'Does my bum look fat in this outfit?'
A pot of gold, but few birds
This almost became a 'pressed' butterfly.
11th Oct. I couldn’t resist nipping into Northumberland Park this morning for a look at the Mandarin Drake, so my day began colourfully to say the least. I don’t really go for flashy birds, or flashy anything to be honest, and this bird played a little hard to get as it hid shyly at the side of the pond. Not too large a pond however, so I could hardly fail to have some success. Pretty amazing bird, but I think I prefer the less garish and flashy female of this species. Anyway I pulled myself away from this little stunner and made for Tynemouth Boating Lake. The bird I was after here had flown (this has happened before on occasions) and I spent my time checking out Tufted Ducks and oddly enough boats! Someone asked me about the differences between Tufted Duck and Lesser Scaup. I was pleased I’d checked the ‘Collins’ the night before! I know now where this bird has flown and so have not given up on the Lesser Scaup. I may not have the wheels, so necessary to capture so many birds and I lack the technology, but I do not lack persistence and energy. Well the persistence anyway.:-)
I soon moved on to St Mary’s Island. Waders were about in numbers and the Golden Plovers performed very well. Certainly 1,000 + and most up in the air at the same time on occasions. They lined the tideline along with Lapwings. When in Northumberland Park I had found few birds and this was to continue through the day. The wetland at St Mary’s was silent. As another birder said, well ‘there’s nowt here but the Magpies’ and that just about summed things up. I did hear and catch sight of Skylarks and Linnets in the fields opposite the wetland.
The next bit of colour came in the shape of a rainbow which I was unable to digitally capture completely, such was its size. I did see where the pot of gold lay in the sea, but I didn’t see many seabirds. By now it was windy, but the wind was in the wrong direction. Does this sound like an excuse for the lateness of a train? I did find the usual Eider Ducks, but not very many of them, and had sightings of two divers which I’m more or less certain were Red Throated Divers. There were a few auk species, too far out to identify with certainty. I had little time to sea watch and hope to put that right later in the week.
The dene was as devoid of bird sightings as I’ve ever known it although there was a large party of tits moving through the trees at one point. This included Great, Coal, Blue and Long Tailed Tits. The latter seeming to be the most numerous, or perhaps the slowest moving and easiest to see. I found a little more colour along by the burn as the autumnal changes take place.
I was feeling tired by now. I think my energy saps more easily when there isn’t the excitement of birds to keep me going. I decided that a sit down was in order. I almost sat on a very lethargic Red Admiral Butterfly. I don’t do ‘tattoos’ and I’m pleased that I didn’t end up with this very colourful butterfly on my backside. After taking its photograph I decided to keep moving and leave it in peace.
Holywell Pond and surrounding fields were very quiet too. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Teal being of the greatest interest.
I reckon this is the quietest it had been on me completing this walk. Considering that the all weather birders clocked up 80+ species earlier this year the 48 of today bore little comparison. I’m resting tomorrow (I might have to sneak in a look for the Lesser Scaup after a dental appointment), preparing and looking forward to a further outing on Thursday when this little bird will definitely be back on the agenda if it sticks around.