Last week I went over to Thornley Woods area via Shibdon Pond and Far Pastures, I checked out the old Stone bridge near the roundabout just along from Shibdon I usually have Dipper ,Kingfisher and Grey wagtail here but today nothing and heading to the pond I could see it was mainly frozen with a small area at the south end open but I went into the hide and gave it about 45mins in the hope of a Water Rail perhaps below the hide , checking out the gulls near the open water for perhaps a white winger or especially a Yellow legged Gull as the odd one has been reported here but only the common varieties of Great Black backed, Herring ,Black headed and Common Gulls . A single Redwing on the grass area as it fed below the trees. From here I headed to Far Pastures the track down had 2 Goldcrests and 3-4 Coal Tit just at the carpark a Nuthatch got my attention as it worked its way along branches coming tantalisingly nearer and nearer before flitting off before I could focus on it . A willow Tit did the same flitting towards me but always with branches in the way , then it would sit in a nice pose and just as I got on it off it went , so for the sake of my sanity I went in the hide for my coffee etc:. Surprised to see about half was free water with about 15 teal , a pair of Bullfinch in the background and Fieldfares on the tree tops no Water Rail back outside I saw my first Red Kite of the day it was way off and already the light fading ,no chance of flight shots today , I started to slowly walk towards the viaduct more Bullfinches and a Treecreeper before I was out onto the viaduct with 3-4 kites coming in they started to settle on the trees rather quickly there was to be no flying overhead today I must have had about 15 in total but by this time I was frozen stiff so started to make the climb back up to the road I saw a couple of birds through the trees before it became to thick , it was still a good end to the day , I will return about mid Feb perhaps they will be more active and in better light.
My tribute to Martin
18 hours ago