Monday, 21 July 2014

Balmy Druridge Bay Evening

20th June.  When Lee called to ask about a visit to Cresswell and Druridge Pools this evening I didn’t take much persuasion.  A call to Sam and all was arranged.  By the time 6:30pm came around we were on our way and wondering if it was going to rain.  The cloud dispersed leaving a fine warm and sunny summer evening in front of us.  Lee had been up to Druridge Pools a few days previous and had found it more than interesting, but we decided to stop at Creswell pond on the way, and as it happens that was just as well.

Spoonbill.  As with all the images here, strictly record images.

 We passed the usual Tree Sparrows along the path to the pond and I got my eye on two Spoonbills before entering the hide.  We watched the Spoonbills at distance before they flew down close to the mud area right of the hide giving great sightings in the bright clear sunlight.  It wasn’t just Spoonbills that caught the eye, as there were four Little Egrets present on or near the mud bank and of course the Avocets with three young.  The youngsters now a good size, but the parent birds were still being protective of their territory.  Ringed Plovers were on the mud bank and at least one Little Ringed Plover was amongst them with young.  Common Snipe showed themselves well on occasions as did the Dunlin which flew in to join them and there were also at least two Common Sandpipers present, but there was no sign of the Green Sandpipers which had been reported.  Both Reed Warblers and Sedge Warbler were showing well in the reeds close to the hide and on one occasion whilst I watched the Spoonbills a Yellow Wagtail flew behind them into the reeds.  This was the only Yellow Wagtail that I saw this evening, amongst the many Pied Wagtails.  It felt rather like ‘continental birding’ in the sunshine and warmth and Sam commented that it was like being back on the Little Hortobagy.  Well, perhaps not quite, but I knew what he meant.

A bloke entered the hide and I asked if he was able to identify the Little Ringed Plovers.  I heard him ask ‘how’s Brian’ and after a few seconds I realised that I was sitting next to Sedgedunum Birder.  Sorry I didn’t recognise you immediately John.  I think it must be because you look younger every time I see you. :-)  It must be all of the early morning air having such a good effect.

A Ruff was found on the west side of the pond and gave a decent scope sighting whilst Shelduck was also on the mud bank.  Sam pointed out two female Goldeneye at the north end of the pond which weren’t easy to distinguish in the bright sunlight.  After spending some good quality time in the hide we headed for the north end of the pond hoping to pick up more Yellow Wagtails.  We found only numbers of Pied Wagtail.  Arctic Tern was also seen here and Sam took the opportunity of getting a better image of the Spoonbills and an image of numbers of Dunlin north of the causeway.  The Dunlin weren’t disturbed at all until the cattle decided to walk down towards us and see what was going on.


Little Egret
So off we went to Druridge Pools.  Before walking down to the hides we took a look over the sea.  By now the warmth of the day was fading a little and mist was gathering in patches on the land causing a very nice atmosphere about the place.  As we set off to walk through the dunes, Lee pointed out a Barn Owl flying north through the dunes towards us.  Unfortunately it was mobbed by crows and flew off in the direction of the pools.  A juvenile Stonechat was found in the dunes (same area where breeding took place in 2013) along with Meadow Pipit.

The sea was calm but pretty unrewarding in terms of sightings, although to be fair we didn’t give much time to a sea watch as by now we were losing the light.  We did pick up the rafts of Common Scoter, the odd Gannet, Guillemot and many terns and gulls.  We spoke to someone later who had been sea watching and he confirmed all had been quiet.  Most of the excitement was at Cresswell Pond tonight, but the pools did throw up another lone Little Egret and a party of seven Common Sandpipers!  A pair of Great Crested Grebes has left it very late to begin building a floating nest structure and mating. 

Sun goes down at Druridge

 Sam had gone of in search of the Barn Owl and when we rejoined him he had found it and it was perched on one of the buildings in the dunes for a short time before flying off northwards.  Soon afterwards a Barn Owl approached us from the south and flew along the tree line so we are confident that we saw a pair hunting tonight.

As we drove home we found a Kestrel.  It had been one of those special summer evenings in the Druridge Bay area and we left well pleased with our tally of fifty-six species picked out in such a short space of time.  We had watched from Druridge Pools as a fiery sun went down   Thanks to Lee for the thought about going up there and the driving.  I’m certain this evening will appear in my year end highlights.


  1. Nice to see and read about you getting out and about again Brian. I'm going to start stalking you if you a going to come out with those complimentary comments about "looking younger". The only thing i can think is that i had forgotten my headgear and you are more used to seeing me with one on. I had regretted forgetting it in the heat of the day earlier.
    Early morning and eveniings are the best time of the day in summer. Not only are the temps better but that all important light is usually superb. It transforms images.
    As i said nice bumping into you, i had to drag myself away even though i had already had over ten hours up the coast.

    1. Aye, must be the hat John.:-)
      Couldn't agree more about early mornings and evening. Best atmosphere all round then. Cheers.