I decided to ignore the drizzle and visit Druridge Pools this afternoon. The advantage of going to Druridge in the rain is that you have the place largely to yourself.
A quick look from the middle hide revealed several Shovellers. Two males were displaying to a single female. They were too far away to hear the wonderful 'gudunk, gudunk' that accompanies the head bobbing. A smattering of Teals, a few Gadwalls and singles of Mallard and Shelduck completed the scene. I then looked to the right of the hide and a female Wheatear was sitting in one of the bushes. I was also surprised to see a Little Grebe on the small pond.
One the main pond there were at least ten male Tufties, some with females and others alone. At least four male Little Grebes were busy feeding. One drifted across the pond, picking flies from the surface as it went. Another caught a small fish and seemed to struggle to swallow it. Possibly a Stickleback with spines erect.
Whilst watching a female Goldeneye feeding, something caught my peripheral vision. A Short Eared Owl flew right in front of the hide, dropped in to the grass and then flew over the pond and around the reeds, giving an excellent five minute performance of floating, dipping and diving.
A Lapwing landed in front of the hide, giving close views of its chestnut rump. Then a Redshank spent a long time marching back and forth, prodding the mud, but not seeming to find anything.
On my return up the track, a male Stonechat was sitting in the bushes by the road. Another (or perhaps the same bird) was in the dunes. I hope that these fantastic birds make a bit of a comeback this year, after the hammering they took in the 2010/11 winter.
On the way home, there were 26 Curlews feeding in the field just south of the Druridge entrance.