I hadn't been out long went I picked up a large bird of prey coming from the south. It was certainly a buzzard, but the closer it got the better views were and showed it to be an immature Common Buzzard and not that hoped for Rough-leg. Never mind a nice start. 3 Siskin and 8 Skylark flew over and I thought I might have to go straight home to change my underwear when I nearly stood on a female Pheasant that got up from under my feet and flew off calling very loudly. When I say nearly, I do mean that, I'm sure my foot actually brushed the bird. Checking the eastern pools for Jack Snipe without any joy I headed over towards the next couple of pools which are at the Scrogs by Nettlesworth Hill.
|Not the South Downs but looking towards Nettlesworth Hill|
|Dung Round head Fungi (Panaeolus semiovatus)|
Every few minutes there was a squark of a Jay and about 5 birds were at this end of the Felledge Wood. Frustratingly, a group of 3 birds flying past reminded me of Waxwing. I didn't know if I should to use my binoculars or try and get a photo. Bad choice, they were over before I could get a decent picture so I'm no wiser. Had a feeling they were Waxwing but certainly not countable. There are lots in and around Northumberland and hundreds in Cumbria currently, but where are all the Durham Waxwings? There's hardly been a sniff. If or when they come in, the berry trees around the Whitehills pub, Warkworth Drive and the cricket ground are almost certain to produce a few.
Beany Lane towards Chester Moor usually holds a small flock of Golden Plover. I saw a couple earlier in the autumn but no sign today. The RSPCA Cattery here has a little wood just behind and is probably the best place in the Waldridge area for Nuthatch. I was at least 100 metres away when, as usual, I heard one calling and within ten minutes saw 2 individuals. I do get them very occasionally in the garden and they are quite regular around Waldridge Hall farm, but this is the place for them. Stand by the cattery and you are almost certain to hear the ringing 'tuit, tuit, tuit-tuit' call, even if you don't see them. In the adjacent field a small flock of 7 Chaffinch also has a female Brambling feeding there. 5 Yellowhammer and 4 more Skylark were also in the field.
The South Burn Woods were almost unrecognisable from last week as there as been so much leaf fall. All of the small paths in the wood were now under a layer of Silver & Downy Birch and Alder leaf and a good 80-90% of the leaves have now fallen. There is much more Fly Agaric fungi and a species I still need to identify. Two more Jay were here together, 9 Siskin, 3 Bullfinch, with another Willow Tit and a Tree-creeper. I went down to the stream to try and get a better view when a familiar call and flash of blue showed a Kingfisher flying by. A campion still in flower by the road, even though looks quite white in the photo, looked more pinkish in real life and is in fact a hybrid between Red Campion and White Campion aptly named Pink Campion (Silene x hampeana). A fine finish to the morning and so glad I went out and that I've got all this winter to enjoy the nature of Waldridge.