I spent Friday mainly in traffic, as I'd decided to try to find the Black stork reported across in Deepdale, to the west of Barnard Castle. I knew that there would be road works on the A1, but I didn't know that the A66 west would be packed solid. the reason: Appleby horse fair this week. Endless queues as vehicles wait to overtake horse-drawn caravans... A scenic diversion up to the A67 and a trail through BC town centre and finally at Lartington. Hours later after a good bit of chat with some DBC members, no Black Stork. Highlights were Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Curlew, with several House Martins and Swallows passing overhead. There seemed to be constant shooting in the woodland, so who knows when the Stork departed - it wasn't seen after 0950 that morning.
A quick look in at Back Saltholme and Port Clarence to check for Stints and no joy there either.
Better luck on Saturday though with Little Stint being located on the A178 side of PC flood in the grassland. Quite a rufous back to it and quite flighty too. I'd just missed the Curlew Sandpiper though - this had flown north, possibly onto Back Saltholme. So that's where I headed next. Plenty of Yellow Wagtails still around on the path from the Visitor Centre to Back Saltholme hide and a Fox spotted on Wet Grassland too. The Curlew Sandpiper, in non-breeding plumage was swiftly picked up on a spit near the Clarence end on the pool and with a few Dunlin for comparison. Nice! Different to the sum-plum one I saw last year.
On Sunday we had a family trip up along the escarpmaent from Sutton Bank to White Horse Bank, which was full of walkers and dogs... until a heavy hail shower! English weather, eh? Highlights were 1 Peregrine hanging in the wind towards Hood Hill, 2 Kestrels and a Common Buzzard (unfortunately not a Honey Buzzard). Plenty of Siskin visiting the feeders outside the gift shop in the two minutes I was there.
I had a trip to Lingham water and Nosterfield NR on Monday. Very few waders except Oycs, Redshank and Ringed Plover. Avocet on each too, but nothing to match the Black Winged Stilt. Will there ever be? A pair of Goldeneye seemed to be a late departure, in amongst the Tufties, Pochard and Shelduck (with little humbug shelducklings).
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