I usually drive the journey in one go, but making good time, we made a stop at Osmotherly for lunch. So after I treated Thelma to a pickled egg and half a pint of Hambleton's Nightmare real ale, the drive over the North York Moors let us feel the wind in our hair and a brace of Red Grouse (106).
The following day, popped to Boldon Flats LNR, one of my old stomping ground and picked out 5 Tree Sparrows (107) with Yellowhammer, Greenfinch and House Sparrows at the feeders there. Later we had a walk at Whitburn Scars, (or as I was told, stop looking at those bloomin birds I'm freezing). From the cliff path, Turnstone, Sanderling (108), Knot, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper (109), Oystercatcher, Curlew and Bar Tailed Godwit (110), plus a smattering of usual smaller gulls which swarmed over the car as we devoured a Minchella's bacon and cheese panini to warm up. Lovely.
And can you believe later in the afternoon I passed the entrance to Jarrow Cemetery and didn't go and see the Yellow Browed Warbler which has been resident there for weeks. Call me a proper birder?? No call me sensible!! When I mentioned going for a walk around the graveyard, her indoors gave me a funny old-fashioned look which said " do not take me to a cemetery for a day out or else". Wimmin, they never understand what makes a man glad to be alive.
Anyway we drove up past Whickam to see if we could spot one of the 90+ released birds as part of the Northern Kite Project. Thelma had just said, how big are these birds, when she said is that one? Literally next to the car one was flying low over a farm, so we stopped in a gateway and had stunning views for 5 minutes before it left. We then saw another 4 at Gibside, 3 in one field and one so low over me that with the bins, I could watch its eyes searching the ground. Even Thelma said she was impressed with Red Kites, they must be good.
Driving back yesterday stopped at Slimbridge and have finally bought my digi-kit, so one day the standard of the photos below will be a distant memory. I hope!!