Since my main birding aim for this year is to get 120 species on my patch year list, I decided to walk from my house to the windmill on the border of Cramlington, somewhere I don’t check regularly enough.
After calling at my friend’s house we started at the marshy field at East Hartford. 100+ Linnets were flying around as well as two Stonechat, Reed Bunting and 2 Snipe were flushed.
Are aim was to flush the Teal onto the pool at West Hartford and check for Green Winged. A Green Winged Teal could easily hide for weeks at East Hartford and nobody would find it.
We flushed the Teal and after circling the marsh they flew off towards West Hartford.
When we got to West Hartford the Teal hadn’t landed on the pool but in the marshy patch left of the pond.
On the Pool there were 2 Mute Swan, 11 BH Gull, 2 Common Gull and 1 Shellduck- Patch Tick. The Shellduck flew off with the gull flock a while later.
The marshy patch left of the pond is flooded at the best of times and I thought it would be worse after last nights rain and the resent snow but the for some reason today I could walk in even further than normal.
I got to one of the open areas of water where I could hear the Teal calling but they soon flew off back to East Hartford.
There were 50+ Teal and still there could be a Green Winged, but I wasn’t going to chase them all day to find out.
Whilst walking around I flushed 30+ Snipe and 1 Jack Snipe. I didn’t get a long look at the Jack but it was silent when it flew and unlike the others it flew low to the ground and landed quite quickly.
I also noticed that it had bolder yellow stripes on its back in flight but it was to quick to see its beak size.
We found a gap in the hedgerow near the road and were climbing through when I found the body of a juvenile or female Kestrel in the ditch.
At first I thought it was missing its head but I flipped it over and found that it had a broken neck, apart from this it was in good condition.
The last few times I have been to West Hartford I haven’t seen the ‘‘Lazy Kestrel’’, which has been around for months. I can only think that this is the same bird and that it was a road victim.
Every time I saw this Kestrel it was either sleeping or very poorly trying to hunt for food.
We were also going to explore the small ponds and reeds behind the factories but since the last time I was there a private land sign has been put up and we couldn’t be arsed to run away from another Farmer or security guard.
There wasn’t much in the stubble fields around the windmill apart from a few Skylark and Carrion Crows.
In the past I have had Grey Partridge in the fields there and Holywell Birder has had a Red Legged Partridge, a bird I still need on the patch.
Shellduck - 65
Jack Snipe- 66