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.


  1. I certainly remember Ivan Mauger riding for the Diamonds.
    Ole Olsen was another and I remember Barry Briggs riding against Newcastle. Standing by the pits for a rip off being thrown to the crowd and the smell.

  2. Thanks for the link John. Oh yes the smell is unforgettable. I've never been to the speedway since my teens, but would never miss a Monday night back then what ever the weather. I remember the Sputniks recording of Telstar blasting out over the speakers. I have all the autographs still, including Ivan's. He went many months without been beaten in a race at Brough Park until one evening his engine gave up. Brian Craven was the star before Ivan Mauger and Brian's brother Peter was another world champ who you will probably remember was killed on the track. Barry Briggs I seem to remember road for Bellvue and another great was Ivor Brown who road for Cradley Heath. I still have all my programmes. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.:-) I think I ought to return one evening.

  3. Correction to the above for all you speedway lovers. It was of course Peter Craven who road for Bellvue, and apparently they still honour his memory each year. Barry Briggs road for several British teams, including during the time I watched, Swindon.
    I note that in the early 1960s Peter Craven road in the World Championship in London in front of a crowd of 62,000! They'd never get that for a Speedway Championship these days. Anyway good to see Ivan and Barry still on the go. Barry is now 79 years of age.
    Diamonds are Forever!