Monday, 18 April 2011

A grand day out.

A belated report for Saturday.

For Wallace and Grommitt it was a 'Grand Day Out' to the Moon; for me, just a trip up the coast.

My first port of call was Druridge Pools. I was greeted by a Gropper reeling away near the entrance to the pond track, accompanied by a Willow Warbler. Although the day had started warm, a cool breeze gradually made my decision to leave my coat in the car a bad move. I had hoped for quite a few summer visitors, but all was rather quiet.

From the middle hide there were good views of 'gudunking' Shovellers and dabbling Teal. No sign of Gargany, but there's an awful lot of vegetation in which they could be hiding. Several Lapwings were chasing everything that passed.

On the big pond there were at least five pairs of Gadwall. A trilling Little Grebe evaded view. Up to 17 Sand Martins hawked the pond, but no sign of Swallows or House Martins.

Then on to Cresswell Pond. A pair of Yellow Wagtails, like flying Buttercups, chased after flies and probed the mud at the north end of the pond. Four Avocets were present, mostly in two pairs, but occasionally grouping together and calling noisily.

For the first time that I can remember, I had the hide all to myself. I was surprised to see 77 remaining Pink Feet grazing by the pond. Four female Goldeneye, but no males, dived busily. There was a smattering of Tufties and a few Widgeon, with several Teal mainly hugging the reads and Mallards dozing on the banks. It was interesting to watch the Avocets wading from the mud spit and reed bed to the right of the hide. They waded about 20 metres from the reeds before their bellies touched the water. One then swam a little way out (they are very good swimmers) and found shallower water again at about 30 metres out.

There were lots of Redshanks, probably over 50 and about a dozen Curlews. Apart from a very few Lapwings, there were no other waders in evidence. A single Heron probed along the edge of the reed bed and seemed to be catching lots of small fish.

I had a quick look out to sea from Snab Point and a small number of Sandwich Terns were present. A single Great Crested Grebe and small groups of Eiders, many still in non breeding plumage, were all that I could find apart from the ever present Gulls. Two Purple Sandpipers, one turning to breeding plumage, foraged along with Redshanks and Turnstones probed the rocks as the tide receded.

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