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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Durham Birding (3 Viewers)

So we visited the three reservoirs on the low fells of Waskerley, .driving the road Castleside to Stanhope.
Saw young cormorant, oystercatcher, red grouse family, lapwing, skylark, sand martins I think; something that could have been a common sandpiper on Waskerley Reservoir?

And a complete mystery near Smiddy Shaw at a couple hundred yards, I got it in my bins...
Flying low, two feet above the grass/Heather, flying fast and straight. About 6pm.
Brown, lightish brown with some whitish streaks. Maybe 3-4 times bigger than a skylark, buzzard size? But with sleek wings and long body & tail but didn't see pointed ends to wings. So not to my mind curlew/whimbrel shape with which I'm familiar. Wings not owlike as I remember
Like a big brown sparrowhawk maybe Looking through the guides vaguely a cross between goshawk/nightjar shape. I didn't see the head properly it was flying so fast.
Landed in the grass/heather and vanished, guessing to a nest.

Any thoughts? Anyone familiar with the birds of the area?
Excluding my guess at size against the grass, it was probably a merlin. Shape of wings, flight, habitat, all fit, and also never seen one before.
Anyone on here visit Brinkburn Nature Reserve in Darlington? Its just up the road from me and its had a bit of clean up over the last few years I think. We sometimes visit as a family, good walk in the woods and there's a good size lake with jetty.
Two kestrels spotted in fields in Darlington. One was quite a surprise spot because the tree it was in overlooks a field which has been destroyed for housing development. The whole area is a mess, a former farmers field ruined for more houses.
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