What a day.
With the water levels being lowered earlier in the week I had been itching to go to Cresswell Pond but school got in the way as usual.
When I arrived there today, after avoiding the puddles which were still surprisingly deep, I saw that there were at least 25 bird watchers on the road side at the north end of the causeway.
After about 5 minutes and my second little Stint of the year, some dog walking arseholes decided to walk across the causeway and scare off almost everything. One of the walkers even came up to me and said, ''will this effect your bird watching?'', even when I said yes she still carried on.
Most of the now fairly pissed bird watcher packed up and drove off or like me, went to the hide.
The hide was as good as it's ever going to get with some mud flats appearing and held, 4 Wigeon, 50+ BH Gull, 7 Common Gull, 1 Little Gull- Lifer, 19 Lapwing, 4 Oystercatcher, 10 Bar tailed Godwit, 18 Knot, 9 Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 6 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 7 Dunlin, 17 Snipe, 1 Cormorant and 1 Water Rail- Lifer!!!
I have always wanted to see a Water Rail today was finally the day. Another birder spotted it first, it was running next to the reeds in a amongst the snipe group and stayed out for about 5 minutes, cleaning itself with its foot before disappearing back into the reeds.
If the water levels had not been lowered I don't think that I would have seen the Rail and if that isn't a sign to the NWT that the water should be lowered at the right time of the year then I
don't know what is.
I then checked the bank on the left side of the pond where there were a large number of ducks one of which was a female Pintail- lifer.
A Black Tern- Lifer then joined the crowd of gulls on the mud flats and cleaned itself for a while before flying off.
A Redstart was flying about in the dunes next to the car park.
I went back to the causeway about two hours later and met one of the bird watchers that I met at Newbiggin last week, who kindly let me borrow his scope where I saw, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers- Lifer and 1 Buff Breasted Sandpiper- Lifer amongst others.
On the way home I stopped at Newbiggin where I saw 1 Guillemot riding the waves, 6 Wheatear and 1 Female Velvet Scoter- lifer.
All in all probably the best days birdwatching of the year or even ever.