The plan was for the Howdon Blogger to pick me up at 6.45a.m. this morning and head over and have a pootle around the Gateshead area. I got up for a "pit stop" around 2 and a quick glance out the window brought no surprises. I need a couple of hours to pull myself together before i head out these days and when i arose at 4.45 a.m. i was shocked to find at least 50mm of lying snow and a potential blizzard raging.
The roads were treacherous so we decided to go to Big Waters and Gosforth Park instead. A circular walk around the periphery at Big Waters was enjoyable but cold with a Water Rail doing a Roadrunner impersonation the highlight for me. Back in the hide three Robins interacting and a female Pheasant squaring up to a feisty Moorhen brought a smile to blue lips.(i'll have to tone down that lipstick)
Approaching Gosforth Park and half a dozen cars parked outside the reserve we had already decided that if the feeding station hide was full we would come away and have a quick visit to Killy Lakes to finish, for us, a very short Saturdays' birding. I'm pleased to say that there was only one person in there when we landed which led to a superb encounter with a Fieldfare that proceeded to take control of the tree with the apples skewered on it. The six or seven apples belonged to this bird for at least the last hour we saw it and every Thrush who thought otherwise was to be dealt with in no uncertain terms including two of his comrades. One exception came in the form of a Magpie which was quite distant and up a totally different tree but the Fieldfare was in a bit of a frenzy at this stage and the bird must have caught the eye but just before they engaged the Fieldfare realised the mistake that it had made and pulled out of the attack at the very last second. Closest views i've had of this species and great to see the fabulous markings and colouration.