Bits and pieces - originally of food. Titbits. Odds and ends.
A word I learnt from my mother.
December 18th took me first to Skinningrove hoping to find the reported water pipit. I found it quite quickly but it was very shy and difficult to approach. Meadow and rock pipits also around.
A couple more from Skinningrove
I tried for the tundra bean geese but no luck. However the taiga bean geese down the Zinc Works Road showed really nicely...
...as did a magpie on top of a telegraph pole!
December 19th: Back up the A19 but starting at Hardwick Hall country park near Sedgefield where a nice drake red-crested pochard had been reported. It was soon located. These dozing goosanders caught my eye. They were close to the pochard which seemed to be endlessly preening and splashing around.
I called at Seaton Carew beach near the water treatment works. The large car park there is toll free in winter and I just wanted a quick look. Lots of dog-walkers but some way from me I saw what must be a large group of resting waders. I walked north keeping to the land side of the sea wall. I was pleased to find a very large group of ringed plover [50+]. Here's just a small number of them.
From there I went to see the tundra bean geese for about the fourth attempt. No luck this trip either whilst the taiga bean geese [very smart birds in my opinion] seemed to be getting more used to the birders and were relatively close to the Zinc Works road.
The light was now very good and I decided to linger as I had heard that the short-eared owls often came to perch on the stockade at the old tip end of the ZWR. Cars line up there so people can photograph the birds from their car and not disturb the birds. I pulled in pointing down the road towards the far end. By pure chance I spotted movement on the 'wrong' side of the road about 100m further down the road. Owl! I jumped out of my car. By now the owl had perched on the fence. I told several people in their cars "There's an owl on the fence!" They looked at me as if I was stupid apart from two young men who seemed to understand. The rest never saw a thing. They never saw this...
Eventually a passing car disturbed it and off it went into the scrub. The birders in their cars were still sitting and watching the stockade in case an owl might land!
Still, that's probably enough shorties for this year!
But I hope there's more next year...
262 UK 2018