Saturday, 31 August 2013

Spotted Red and Green and getting Otter

A late morning visit to Cresswell Pond resulted in excellent views of Redshank, Greenshank and Spotshank feeding within a few metres of each other. We enjoyed watching them for some time.

There were at least three Greenshanks (I note from Bird Forum that six were seen later). Only one Spotshank was in evidence, but two had been seen earlier. There were a good number of Redshanks and Dunlins. A flock of Curlews joined from the nearby field, where a large flock of Lapwings and a few Stock Doves fed busily.

The surprise was an Arctic Skua sitting on the spit. It later took to the water and eventually flew off towards the sea. It was a very dark bird with a very pale beak, with virtually no tail projection. A group of Sandwich Terns flew over, squabbling over a fish carried by the leading bird. The Skua, uncharacteristically, ignored the opportunity for a steal.

After an excellent lunch at The Country Barn, we visited Druridge Pools. Two Otters, one significantly smaller than the other, were active on the big pool.

It was good to see so many Little Grebes, at least ten, of which many were juveniles. There were also two good broods of Tufties, one with seven well grown young and a few Gadwalls.

One female Tuftie had more white on her face than most Scaups that I’ve seen. But she had a distinctive bump on the back of her head and a dark back, so I’m convinced she’s not a Scaup. Another female Tuftie showed a lot of white, but she had both a tuft and a male Tuftie in close attendance.

We had excellent views of Linnets feeding in front of the hide and one of a visiting flock of Curlews landed right in front of us.

There were still a few Swallows and Sand Martins hawking over the pool.

On the track a few Wall Browns allowed a very close approach. 

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