Still rather cold and now wet too - I shouldn't be such a wimp. Anyway I braved it outdoors and went checking the Redpolls as there must be a Mealy or an Arctic somewhere around here .... surely. Only 12 Lesser Redpolls in South Burn Wood but 3 Willow Tit and a Great spotted Woodpecker were nice. In the past I've had some decent flocks of Redpolls by the Wear near Bog Wood and Holm Hill., so I decided why not and check it out. Access to this area between Chester Moor and the river is rather tricky to say the least and it might be best not to mention how I got there. It was very quiet but I did get a flock of 30 Grey Lag Geese heading east probably back to the Houghton Gate area where they regularly are. No Redpolls at all and apart from a small flock of Redwing it was a birding wasteland. Nevertheless I carried on along the river a little while and I heard and then saw a Dipper bombing downstream. A little while later what was probably a second bird did the same. Quite chuffed with 2 new birds for the year I retraced my tracks and just before I turned back away from the river, the call of a Kingfisher made me turn round and I got the briefest of views before it went around the corner.
I never noticed the Gorse in flower coming down but it was obvious coming back, so unlike all the bushes on the fell which have no sign of any flowers now or within the next couple of weeks. Just as I got back onto the A167 I noticed a large bird of prey which turned out to be the local Common Buzzard which was soaring over Chester Dene and drifted back towards the Cricket ground. Back through the Hermitage woods but it was getting rather late now and apart from a few Coal Tit that was it for the day.
4 new birds today taking my Waldridge List for the year to 73.