Sunday, 13 January 2013

January WeBS

Towards the Cheviots.
WeBS count today at Branton and Hedgeley. This area is always well covered by observers but Stewart and I had such a good morning I thought I’d share it.

A cold morning with the band of weather to come, lurking in the distant North West sky.

Wildfowl were mostly on the eastern of the two Branton ponds. The light was good and Tufted Duck were most numerous with upwards of 100 counted, lovely to watch through the scope with the birds being in top condition at this time of year.

Two Scaup and a single drake Pochard were spotted which were nice to see.

Also of note a couple of Kingfisher, 7 Goldeneye, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and 2 Goosander.

The island, Branton East Pond.
 Hedgeley was a little quieter but interesting nonetheless. 6 Little Grebe, 9 Moorhen were notable with Goldeneye, Goosander, Wigeon, Mallard and Teal also seen. 

A flock of 35 Lapwing dropped onto the island just as we were leaving Branton and 22 Curlew were in the field adjacent to Hedgeley ponds. Its always good to see waders inland early in the year even if they will probably be returning to coastal areas if the cold weather returns this week..

We walked past the Hedgeley ponds to check out the River Breamish, this was well worth it as a Green Sandpiper flew upstream as we approached from the track to the north of the ponds.

The River Breamish gravels. Home of Green Sandpipers...

The soft sand at the edges of the small pools in the exposed gravelly areas on the river bank had footprints of a wader likely to be Green Sandpiper, evidence of this little wader feeding around these pools. Also spotted in the soft sand were several Otter footprints that looked really quite fresh. This caused us, as we returned to the ponds, to reflect upon how our noisy discussions as we approached the area could possibly have deprived us of a sighting of this Otter. It pays never to forget the basics, keep quiet.

Otter Track on River Breamish

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