Sunday, 1 September 2013

Feeling Mellow

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Courtesy of John Keat’s

Aug 31st.  I was feeling mellow as the crowds of the afternoon had dispersed from the area around St Mary’s Island and as Sam and I watched the waders and gulls.  The evening light duller now and the breeze more biting than it has felt for sometime.  Autumn is almost upon us.  The quietness of the evening was slightly tainted by the approaching curses of a group of foul mouthed females of the moronic type, more to be pitied than despised I suppose, but definitely best ignored, as such attention seeking nuisance makers soon pass by when  attention is not forthcoming.  I couldn’t help wonder what evolution had in store for these pathetic creatures once they reach adulthood!  The waders were far more interesting and entertaining and those seen today were Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Curlew.

We wondered if the pale phased Arctic Skua that flew south was the same one that we had watched from the Tower Hide at Seaton Sluice, and which was flying north.  It had landed on the sea just slightly north of the hide and fairly close to shore, thus giving a fine sighting.  We also tracked four Manx Shearwaters flying south in a small group.  Sam had managed to find at least another two Manx Shearwaters.  There had been a surprisingly high number of Fulmar flying along the cliff edge and also out at sea.  On occasions they had flown very closely to the hide.  Large numbers of Gannet were flying north and south and we watched as they dived on occasions.  Three dark phase Arctic Skuas flew south.  Gulls, including Kittiwakes, Guillemot, Sandwich Terns and the usual Eider Ducks made up the rest of the list from an hours sea watch.

The sea watch had followed our fish and chip teatime stop.  The walk through the dene had perhaps been as quiet as I have ever found it.  A Redshank high up the burn had entertained us as it searched for food in an area that appeared to be providing plenty of prey.  The bird had been so intent on feeding it appeared not to be phased by our presence and that of other passers by one bit.  A single Red Admiral Butterfly had been found on the footpath and numbers of Speckled Wood Butterflies had been seen again.  A look for odonata brought only one Common Darter.

A well fed Redshank
At an early stage of our walk from Holywell we had found a Southern Hawker Dragonfly near the pond and several Wall Brown Butterflies.  Our hoped for waders at the pond did not materialise and apart from the flock of Greylag Geese this area had been very quiet too today.  We did bump into BB (Northumbrian Birder) walking in the opposite direction to ourselves.

August has been a very rewarding month.  Waders (especially Green Sandpipers and Greenshanks), butterflies, the Great Crested Grebe family on patch and warm summer evenings have been the highlights.  When Sam and I arrived back home the light was fading fast and we were already talking about autumn and winter birding, without doubt our favourite period of the year for this pursuit.

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