Monday, 19 December 2011

Stone me, more Shorties.

Having suffered a foot injury while out walking in Thrunton Woods last weekend a hobble along to Prestwick was the only venture out last week so it was fantastic to get out again on Sunday even if the wind cut right through. I parked up at Druridge Pools and headed straight up for East Chevington and almost immediately picked up on my hoped for species. A pair of Stonechats were feeding slightly apart in the dunes while a large party of Goldfinches lifted and dropped at different points around them. In the arable fields to my west as i continued on were Lapwings and Starlings galore interspersed with Curlews, Crows and a handful of Rooks. The track had been reasonable underfoot up to this point but was getting really icy now and care had to be taken in between looking around and looking down. The first of my Short-eared sightings occurred as i approached the north pool at East Chevington with two interacting and hunting, again the dunes being the location. The light was fantastic, the setting superb but the photographer inept so no images were collected as they continued, a little distantly as it happens, with a few dog walkers oblivious as they passed overhead. Adding to the scenic views were three Highland Cattle browsing in the tall grasses, stunning beasts, a joy to observe!
Isn't he/she a beaut. (never thought to look)
Lunch was taken in one of the "ice box" hides. The twenty or so minutes spent mainly entertained by a couple of male Goldeneye who dropped in with their female counterparts and a few Pintails caught the eye on the far bank. The return journey was a bit quieter but as i left East Chevingtons reed beds and crossed the small bridge two more Shorties appeared, this time overhead, but they came out of the sun so were already past me by the time the camera was located. Back at Druridge ten minutes in the Oddie hide brought me a tucked up Green-winged Teal while the walk back to the car brought me a bruised backside as i fell down twice in twenty seconds, ironically, as i had previously covered over 7 km without coming a cropper. Light had just about gone so i called off at Cresswell to see if the Barn Owl was going to show and was informed by two separate guys who had been in the hide that a Great Northern Diver which had been about for only five minutes had not long flown off onto the sea. A chilly hour around the farm buildings and track brought no joy with the Barnie.

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