog [3 miles away] to see if I could get some shots of the marsh tits. On the walk in from the car park area a nice drift of snowdrops caught my eye.
Always careful to make sure it's not one of the accompanying coal tits...
I soon had a marsh tit on the fence posts where seed is left.
Now before we go any further and I get neurotic about paler wing panels and bib size for all I know this might be a willow tit. But for now it's a marsh tit - or a marlow tit. It's definitely one of them. And so are these charming fellows.
Can be a dangerous place if you're a long-tailed tit. Always better to go round in twos!
There were lots of smart looking great tits too.
I parked at the Seal Sands car park and walked to the new viewscreen by the Greatham Creek road bridge. Few birds present but I spotted a ringed plover nearby.
I went down to Greenabella hoping for the spotshank but the tide was out and the birds were all distant on the mud. The steelworks was putting on quite a show. Perhaps they'd just elected a new bishop - great billows of red smoke.
The black-throated diver was in the marina and two red-throated divers were in the harbour mouth.
There was quite a swell near the harbour mouth.
Some time was spent along the South Gare access road trying to photograph the curlews - they are easily disturbed so I was quite pleased with this set - including the one with all the jewellery...
Barry and I set off early to call at Shaw Farm and hopefully catch the black grouse. I knew there would be snow but I hoped for the best nonetheless. Black grouse are in the photo [2 males seen] - top left green field just near the diagonal snow line. But you can't see them!!
I was experimenting with my old Nikon Coolpix 4500 - I thought I might use it for landscape views as it easily slips in the pocket.
Here's the road to Langthwaite...
...and the road back north to the Stang.
We did eventually catch up with red grouse in the snow - all taken from the car.
In the mist this bird nestled down in the snow. They must be made of sterner stuff than I!! We drove over Langdon Beck too but saw no more black grouse. Heading for Hartlepool for the remains of the day.
First location would be Seaton Snook where we would seek out some snow buntings. Barry took this as I watched a long-tailed duck on the creek.
It took us some time to find the snow buntings. In fact I was losing hope and had just said to Barry: 'This is where I saw them earlier in the week' when Barry said he'd spotted one. Let the pictures do the rest. Male and female present - and yet another ringed bird!
Here's the female.
Then relocated the male up on a log.
Back to the female. Thanks to both birds for a great set of images.
As harbingers of spring, the coltsfoot were in flower.
We moved on to Greenabella hoping that as the tide came back in I might catch up with the spotted redshank. In fact we did see this bird together with a redshank and a greenshank. A sort of triple shank!!
A common scoter was by the second bridge over the creek.
On the walk back we watched a crow dropping a mussel shell onto the stony pathway. Clearly he had done this before and was soon eating the contents... ...even holding things in place with his foot. Clever birds.
Just before we reached the road a gull tried to mob a barn owl. It soon got out of the way.
A jolly good time was had by all - and it was quite a nice day too. Back to miserable winter weather for a while, I fear...