A CLUSTER OF REDSHANKS @ WASHINGTON WWT
A CLUSTER OF REDSHANKS @ WASHINGTON WWT
On Friday I made the trip up the A19 to visit the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust site at Washington a short distance west of Sunderland. WWT Washington was established in 1975 and its wildlife includes several rare species of Swans, Geese and Ducks as well as a large flock of Chilean Flamingos and a trio of Asian Short Clawed Otters. The WWT works towards the conservation of wetlands and a successful breeding programme for some of the worlds most endangered wildfowl.
The site also has a large nature reserve with several hides to watch the wildlife with a wide variety of habitats. It was a cool but sunny day when I arrived and in front of the visitor centre I could see several Barnacle Geese, as well as a few Shelducks and at the far side a pair of Common Cranes. After a quick visit to the cafe I headed out along the right hand path and as I reached an area called "Close Encounters" I could hear the Common Cranes calling loudly. In Close Encounters were several Eider Ducks as well as Goldeneyes, Smews, Chiloe Wigeons and a pair of Black Swans.
EIDER DUCK (MALE)
As I rejoined the main path I saw Red Crested Pochards, Mandarin Ducks, Ferrugnious Ducks and Bufflehead Ducks to my right whilst in an enclosure to my left were Ross's Geese, Hawaiian Geese and Red Breasted Geese. A little further along I saw White Faced Whistling Ducks and Rosy Billed Pochards with the next enclosure housing a pair of new arrivals. They were a pair of Southern Screamers and as the name suggests it has a very loud call which can carry for several miles.
Next up were Wood Ducks, Paradise Shelducks, Andean Condors, Magpie Geese and Chilean Flamingos. As the path begins to turn back towards the visitor centre there is the Asian Short Clawed Otter enclosure and as I arrived the three Otters were busy tucking into food. I retraced my steps back along the path and took a path which made its way through a small woodland where on the ground were several Shaggy Ink Cap mushrooms. The path emerged from the woods and followed the line of the trees till it reached the Hawthorn Wood Hide which overlooked woodland all the way down to the banks of the River Wear.
WOOD DUCK (MALE)
As I entered the hide a Sparrowhawk was perched on a branch just a few yards in front but flew off before I could get a picture. A few minutes later the birds started returning to the feeders with several Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches making regular visits. I also saw Coal Tits, Robins, Greenfinches, Nuthatches and a trio of Bullfinches whilst in the distance I could see the Sparrowhawk perched high in a tree although every time it settled down it was harassed by a pair of Magpies until it flew off.
I left the hide and headed down the hillside to the Lagoon View Hide which is right next to the River Wear. There were several Mallards on the river with a trio of Cormorants flying westwards and a pair of Mute Swans flying eastwards. On the saline lagoon to the east of the hide I could see Teals and Redshanks as well as a lone Little Grebe. From here I headed back up the hill to rejoin the main path until I reached a viewing screen with more bird feeders behind it.
The feeders were busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Coal Tits and Bullfinches making regular visits. There was also a pair of Nuthatches making numerous visits bullying the other birds off the feeders. From here the path slowly descends down towards the river where there are four hides overlooking the long and thin Wader Lake. The first hide is currently out of action due to recent flood damage so I continued along the path which runs between the Wader Lake and the River Wear.
The next hide is the Paddy Fleming Hide where over to my right I could see large numbers of Redshanks, more than forty in total. There were also Teals and a single Black Tailed Godwit in the distance and just before I left the hide a Curlew flew in and landed on the far side of the water. I walked the short distance to the next hide which is the Diageo Hide where during Spring & Summer the islands are awash with Common Terns.
The Redshanks were now over to my left with several Teals off to my right and a Grey Heron on the grass bank at the far side of the water. A Jay flew across the water from the trees on the far side and landed on a dead tree branch over to the right of the hide. It then moved onto a smaller branch just in front of the hide, looking around before dropping down to the ground at the water's edge. After a few minutes it flew off back across the water, only to return a few minutes later using the same branches and then dropping down to the water's edge again.
I left the hide and walked to the final hide which is the Prince's Trust Hide where there were several Teals over towards the reeds. I now made my way back along the path, past the three hides and back up to the viewing screen which was still busy but the bullying Nuthatches were no longer present. I continued along the path to the Hawthorn Wood Hide which was still very busy with a trio of Willow Tits now making regular visits to the feeders to my left.
After a short time a female Great Spotted Woodpecker flew through the trees and landed on a tall narrow tree stump and stayed there for a couple of minutes before flying across to the trunk of a large tree. A trio of Long Tailed Tits made a brief visit to the feeders before flying off closely followed by the Woodpecker. I now made my way back towards the visitor centre where I made another visit to the cafe before I headed home.
I have attached below a full sightings list as well as a gallery of the photos I took on my visit to Washington WWT.
WASHINGTON WWT - 15-10-2021
3 ROBINS 10+ BLUE TITS
5 GREAT TITS 5 COAL TITS
3 LONG TAILED TITS 3 WILLOW TITS
5 BULLFINCHES 4 GREENFINCHES
10+ CHAFFINCHES 4 NUTHATCHES
1 SPARROWHAWK 2 BLACK HEADED GULLS
20+ MALLARDS 2 CORMORANTS
2 MUTE SWANS 1 LITTLE GREBE
40+ REDSHANKS 10+ COOTS
4 MOORHENS 10+ WOOD PIGEONS
10+ STOCK DOVES 10+ TEALS
1 CURLEW 1 BLACK TAILED GODWIT
1 JAY 1 GREY HERON
1 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER 1 DUNNOCK
2 LAPWINGS 4 MAGPIES
1 PHEASANT 2 TUFTED DUCKS