Thursday, 27 June 2013


25th June.  I visited Gibside for lunch today.  Nice lunch, nice chat and some very nice tea and carrot cake in the afternoon!

I have to confess, if my memory serves me well, that I have never been into Gibside Chapel.  I broke that duck today.  I think I need to get back with the tripod at some point to take some photographs indoors.  The rosewood is very attractive.

I had hoped to find the Kingfisher on the Derwent, but had no luck, so that is another reason to make a return.  Birdwise it was a quiet day but two Red Kites were briefly seen as I left the chapel.  A pair of Grey Wagtails was seen carrying food to young on the river.  Saddest part of the day was to see so much flower meadowland which seemed ideal habitat to encourage butterflies, but very few butterflies.  I counted one Small Tortoiseshell and maybe two or three individual white species during the few hours I was there.

My friend Hilary passed on to me a copy of the Northumbrian magazine from 1991, for which I have to thank her father.  I’m not a regular reader of this magazine, but found some very interesting articles.  Ian Kerr had written about Short-eared Owls (as he has done in a very recent copy of the magazine), John Steele the local naturalist and artist wrote an article on lichen and having recently visited the Farne Islands I was interested to read an article about Ian Burton who spent a couple of years as a warden on the Farne Islands in the 1980s.  Ian then moved to work at the RSPB reserve at St Bees Head (a place known to me since childhood) and was sadly killed in an accident in the Cumbrian Fells in 1988.  Perhaps you remember the incident, or even knew Ian Burton.

I was also keen to read the article about dovecotes in Northumberland as it made comment about the one at Spindlestone.  When preparing for the RSPB walk up there last month I had read up on this building.  A Newcastle University website is adamant that this building was never used as a dovecote and that there is no evidence what so ever that it ever was.  The site claims that it was a windmill, and only one of two of this type remaining in the Northeast, with the other being in Durham.  There is clearly a long running dispute as to how this building was used.  Dr David Kempe suggests in the article in the Northumbrian that it could have been a windmill prior to being used as a dovecote!  Perhaps that keeps everyone happy!  There is also a very interesting article about Haydon Bridge in which mention is made of John Martin.  I remember as a child looking up at John Martin’s large oil paintings in the Laing Art Gallery, although I had no idea who John Martin was at the time, or that he had connections with Haydon Bridge.

The magazine brought back numerous memories, some longstanding and some more recent.  Another such memory was when I saw the advert for Kielder Bykes (do they still exist?), as a collegue and I took a group of Killingworth youths on a weekend trip in Northumberland around 1990 and one afternoon was spent on Kielder Bykes.  I remember it well as I was cream crackered afterwards.  An account of the weekend would make interesting reading but it’s not for this blog.:-)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Farne Islands Photographic Workshop

18th June.  Sometime ago Sam won another photography competition with the WWT and his prize was a Farne Island Workshop with Hawkshead Photography.  The prize offered two places and Sam very kindly asked me to join him on the workshop.  I love the sea, seabirds, seabird colonies and islands, so it took me less than a second to say ‘thanks, of course I’ll come along’ and I/we have been eagerly anticipating the experience.  We hoped for half decent weather and what we got was much more than half decent, and the lighting was perfect for a day’s photography, especially in the evening when, as Sam suggested, it felt like we were on the Mediterranean.  With the group of eleven we had a Serenity boat more or less to ourselves during the day and we spent time on both the outer and inner Farnes before returning to Seahouses for a fish and chip tea (yes, more fish and chips).  After tea we walked around the harbour and took the chance to take some close ups of the Eider Ducks and their young (what a difference in temperature and light from the wet, misty and cold morning that we had spent here in April during our stay at Bamburgh) before joining a Serenity boat again for the evening cruise which was a wonderful way to spend an evening.

Guillemot inc bridled

Unlucky chick not to see much of the world!


The camera had precedence over the binoculars today and I hardly had need of the latter.  It was a great day with great company.  Lots of photography undertaken by me, and a great deal more by Sam!  I no longer take the line that photography can get in the way of watching, as I simply think it enhances watching, if used in an appropriate and wildlife friendly manner (when I watch a minority of folk with or without cameras the term wildlife friendly manner seems to mean little to them).  I’m still a trainee photographer of course and have room for improvement especially with in-flight images.  I need some better kit but recognise that doesn’t ensure a better quality end product by any means!  I’m sure everyone always wants better whatever they have.  There was an amusing incident today when a guy with a gigantic lens had it and his eye focused upon a post waiting for a Rock Pipit to carry food back to a nest whilst he assured us it would return to the same post.  As he kneeled intently watching and waiting, we and others took a number of photographs of the Rock Pipit when it returned to another post only feet away. 


Following the boat

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern
A great day which I’m sure will be a highlight of 2013 thanks to the wildlife, Alan Hewitt of Hawkshead Photography, the guys with Serenity, a really nice group of fun people on the workshop, Neptune’s Fish and Chip Restraunt and last, but certainly not least, Sam without whose generosity I would not have been there at all!  Here’s hoping we can get back soon.  It’s even given me an idea of launching a new fragrance for men and calling it GUANO 4 REAL MEN.  I can vouch for the fact that the fragrance stays in the nostrils for two days!   On this occasion I’ll let a few of my images describe what was a fantastic day.


Sam's Tern :-)

Eider Chick Seahouses Harbour

Grey Seal 

Seal Youngster


Great Black-back Gull with Guillemots

Got to end with Puffins.:-)

Watch It!

If you haven't seen and heard this speech already I think you ought to.

Anger used constructively is good.  If a few more people were bothered enough to get angry and stop pussy footing around the threats to our natural heritage, then perhaps it wouldn't be in such dire straits!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bank on Birds with TSB!

19th June.  The all weather birder trio of Tom, Sam and Brian were off in the sun to the coast today and it turned out to be quite a day.

We began rather late at Hauxley Nature Reserve, as timings had been arranged after the S and B of TSB had spent a very long day and evening on and around the Farne Islands yesterday (more of that at a later date).  There was much botanical interest at Hauxley today and lots of Orchids in flower, but our day was to focus on birds in the main.  We were greeted by Tree Sparrows.  The reserve looked good in the sun, although there was nothing to set the pulse racing.  We watched from the hide as one Mute Swan cleared the pond of a flock of Greylag Geese and everything else apart from the Mallards which seemed happy to ignore the Mute Swan’s presence.  One of the Greylag Geese was split from the group and spent most of it’s time under water being hounded (perhaps that should read ‘swanned’) by the Mute Swan, until it got off the pond in a rather bedraggled state.  Canada Geese, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank and Grey Herons were around in numbers.  Willow Warbler was seen and heard before we left for East Chevington.

Sam was briefly introduced to the metal hide at East Chevington, but we all remained outside of it.  The sun was warming up now.  It was good to note that two pairs of Great Crested Grebes have nests on North Pool.  Hopefully they will be successful.  We pondered upon whether there may be a relative of the Killingworth pair here!  Tom found an eclipse Pintail in the distance.  We checked for Roseate Terns, but found only Common, Arctic and Sandwich Terns.  Other birds on North Pool included Shelduck, Shoveller, Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon and Tufted Duck.  A Curlew was spotted on one of the islands as was a summer plumaged Dunlin.  The reed-bed held Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting.  It was Sam who initially heard the reeling of Grasshopper Warbler and we found it out in the open and all had good long sightings.  More Grey Herons flew in the area. And Skylark and Meadow Pipit sang.  A female Sparrowhawk flew over and headed for the trees.  Common Buzzards were seen on a couple of occasions around the area.

Grasshopper Warbler.  Courtesy of Tom M (digiscope with mobile)

The sighting of the Grasshopper Warbler had been a good one and I thought it might well be my bird of the day, and then as we prepared to move on we found the pair of Druridge Marsh Harrier.  The male was seen first of all and give very good sightings.  As the male went off hunting over the reed beds the female appeared.  The male eventually returned with prey and the two birds flew together in the sky at times, being approached by corvids.  The prey was eventually taken down and the male lifted once more.  It was all quite a sight so I hope the couple we had spoken to earlier who had come to the area to try and spot the harriers actually saw them.  We bumped into K H at this point and enjoyed a chat whilst I got the macro out to photograph a large caterpillar.

Marsh Harrier

Drinker Moth caterpillar.  Thanks go to Andrew H for ID suggestion.
So named because of the habit of the caterpillar of drinking droplets of rain or dew from the likes of grass stems.

We set off towards Cresswell and stopped on the way at Druridge Pools where Sam had seen Little Gulls last week.  We found four Little Gulls today, a year tick for me.  We were all thrown a little by the appearance of a not long fledged Black Headed Gull.  The highlight here was finding with in a few minutes Pied, Grey and Yellow Wagtail, the latter being a lifer for Sam who has had quite a week!  Before setting off for Cresswell we found both Cinnabar Moths and Small Copper Butterflies.  The Macro was back out again and with a little persistence images were got.

Small Copper Butterfly
As we approached the pond at Cresswell it became obvious that the water levels were high.  We took a stop at the north end but found little apart from Pied Wagtail.  Tree Sparrow was seen as we walked towards the pond.  Once in the hide we added Little Grebe and Pochard to our day list.  Sandwich Tern flew over and more numbers of Sedge Warblers and Reed Bunting were seen again.  Then we had another very good sighting of a female Marsh Harrier as it hunted over the reeds close to the road.  We felt that because of the present dynamics this was unlikely to have been the female we had seen earlier in the day.  It was mid afternoon by now and I was beginning to feel hungry as I’d only eaten a couple of Sam’s crisps earlier.  I remembered I had a sandwich left over from yesterday, so as needs must, I ate it. 

Marsh Harrier at Cresswell
Newbiggin was our next stop in the expectation of finding Mediterranean Gulls.  I initially thought we were going to be unlucky but one a lone distant bird seemed to be what we had been after, so we set off walking and eventually had a very good sighting of Mediterranean Gull.  This was another lifer for Sam and another year tick for me.  Unfortunately the gull clearly had a badly damaged leg which it seemed unable to place weight upon so this may explain whilst it was out there all alone.  As I was wondering if it could fly, it proved it could by flying off over the beach and houses.  Eider Duck were seen on what was an otherwise very calm and quiet sea.    It was getting hotter as we set off for Seaton Sluice and the fish and chip shop.

Mediterranean Gull.  Courtesy of Tom M.  (digiscope with mobile)

 On arrival at Seaton Sluice we found that the ‘chippy’ wasn’t open for another hour so we went off to St Mary’s Island.  It was very hot by now!  The wetland was very quiet but we did add Common Whitethroat to the day list and Sand Martins were seen.  Both male and female Common Scoter were seen on the sea and the small number of passing birds include Puffin and Guillemot.

So there was only one place left to go to now and that was for our fish and chips.  All three of us feeling quite tired by now I think.  We’d had a great day and it was wonderful to feel the cooling breeze on our faces as we left to make for home whilst watching the hovering Kestrel.  There had been some great sightings amongst the day list of seventy-one bird species.  It had been good to watch and think about bird behaviour.  Quite a few insects had been seen, including lots of day flying moths, and Tom had seen a Weasel as we passed through Cresswell.

Yes you can bank on TSB to have a good day’s birding (what ever the weather) and some laughs.  Thanks to Tom for providing the transport.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Boys go to Bempton

15th June.  Malcolm, Sam and I enjoyed a boy’s day out today as we joined the RSPB Local Group Trip to Bempton.  I choose my RSPB trips with care nowadays, but there was no way I wanted to miss this chance to be amongst dramatic cliff scenery and colonies of seabirds.  The weather forecast looked distinctly dodgy, but we just didn’t care as we set off in an unusually (for the group) plush coach with plenty of room, a toilet and drink making facilities.  The extra leg room and comfort was much appreciated on what is quite a long journey, although good time was made and we were at Bempton for around 11:00am.  We had quite a list of birds before arriving including Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Lapwing, Curlew, Kestrel and hirundines. 



Gannets where the big attraction
Just before we reached the RSPB Reserve we found one of the highlights of the day in Marsh Harrier.  Sam had been watching the one at Druridge the day before.  It was hunting over fields quite close to the road so everyone awake had a good sighting.  This started things off really well as harriers are amongst my favourite species of bird.  It’s that flight style I enjoy watching so much.  It is such a shame that little headway is being made to save the Hen Harrier from extinction in England.  Another of today’s highlights was Corn Bunting, tracked down by that ‘bunch of keys’ song and seen quite well.  We saw two and I believe the group as a whole saw four separate birds.  I told a few people that I hadn’t seen Corn Bunting for two or three years, but I had forgotten the bird heard when Tom. Sam and I were watching the Roller in Yorkshire last year.  I enjoyed the walk to find the Corn Bunting as it took us away from the crowds and I have to say I’ve never seen Bempton Reserve as busy as it was today.


And more!

I’m sure most who read my blog are full aware of Bempton RSPB Reserve, but for those who are not I’ll give a brief summary.  The hard chalk cliffs run about 10km from Flamborough Head north towards Filey and are over 100 metres (330ft) high at some points.  Anyone daft enough to climb over the safety fences on the edge of the cliff would be taking serious risks.  Signs of erosion can be found.  During the breeding season Bempton cliffs are occupied by around 250,000 seabirds including Gannets, Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmar and Kittiwakes.  On the landside there is some fine flower meadow land.  Bempton is home to the only mainland breeding colony of Gannets in England.  Many visitors seemed to be out to find Puffins.  There were actually quite a lot about today, but not everyone was finding it easy to see them.  At Bempton the Puffins nest in rock crevices rather than their normal burrows used at most other sites in Britain.  About 10 percent of the UK Kittiwake population can be found at Bempton.  If you visit Bempton after the breeding season it is a very different place, but still very dramatic.


Dramatic Cliffs
Sam and I were focussed upon photography today and so along with Malcolm disappeared from the rest of the group quite quickly.  We made for the Gannets first.  My resulting images suggest I need to keep practising, but I was pleased with a few of them!  I wish I had a faster lens, but there again I wish I had more money!  Puffins could be seen in flight amongst the other auks as well as nesting on the cliff and we took in the colonies of Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake.  There didn’t appear to be that many Fulmar and I don’t think anyone found Shags.


And more! 

As on my last visit to Bempton there were storm clouds and heavy rain around us but for quite a while we remained dry.  The rain seemed to be crossing the moors north of us and going out to sea.  Our luck was eventually used up and we were caught in a heavy downpour when we were as far away from the centre as we could be.  Streak lightning was seen over the sea.  Never mind, as Malcolm said at the time, ‘the wind will dry us once it stops’ and in fact it did, and a little sunshine helped too.  I had been tempted to use my new waterproof camera and lens cover as a hat, but refrained from doing so not least because it made me look like a leprechaun.  As a camera and lens cover it seems to me to be about as useful as a chocolate teapot!

We did find a Skylark on the path with young and the song of Skylark and Meadow Pipit had been with us most of the day.  One of our group found a Stoat and Brown Hares were seen on our journey home.  We missed the Peregrine Falcon at the cliffs.  Too busy with the photography I think.

The day had been a good one, although we three did agree that a boat trip would give and even better perspective of seabird colonies and of this dramatic and atmospheric area.  We also gave some thought to a trip out to Bass Rock.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Time Out in the Sun

9th June.  After a grey start to early morning by mid day the sun was out and the temperatures rising.  Sam and I made for St Mary’s Island not really knowing where we would end up.  Not too often you see folk sitting on the sandy beaches these days, but there were several down there today.  Quite a bit of flesh was showing as well and as I may have said before, in my opinion some of it would be best left covered!

Not so sure that it could be called a real birding day today, but it was nice to sit and chat, watch the sea and have the cool breeze on our faces.  I did manage some Fulmar images as they flew close by the cliff edge at times.  Otherwise it was the odd Gannet and auk, Eider, Oystercatcher and Turnstone.  Skylark and Meadow Pipit flew over the fields and occasionally above the cliff edges.  The wetland had been very quiet with yesterdays Marsh Warbler having departed.  Reed Buntings were there, but I neither saw nor heard the Reed Warble that I was told was in the reeds.


Wall Brown and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen as we headed for Seaton Sluice.  Still far fewer butterflies than I would have expected in such weather.  The large cultivated Poppies stood out against a blue sky and sea.  We stopped at the Tower Hide for a bite to eat rather than in expectation of seeing much.  The fish and chips were given a miss as I had dinner to deal with when I got home.  Instead, as it was such a wonderful evening, we decided to continue the walk to Holywell Village.

It was nice to wander through a relatively quiet dene until we were almost flattened by a cyclist going full pelt along the footpath in the dene.  Clearly old enough to know better, the guy had no control over his bicycle what so ever and we had to jump into the side to allow him past.  If there had been a small child on the bend of the path he would have flattened them.  Definitely entitled to the title of SELFISH IDIOT in capital letters.  As I say however, relatively peaceful.  I heard Blackcap but otherwise the dene didn’t throw up much in the way of birds.  No Dippers seen today, although we had seen Dipper with young on 4th June.  Good to see that they have managed to raise youngsters again this year.  It was good to sit in the shade by the burn in expectation of seeing something none the less.  We did find a very old small wheel as we walked by the burn.  It seemed like a wheel that could have been used on the wagon-ways.

                                           I f your memory serves you well
                                          We're going to meet again and wait
                                           So I'm going to unpack all my things
                                          And sit before it gets too late
                                          No man alive will come to you
                                          With another tale to tell
                                          And you know that we shall meet again
                                          If your memory serves you well

                                          This wheel's on fire, rolling down the road
                                          Best notify my next of kin
                                          This wheel shall explode!
                                          Lyrics by Bob Dylan

As we approached The Avenue that path out of the dene seemed like a mountain today.  We heard the usual warblers, including Sedge Warbler as we approached the pond.  The pond was quiet but held at least two Gadwall today.  The Common Terns were as usual on the island or fishing over the pond.  I spotted at least five Grey Herons which just before we left were distributed singularly and almost equally spaced out around the pond.  One of them high in the trees.

On leaving, as we reached the village I watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker fly over the heads of some youngsters playing on the field.  The woodpecker had gone unnoticed by them I’m sure.  I pondered on the fact that at their age and in fact even when much older, I had never seen a woodpecker.  It ought to be remembered that many youngsters don’t see much wildlife and that they ought to be given as much support and encouragement as possible so that they at least get the chance to do so.  As anyone who reads my blog will know. I just won’t go along with the remarks of the older generations which suggest that youngsters aren’t interested.  Such remarks often just reflect the attitudes of the older generations who repeat them.  Woodpeckers didn’t venture into my street in the east end of Newcastle, although I’m sure they will have been in the park.  I would, I hope have been very excited to have seen a woodpecker when I was a child.  We did have Tawny Owls roosting across the road though, and I remember them calling after I’d gone to bed.  I may have said this before, but the first Tawny Owl I ever saw was sat on top of a lamp post outside of a fish and chip shop, as I returned from the speedway one night with my dad.  So Tawny Owls may like the smell of fish and chips too.  Talking of speedway, I wonder if anyone remembers Ivan Mauger, the best rider Newcastle Diamonds have ever had.  He became world champion.

Anyway, long may sunny summer evenings last.  Oh dear, I’ve just seen the forecast.  Never mind too much sun does us no good.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Park 2 Patch

8th June.  Sam and I took a relaxing pace in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and it paid off when Sam got his eye on what he initially thought was a small mammal on the ground, but which turned out to be a Garden Warbler which gave us both a fleeting sighting.  It certainly felt and sounded like summer in the reserve today with the song of Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all performing well in the sun.

Oystercatchers flew and called as we approached the first hide having walked around our usual route.  Both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were seen flying above the pond.  Water Rail was heard on three or fours occasions as it called very closely to the hide.  Two Grey Herons were seen and the Common Tern platform was busy.  Shoveller were on the water.  On the walk we found numerous Speckled Wood Butterflies along with White species and Blue Tailed Damselfly.  From the hide we saw at least two Four-spotted Chaser Dragonflies.  These were my first odonata of the year as was the Garden Warbler.  Other woodland birds seen included Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and pairs of Great Spotted Woodpecker which appeared to be feeding young.

Speckled Wood Butterfly, one of many on the wing today.
It was good just to take our time in the sun and enjoy the peace of the reserve and for the first time in ages there was no mud to walk through.  We decided not to carry on as planned to Prestwick Carr, but instead returned to patch and took a walk up to Burradon Pond.  The walk included many more Speckled Wood Butterflies and a couple of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.  Swifts, hirundines and Skylarks flew over the farmland as we enjoyed the view from what must be the highest point in the area.  The sun had brought out folk in some number so the pond wasn’t quiet, but never the less I enjoyed sitting there and having a bite to eat.  A Common Tern was eventually joined by another.  The Mute Swan pair has seven cygnets.  A Little Grebe called.  We toyed with the idea of beginning a Burradon Pond list thinking it might be better in the winter.  I have to confess this was my first visit!  The pathways and wagon-ways give an endless choice of routes around this area and I have never bothered going up to the pond.  Easily walked to from my front door, so it certainly qualifies as part of the patch.  We walked back home a little more tanned and well satisfied with our day

Monday, 3 June 2013

Painted Ladies in the Sun!

3rd June.  Last time I used ‘Painted Ladies’ in the title my readership shot up!

Dandelion Head
I decided to take a walk along the wagon-way today.  I’d not been along there for sometime and although I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of birds along there at this time of year, I did think that the sun would bring out some butterflies.  This year so far has on the whole been poor for butterflies.

Green-veined White Butterfly
I took a slight detour and crossed to the point that gives a really good view across the open farmland, the sea and St Mary’s Lighthouse.  I think I can follow the line of Holywell Dene too, at least in part.  Swifts’ Swallows and House Martins flew over the fields and the song of Skylarks was heard.  I’d have been happy enough to sit down and spend the afternoon here, but decided to retrace my steps and follow the wagon-way.  As I passed the horses in the field large numbers of juvenile Starlings flew into the area of the animal’s feet hoping for an easy meal.  Blackbirds and Chiffchaff sang.

Initially I found little in the way of butterflies, as I say, it has been a poor year for them.  White species flew over the fields, but not in the numbers that I would have expected on such a hot day in June.  A couple of flighty butterflies flew into the gardens before I had time to be sure what they were.  I think at least one of them was a Peacock.  I soon found Large, Small and Green Veined White.  The field where I often find butterflies held only Large White today, but on leaving it I found a rather flighty Speckled Wood.  Willow Warblers sang.  At this point a guy who I have often seen around the patch approached and asked me what I had been trying to photograph.  The chat led onto all sorts about wildlife and our travels around various countries.  I never did get the photo of the Speckled Wood, but the other guy did get to see what I think was a new butterfly to him.  He, having just told me of fantastically large and colourful butterflies in India and such like, I’m not so sure he would have been that impressed.  Never the less the Speckled Wood Butterfly does show very well in the sunlight.  The guy continued his walk and I hung about for a bit.  It was a day to take one’s time and it paid off as I found a pair of Blackcap, as the Song Thrush took up song.  Surely Blackcap must be one species which is doing well.  I’ve seen so many this spring.

I decided to continue down the next phase of the wagon-way.  There was little about although I did pick out one Stock Dove and Linnet.  Along with more White species of Butterfly I found a Painted Lady Butterfly on the footpath.  This is a popular area for them and the area I watched them in large numbers two or three years ago during the very large influx of them into the UK.  I remember reading at the time that there was still some argument about their migration and whether or not they actually returned to North Africa or the population simply died.  It has since been found that they definitely do return and in fact they have the longer migration route than the American Monarch Butterfly.  Anyway this one took off as I approached, but was soon flying up and down over the foot path sussing me out before settling again in the exact same spot.  I quietly approached it ensuring my shadow did not cross it.  It allowed me to sit closely beside it.  It closed its wings and then flicked them open and shut several times before taking off, only to return again to the same position on the foot path.  Two more butterflies which may or may not have been Painted Lady Butterflies flew overhead in courtship flight.  I eventually carried on my walk and found that on my return the Painted Lady Butterfly was in the same position.  I made towards home and my dinner.

Painted Lady Butterfly

I was back out this evening to meet up with Sam at the lake.  We listened to the Sedge Warbler, of which we caught only a brief glimpse, and watched the Great Crested Grebe family.  The two youngsters were briefly on the water this evening.  The small reed-bed was showing a beautiful reflection on the water surface.  Common Terns fished close by us.  It was a wonderful evening and we walked around the larger lake.  Sam had seen the male Goosander earlier and I found it resting on the lakeside edge.  A fifth Great Crested Grebe was on the lake.  Chiffchaff was heard and Pied Wagtail flew frantically by the lakeside.  We bumped into the couple I had spoken to the other evening and we were shown photographs of the Great Crested Grebe and the life saving done in 2010.  The photographs had been taken by KH.  It had been a very nice way to end the day and the sun was still throwing down warmth as I headed for home.

The long staying Goosander which can fly but not too well.  It did disappear for a while and we wonder if this was the one that turned up at Big Waters recently.

Heavily cropped image of the Great Crested Grebes.  Unlike last year they have been difficult to photograph since they abandoned their first nest.  Perhaps not a bad thing that they are keeping their distance.  The light on the water was excellent this evening.