Thought this morning that I had better make the effort to visit Seaton Snook. I was familiar with the location of the car park at the north end of the bay so thought I'd use it and walk along the beach to the south end where the Isabelline Wheatear was reported.
At the last minute I decided to walk down the track alongside the golf course to Zinc works. Faster I thought, wrong.
Onto the beach and where is the throng?, yep, at the North end of the bay.
So a brisk walk on the beach would do no harm, almost there and then I saw that sight that everyone hates of the throng pointing bins all in different directions.
90 minutes searching dunes, golf course etc ended with chips at Seaton and the plan to check the beach once again.
Parked back at the north end, onto the beach and yes you guessed it, the throng were at the South end.
I did hot foot it this time, and, nearly there when the multidirectional bins and scopes were at it again as a bloke and six dogs walked through them.
But things settled and in no time the bird came close up to greet me.
While wandering along the top of the Druridge dunes today, I noticed one diver quite close in so I got down to the waters edge and was pleased to get some close ups of 3 Red Throated Divers and Great Crested Grebe. Followed them for nearly an hour as they dived in quite shallow water.
At the time I thought I was looking at a dozen distant twite but having downloaded and cropped am not sure about these below, any ident help please.
Have spent a few hours over the last couple of days at Newbiggin. The first target was Little Auk with Snow Bunting also on the list.
Thursday morning was a bit 'caad' but I found a spot at the north end of the north bay for a low tide sea watch and shelter, but dipped on Auks. Those who know this point will be able to picture me facing the sea, looking for Auks with the golf course at my back.
I blanked so, I returned to the town for a coffee, scone and a twitter check.
Couldn't help laugh out loud to read a tweet from hour earlier that both Snow Bunting and Little Auks seen at Newbiggin with the Auks flying down the golf course behind me.
You couldn't make it up.
Refreshed I walked back up the cliff top path and was more than pleased to see a Snow Bunting
During all this it was fascinating to watch the groups of thrushes battling in off the sea to make landfall.
Today, despite this mornings rain I wanted to see what else may be about so it was back along the cliff top patch North.
Three individual sightings of Woodcock made the effort and soaking more than worthwhile.
Plenty of other interest also including large flock of Golden Plover
I have to admit to a bit of panic when I realised this mornings thrush invasion was underway and I was at home. I had committed to doing some work on the garden pond and was determined to press on.
However whilst looking down trying to decide which pond plants to thin out I was amazed to see as a reflection, in the pond, of a large flock of thrushes passing above me. Many more were to appear.
One huge flock stretched from eastern skyline to western.
I guess this could be one of them.
With an increasing sense of panic that I alone would be the only soul not to have seen the Roker Olive-backed Pipit I went visiting this morning. Even after all the pin sharp pics seen to date it is without shame I offer--
...........and as a bonus a Lesser Whitethroat in a bush on the opposite side of the road. Thanks Steve.
A trip up the coast produced a few nice birds.
I wandered around the outside of the east side of the conifer plantation at the entrance to Druridge pools and spent a while just watching for any bird movement. A bird flew out of the trees toward me and perched on a fallen trunk.
I was pleased to see it was a Turtle Dove which after a short while flew off toward the farm development over the road.
Then a wander onto the beach where I could see a lot of divers quite close in on a dropping tide.
So with a bit of plodging, had a try to grab a pic of a Red Throated diver
The remainder of the day produced some nice birds
Found it hard to leave with this view beyond Cresswell Pond
Thought I would try to complete the task so rudely interrupted by the bees on the previous day, so I went back to Newburn and filled the box with blackberries.
In one particularly small sheltered corner I was pleased to be able to watch six of these corkers hawking about
I was surprised to see how many coupled Common Darters were still in reproduction mode.
In one small area there were about 30 pairs over a small patch of water. The water levels being at their lowest level in the past year.
The plan was to harvest some of the glut of blackberries which exists.
I found a bush with some large ripe fruits and as I was reaching for the largest my foot slipped into a rabbit hole. Looking down, there was a swarm of angry bees charging out of the hole.
Immediate reaction was to get the hell out of there down the hill, swatting with the cap as I went.
First thirty yards in 3.1 seconds, well almost, I luckily managed to get away with one sting over the right eye. Near miss.
My Butterfly Quest had ground to a halt with only the off chance of a sighting of a migrant Painted Lady or Clouded Yellow remaining.
At Druridge Pools today I was stunned by the high numbers of Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Wall, Comma, and Small, Large, Green veined White on the small areas of flowering thistle which remain.
So you can imagine my pleasure whilst watching these as a Painted Lady passed over my shoulder from behind and landed three feet in front me for my 35th addition to my Quest total.
Another feeding on teazel provided ample chance for more pics.
Since last autumn, the Goldfinch have been one of the most regular visitors to the back garden feeders. Over the last couple of weeks the visits have become less frequent so I thought they will be taking advantage of the thistle seed crop out in the hedgerows.
So I was surprised to see this one making repeated trips, this morning, to gather some sheep's wool which I put out in the spring