Alan Tilmouth & TUB
It has been a long and busy week with various ongoing projects taking up a lot of my time - hence the lack of blogging activity.
Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of being shown around parts of Northumberland and Tyneside in the company of keen birder and bloody good ornithologist Alan Tilmouth. I spent a misty morning being shown some great sites plus seeing some great birds such as a vagrant Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Scaup plus a Grey Phalarope, Eiders, Willow Tits and a Bittern. The latter species was seen briefly at perhaps the most fascinating site I visited, Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, on the outskirts of Newcastle. Unfortunately, this interesting urban reserve is in trouble as the surrounding area and its corridors are under extreme threat of development. There is an active campaign going on to try to save the area. Check out local campaigner, Alan Hewitt's blog and help save this special site http://www.savegosforthwildlife.com/http:/www.savegosforthwildlife.com/2011/11/18/the-urban-birder-david-lindo-backs-save-gosforth-wildife/
Finally, I ended up at the fabulous Washington WWT in the afternoon where I delivered a talk and signed a few books. My day was capped by the spectacle of several hundred Curlews flying in to roost just outside the hide that I was sitting in. They looked and sounded amazing in the evening gloom. I have never seen so many Curlews inland before in my life. Just as I thought that I had seen it all a Barn Owl flew right by the window of the hide to land by the side of the building. It had pounced on an unfortunate rodent and had its wings spread out across the grass. A magnificent sight. A brilliant end to a fantastic day!