March 20th: I decided I needed to get out but I had equally decided to avoid other people completely. I managed to see two good birds at two sites without seeing another soul all day [apart from when I was in Tiggy2 and driving along].
So where did I go? I headed north all the way to Langdon Beck to see the black grouse. I saw about 30 but they were all very far away this time. Here's a shot of one plus an equally distant and heavily cropped curlew in the same field. Taken from the road to St. John's Chapel.
Then I set off for Grindon Lough. Up near Hadrian's Wall the lough is one of several natural lakes in the area. In the sunshine and hail showers it looked amazingly pretty.
The reason for my trip? To see an American wigeon. There were a lot of wigeon present so I realised this might be a challenge. I put up the scope and focussed. Miraculously I was pretty sure I'd found my target immediately so I zoomed in...
These are huge crops but in the good light I think the American wigeon shows very clearly.
I headed south via Hartlepool, calling briefly at the lifeboat station. Ok, I did see a couple of people watching me from inside the lifeboat station and a distant dog walker on Middleton beach but otherwise it was strangely quiet. Kittiwakes were back on the bridge that connects the building to the lifeboats. About a dozen birds present. Here's one.