I’ve been out a few times over the last few days. On Friday I went to Slaley with SH for Nightjars. There were a few hours before it got dark so we had a walk along the forest track. A pair of Kesrels which had been hovering over the clear fell were later heard screeching as they mobbed a Peregrine over the forest. A few Crossbill flew over in small groups and a rodding Woodcock flew low overhead.
As the darkness began to close in a Tawny Owl started calling and it wasn’t long until a pair of Nightjar’s were ‘churring’ away. They were difficult to place and as a result we failed to see them. Also I had my third Cramlington lifer of the year as a Whimbrel flew east over the house at 12:06 am. I’m not sure if there were one or more birds as I could seem to hear it calling for 30 seconds or so.
On Sunday we were out again for WEBS. As well as the regulars at Castle Island, 4 Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper were present on the island shore.
After the count we went up to Warkworth Gut. I mentioned during the winter that this site had a lot of potential for the future and our visit today started to show why. As well as the long staying Little Egret which was on the main water channel, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover was on the muddy scrapes just down from the car park.
Around 40 Pied Wagtails were dotted around the site and amongst a mixed group of them and Meadow Pipits on one of the scrapes were 2 juvenile Yellow Wagtails. Also a juvenile Wheatear was with them.
East Chevington was next where the highlights were a Kingfisher on the south pool and a summer plumage Long Tailed Duck on the north pool.
Cresswell Pond kept up its recent good form despite being Pectoral Sandpiperless. The only bird north of the causeway this time was a Yellow Wagtail.
4 Black Tailed Godwit slept near the sand bar and a Water Rail ran from the reeds just behind. Around 100 Swift were slowly flying south over the pond and the Ruff was still present from last week whilst a Med Gull followed a tractor in the field north of the pond.
This morning I went back to Warkworth Gut with LMcD. Minus the Little Egret all the same birds as Sunday were present plus a few extras. 2 Common Sandpipers and a summer plumage Golden Plover were new on the wader front and at least 7 Stonechat were in the dunes just off the main track. Two were fresh juveniles whilst one was a female and the other four were males including one almost completely black individual. One of the Yellow Wagtails was on the track and a Grey Wagtail landed on the mud near the bridge. On our way out of Warkworth 5 Redhead Goosander were on the river.
We checked for the earlier reported Spoonbills at Cresswell Pond but they had already left. A female Marsh Harrier graced us with its presence as it flew close past the car in a field near the pond.