LOVELY DAY FOR A DIP - 8 October 2014

It was a lovely day for a dip. The sun shone low, casting a warm glow on an autumn morning. It seemed to accentuate the colours of the water birds I watched through my scope - the Wigeon , Teal Snipe and Black-tailed Godwit. Yes, the usual collection of ducks and waders looked marvellous in that light. Their feather details could be clearly seen and richness of their coloration was breathtaking... russet browns on the Wigeon duck, cream line markings on the Snipe. They looked superb in the morning sunshine.

However, I had not got up early to see these birds, great as they were. My intended quarry was a much smaller bird, a type of warbler seen briefly in a nearby wood the day before. It was very rare and a long way from its American home. I have seen Red-eyed Vireo before, including once in NE England, but that was a long time ago and not in Northumberland. Like the various friends and birding contacts around me I wanted to see the vireo for my all important county list, now totaling 326 species. But it was not to be. There was no sign of it. I had 'dipped'. It was good to see another Yellow-browed Warbler and a very late Lesser Whitethroat. Good too to watch Pink-footed Geese again as a flock of 50 flew past. And of course that early morning light... a 'wow' moment watching the water birds. What a lovely day for a 'dip'.

Mark Winter

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