Having decided last weekend to go for the Sharp Tailed sandpiper as it would not stick around (still there today) rather than the Greater Yellowlegs we obviously had to try for the latter this weekend.
It had been reported at Cresswell Pond every day, though often going missing for some time, but it did seem reliable there, so having accumulated enough time to have Friday off we headed up there, arriving around 0930 after a pretty quick and unhindered journey, considering we were in the Newcastle Durham area at rush hour.
News from the hide was that it had been seen at first light before walking into the reeds (as on previous mornings) and based on previous observations would be back late morning. Well we stayed until 1515 and there was no sign. I suspect the high winds and squally rain may have played a part, but waders were coming and going all the time, and often staying well out in the open. I assumed it may have slipped out of the reeds un-noticed and flew to another location. Only decent birds we saw were a flock of Pale bellied Brent Geese-rather hard to find in the south among the Dark bellied we usually see.
Saturday I had hoped to visit Tyttenhanger for the White Fronted Geese and then maybe Tring for the Brent and Bewicks Unfortunately the journey took it's toll and I did not really feel up to going out. News that Ricky and the boys had picked up a Bean Goose at Tyttenhanger was a bit gutting as was the late report of Greater Yellowlegs at Cresswell Pond again and later on at Hauxley.
Still feeling a bit crap today, but I decide to go to Tyttenhanger. Arrived around 0930 and a quick scan into the Sun from the river bridge south of the main fishing car park produced a small flock of geese moving into the sallows. Two undoubted White Fronts among several Greylags and a darker goose almost obscured. Moved up to the hide for a better look and better light, with one other birder there. He had seen the Bean on the mud earlier. The Greylags and White fronts were still showing in among the sallows and other vegetation, but it seemed like the Bean was still hiding.
I moved up to the farm and spent some time watching the feeders. Lots of tits flying down, but the Tree Sparrows were much more elusive, calling from deep in the hedge and not really coming out. Had a long scan from the cliff top for the geese and suddenly they all flew out onto the water. Moved over to an open area, joining four other birders and we all got very good views of the Tundra Bean Goose swimming around and resting on the sand bar with both adult and juvenile White Fronts and the Greylags. I also picked up the over wintering Green Sandpiper before heading home.
So one major dip, and two county ticks.