Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A Weekend at Cresswell

We were invited up to Cresswell in Northumberland to join Tina's Sister over the weekend, staying in a caravan only 5 minutes drive from Cresswell Pond NWT. We had the pleasure of sleeping in the smallest beds ever invented,  but we coped.  As a reward we added 5 species to the year list of which 3 were firsts! This was totally unexpected but very welcome.

We visited 4 NWT sites whilst up there, Druridge Pools, East Chevington, Hauxley and Cresswell Pools. Cresswell though was by far the most productive and accounted for the 3 lifers. The nice thing was that they are all pretty close to Cresswell, so driving was kept to a minimum.

Druridge Pools
We paid 2 shortish visits here on Friday and Sunday, visiting a couple of hides. Wellies were essential as some of the paths were flooded. There was very little activity though, saw very few species, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, a Heron and a couple of Snipe flying around.

East Chevington
Just one visit here on the Saturday, a lovely reserve, with quite a bit going on. However the hides are terrible!  They seem to be converted containers, opening the doors and windows makes a hell of a noise, its a wonder we saw anything with all the racket. They are also the most uncomfortable hides, the windows seem to be at the wrong height, just terrible. We were much better off leaving the hides and going up to the platforms on the track. It did mean though that you needed a scope to see anything. The best sightings here were Goldeneye, the briefest glimpse of a Merlin and a wonderful Short-eared Owl.

Again just one visit here on the Saturday, but it's a great reserve, with good hides and access down to the beach. We asked the warden as we arrived what was about and apart from what you'd expect he told us amongst all the Greylag was a single White-fronted Goose this would be a first for the year if we could find it.

We worked the hides on the northern side of the reserve, the south side was closed due to flooding. Here's a couple of pics from the hide looking at to sea.

Really love Tree Sparrows!

Rats! No you can't have any!
We then moved on to the last hide closest to all the geese. But they were all very inactive, with heads tucked away chilling out, so there was no way we were going to find a white front! That is until a noisy model aircraft being flown down on the beach came a bit close and got them all up, even then we didnt think we'd find it as they were all settling down pretty quickly. But after scanning hundreds of geese we found it!
I couldn't get a good photo before he tucked up again but for the record:
The top of it's white face can just be seen if you look closely!
Just a few others from Hauxley
Greylags on finals

Curlew touchdown

Coquet Island, went there in 2010 to see Roseate Tern
Cresswell Pond
The star of the weekend. We visited 5 times there was just so much going on. On the Friday we kicked off with lifers 1 and 2. The first was easy a Jack Snipe in front of the hide, he stayed in the same place the whole three days, only venturing out once when it was to dark to take a pic, so here's the best I could do:

The second was much more difficult, a Long-tailed Duck, unfortunately this was a scope job, so no photo, but made up none the less, he appeared on most visits, but was difficult to find amongst all the other waterfowl.

Apart from the Jack Snipe, I have never seen so many Snipe, I counted at least 30 at one time, but the board in the hide said 54! We spotted our 3rd lifer on Sunday; Golden Plover in the morning we found just the one, but on our second visit there were four.

We had some pretty mixed conditions ranging from glorious sunshine to mist and fog, both of which at times made photography tricky! But here's a few anyway! (There's some more in the gallery)


Little Grebe with Lunch

Red Breasted Mergansers

Spot the Snipe

Golden Plover

Great Crested Grebe showing a paddle!


Short Eared Owl fly-by

The mist rolling in

Heron in the fog!


Goldcrest on the path to the hide

Pink-footed in a field near Cresswell......

........ along with some Swans

Other than the reserves, we popped into Newbiggins on Sea for Tea and added Ringed Plover to the list, (until the fog rolled in  and we couldn't see a thing), Druridge Country Park for a Cuppa (Found out that a Slavonian Grebe was there, but after we'd left and didn't get chance to go back) and Cresswell Foreshore for an Ice Cream and Dolphins!

So the lists:
Druridge Pools:

Black-headed Gull, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Coot, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Lapwing,  Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Snipe, Wigeon & Wren.

East Chevington:

Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Coot, Cormorant, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Great Black-backed Gull,
Great Crested Grebe, Kestrel, Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pochard,
Short-eared Owl, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck & Wigeon.


Bar-tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Coot.
Cormorant, Curlew, Eider, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, House Sparrow,
Lapwing, Little Grebe, Mallard, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Redshank,
Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, White-fronted Goose & Wigeon.

Cresswell Pond:

Barn Owl, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch,
Common Sandpiper, Coot, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Golden Plover, Goldeneye,
Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, Greylag Goose,
Herring Gull, Jack Snipe, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Magpie, Mallard,
Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Pink-footed Goose (in nearby field), Pochard, Red-breasted Merganser,
Redshank, Robin, Rock Dove, Rook, Scaup, Short-eared Owl, Snipe, Starling, Stonechat, Teal,
Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Wigeon & Woodpigeon.

Carrion Crow, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Ringed Plover, Starling, Turnstone & Woodpigeon.

Cresswell Foreshore:
Dolphins, Cormorant, Eider, Grey Heron, Oystercatcher & Redshank.

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