On 31st May I retired from work. I took three weeks holiday before my retirement, so I’ve now been a gentleman of leisure for just over six weeks. I’ve avoided the temptation to spend all of my time birdwatching.
On return from a week in Devon I tried for the Pratincole at Bothal, but missed it by a day.
On 11th June we visited the Farne Islands. In spite of having lived in Northumberland for twenty five years, this was only our second visit. It’s a truly magical place. I have never been fully confident in identifying Common and Arctic Terns as they pass by at distance. However, when you can sit within a metre anyone can identify them.
If anyone doubts the need to wear a hat (and a few visitors seemed not to have heard or taken the advice) I had two pecks that would have drawn blood.
In response to apparent sightings on two occasions of Bee Eaters around East Chevington and then Lynemouth, I had a couple of typically unsuccessful twitching trips up the coast.
Seeing at least twenty eight Blackwits at Druridge Pools made up for the missing rarities. I also had good views of several Little Gulls and a Little Egret at Cresswell Pond.
In our garden the feeders have been very busy. We have regular visits from three adult and two juvenile Goldfinches. They often visit together.
When I first started feeding birds regularly, in my parents’ garden fifty years ago, I tended to despise the way in which House Sparrows hogged the feeders and tended to push the Greenfinches and Tits out of the way. Since then Spruggie fortunes have changed dramatically. Today I was delighted to see at least nine Spruggies visiting the feeding station. The visiting group consisted of five young birds, two older than the other three, three adult males and a single adult female. I had eight on the feeder together (two adult males) and all three males together on a few occasions. There seems to be harmony amongst the group.
The harmony shown by both the Goldfinch and Spruggie groups also, very surprisingly, extends to the Blackbirds that are in our garden every day. I am used to having a single pair dominating the garden, but at present we often have more than two adult males, along with two females and two well grown young birds. I’m wondering if the cold weather has reduced feeding options, making birds react less territorially, as they do in the winter.
Last Saturday I had an engagement south of the river, so I spent the morning at RSPB Saltholme. Needless to say, the Squacco Heron had disappeared the previous day and it rained. Nice views of a Greenshank and extended views of a Little Egret fishing busily.
We have booked a two week camping holiday in Scotland, near Inverewe in mid July. A mass migration of White Tailed Eagles is in prospect!