I went birding with Harrogate Pete today who wanted to see Black Grouse and Crossbills. An early start paid dividends with the Grouse as we over a dozen or so lecking straight away but quite distant, I then took him to a spot where I new they may be close, this also worked and had 10 grouse less than 20 feet away. He got some great photos (I will post one on here when he sends it) I was playing guide at this point and was happy for him to get his shots, we later got more grouse and I digiscoped this beautiful poser -though it was about 50 yards away.
We also got Golden Plover - the best photos I have had of them so far. The sound was amazing on the moors, with Black Grouse, Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Skylark, Meadow Pipits all displaying.
We then tried in vain for Ring Ouzel optomistically - its a couple of weeks too early.
The after a welcome pint moved on to Hamsterley for Crossbills - I think Pete thought these would be tough, but as soon as we got on the trail 2 Crossbills obliging came down from the tree tops, with the female drinking from a pool. We saw 3 more groups of Crossbills and this rounded off a very successful day.