23rd Oct. Circumstances of late have meant that I have made few visits to Holywell or any other of my usual haunts for sometime. So don’t get excited, as the rarity I refer to is myself. I understand that a rarity in the shape of a Red Squirrel has been seen in the dene recently. Apparently the first one in twenty years. I hope to get the blog back into shape in the future and to get myself out onto patch (I can’t remember the last time I did a full circle of the patch and got out onto the wagon-ways). Difficult times can be made a little easier if you know you have friends around and I was out with the best of mine today.
I was feeling warm as Sam and I approached Holywell Pond and flocks of Greylag Geese flew across and landed in the fields to the south of the pond. They were accompanied here by a large flock of Canada Geese.
The pond itself held numbers of Wigeon numbering around sixty birds. Also seen here were Little Grebes, Mute Swan, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck and a single female Goldeneye. Sam’s keen eye picked up a Common Snipe well hidden at the edge of the reed-bed. A Grey Heron stood sentinel like on the island. Lapwings were on the mud and also in flight over the pond. The fields around the area held numbers of Meadow Pipits which I think were probably on the move. We’d picked the first one up on the wires in the village.
By the time we’d crossed the fields and entered the dene I was feeling even warmer as the mottled sunlight shone on the burn through autumnal trees. This really is a pleasant area at this time of year. I t was unusually quiet for such a fine day and even the Dipper was relaxed. The highlight of the day was watching this Dipper, its shape reflected in the burn whilst it stood motionless amongst colourful fallen leaves on the rocks. It would have made a stunning photographic image, but to have got this would have at least meant disturbance and our priority is to watch and grab the images with the camera only when appropriate. Unusually, so relaxed was this bird that we saw no dipping at all. Sam did pick up calling and therefore there was likely to be another bird nearby. The scene was added to as a Grey Wagtail flew up from the burn and a Speckled Wood Butterfly flew across in front of us. Well, you don’t always need photographic images to paint a scene as words can do so too. Stock Doves were about the area.
By the time we reached Seaton Sluice I wasn’t just warm, I was dripping in perspiration. We cooled off over cans of coke and a fish and chip lunch.
From the headland we saw Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter and Eider Ducks. Oystercatchers and Turnstones were on the few remaining rocks left uncovered by the high tide. We walked on until we reached St Mary’s Island and ended the day lying on the beach. No, I hadn’t finally give into the heat as in fact I was a lot cooler by now, although the sun still shone when not covered by ominous leaden grey cloud. We were photographing waders. For once we had South Bay to ourselves as we braved the high tide and timed our move to avoid getting the feet wet at the bottom of the steps. There had been numbers of Rock Pipits around today and a few Pied Wagtails. Waders seen had been Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew.