Sunday, 16 October 2011

Putting Something Back

Comma Butterfly

15th Oct. I mentioned in the previous blog just how much importance I place on putting something back into birding. I recognise that there are many ways that this can be done. One such way I use is to lead walks under the banner of the RSPB. These are especially aimed at introducing relative newcomers to the joys and excitement that can be had form watching birds and taking an interest in nature generally. As I usually include a little history, it has also helped me brush up my own local history knowledge.

The walk yesterday was a round trip of seven plus miles from Monkseaton and Holywell Dene, Hartley and St Mary’s Island. We didn’t find a great deal of birdlife on much of the walk if I’m honest, but Yellowhammers, Treecreepers, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks go down well with relative beginners. They go down well with me too! There was a good show from the waders yesterday and once again it was especially the Golden Plover flocks which drew the attention. A single Grey Plover is still about near to St Mary’s Island. There was some added entertainment from some adult clowns who had a child out on the rocks near to the island and had ignored completely the tide coming in. The sea rescue guy had to walk down to the beach to call them in. I heard that one had to plodge in with water up to his thighs at one point. Someone in our group suggested that they may have eight brain cells between them. I suspect this was a gross over estimate.

The dene had been quiet but very atmospheric as the sunlight passed through the thinning vegetation. I’m pleased to see that in the dene there is never too much rush to ‘tidy up’, and fallen trees are left as they fall, unless of course they are causing any real problem. Butterflies made up for the lack of birds on this sunny October day. Double figures were easily reached by both Red Admiral and Speckled Wood Butterflies and a single Comma Butterfly was found. Over lunch we watched a Sparrowhawk taking some stick from a Carrion Crow, as a Kestrel also flew nearby. Everyone seemed to leave content after our five and a half hour session. I was left with little time to look for the Yellow-browed Warblers so they still elude me. I’d began in the cold and ended very hot indeed!

I’m off to watch the Magpies now.

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