On Saturday I headed to the South West of the county with LMD. Encouraging numbers of waders were back on territory around Allendale with Golden Plover, Oystercatcher and most impressively hundreds on Lapwing occupying the surrounding fields.
The wind was so strong it made getting out of the car a struggle so we spend most of the time from the roadsides. Plenty of paired up Red Grouse popped up from the heather and a Raven tumbled through the sky from a vantage point. Black Grouse were much harder to come by and we only ended up finding the one bird despite extensive searching.
My only views of Black Grouse prior to this were accross a valley through a scope so standing only feet away from an impressive male was the days highlight for me.
Grindon Lough was our next stop where only Tufted Duck and a few gulls were. No sign of any Geese never mind any White Fronted. Whittle Dene was a bit more active. The 3 long staying Whooper Swans had been joined by a further 20 in the fields west of the reservoirs. A pair of Great Crested Grebe were viewable from the hide as was a single Pink Footed Goose amongst the Greylags. Again no sign of the Bean Geese. Also a very obliging Green Sandpiper was wading its way through the channel that runs behind the reservoirs.