This is the first week that there has been enough light after work to get enthusiastic about adding to the NZ26 list. So matching daylight to tides I did mange one night to check the mud as it disappeared at Dunston. Amongst the usual Curlew and Redshank there was my first NZ26 Oystercatcher #78 and to be fair I was pleased that the list was still being added to, however slowly. I also managed to see a Kingfisher at the northern side of tetrad j -Fawdon in the reed bed that acts as water catchment to the Great North Park Estate. This is the second tetrad I have seen is species in this year, so not a bad week.
Then came Friday. I had planned to call in at Watergate Park (f) just as it was getting dusk to listen for owls and with luck get an early roding woodcock. Well other birds were singing and you can’t blame someone for trying. On the plus side very few dogs on the down side most of the gulls on the lake had packed up and moved on. A Dipper singing by the waterfall and a female grey wagtail are special birds here and few reed buntings are now in the reeds. A Water Rail was also down the east end of the lake #79.
Walking up the hill north of the lake I was going to check out the oaks for Little Owls when I stopped at the drainage ditch that runs across the hill. It is one of those spots that reminds you of places you have seen good birds in other parts of the world, always worth a look even when there is nothing there. I could still hear the Water Rail, and as I looked a lump in the ditch started to move.
It had obviously seen me and turning its back showing off its golden stripes it walked away with its strange mechanical walk. Only finding a Jack Snipe can make you feel elated and laugh at the same time. Boom #80 and with a cold wind now blowing through the trees I thought I would leave the Woodcock til next time. It’s what it’s all about. Getting out there and looking.