Monday, 19 August 2013

Raining Greenshanks

18th Aug.  I paid a late afternoon visit to Holywell Pond in the hopes of finding passage waders.  As I passed Backworth Pond flocks of Lapwing flew overhead.

On arrival at Holywell I found that the water had risen since my last visit perhaps making the scrape rather less appealing to waders, although I immediately found two Greenshanks showing well and they were soon joined by a third.  Definitely the bird of the moment in Northumberland.  One Dunlin fed amongst the Black Headed Gulls and later three Common Snipe appeared from the meadow and the evening light showed off their plumage at its best.  By the time I come to leave it was difficult to judge how many Common Snipe were actually present at the pond, as four flew together at the point, leaving one alone at the ponds edge and another on East Pond.  Single birds were seen in flight throughout the time I was there.

A hide with a view
Although the Greenshanks were flying between the main pond and East Pond, I found only one Common Snipe at East Pond when I took a walk down to look.

I found little from the members hide, although most of the Little Grebes were in this area.  The calls of juvenile Little Grebes in various stages of growth were with me all evening.  Numbers of Teal may now be starting to build up.

I ended the evening back at the public hide with only one Greenshank now visible.  I waited in hopes that more waders would fly in, but it didn’t happen this evening.  When I had left the house I thought I’d be far too hot in my coat, but I found I was glad to have taken it.  The wind at times gave a cool autumnal feel to the air.  I watched as rain cloud built up in the west and showers fell in the distance whilst the sun set giving a yellow rather than orange glow to the sky.  A single Grey Heron turned up as did three juvenile Pied Wagtails that bathed at the edge of the pond as the light dulled.  Swifts, Sand Martins, Swallows and House Martins fed over the pond, but in smaller numbers than on my previous visit.  There were no more waders seen, although Curlew was heard in the distance.  With the Common Terns apparently gone from the area long with most of the Pied Wagtails which had been about on my last visit, there was far less action in general this evening.  Still, there is plenty of time for passage waders to appear and I shall be back.

This scene was yet to be tarnished by the aroma of takeaway food
The wind got up again as I left and made for the village.  I smelt wood-smoke in the air giving more hints of autumn as I passed the line of houses.  The only birds moving now were the occasional hirundines and the Wood Pigeons disturbed by my passing by. The rain clouds were approaching although there was still clear blue sky down the coast line to the east.  I no sooner arrived at cover in the village when a cloud burst above me.  The rain was heavy, but not long lasting.  A rainbow lit up the sky and a rather watery sunlight lit up the building opposite.  A courting couple joined me in the shelter and ate their takeaway meal.  The aroma of the meal filled the surrounding air.  Happily I was soon on my way home.

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