Monday, 6 April 2015

Butterflies in the Sun to Avocets in the Mist

5th April.  At last I saw my first butterfly of the year, as a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly flew over the garden as I left the house.  Good at last to have some real sun and warmth.  I made for my favourite butterfly area on patch and was soon watching numbers of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterflies, all quite flighty so I didn’t have time to get macro images.  I then walked across to the lake and found that five Great Crested Grebes remain and I got speaking to a guy who was visiting the lake from south of the River Tyne.  The patch has now got its share of Chiffchaffs, but I found no Sand Martins which are later than last year.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly on Daffodil
6th April.  Marie and I set off in the sun and headed for Cresswell.  After hearing so much about the high water levels here I didn’t expect to see much.  I didn’t see much as it happens, but it had little to do with high water levels (the levels weren’t that high, with the sand bank to the right of the hide showing well), but everything to do with the thick mist we had found ourselves in.  The pond was barely visible.  I noted that eleven Avocets had been seen earlier in the morning and understand that the mist had descended after a clear start to the day.  After watching Reed Buntings, Shelduck, Mallard, Curlew, Redshank and a Little Egret which was deep into the mist we decided to try the north end of the pond.  Numbers of Tree Sparrows were visiting the feeders and also on the roof of the buildings.  This was where we managed to have very good sightings of eight Avocets.  After spending some time watching these birds we decided that as there was little sign of the mist burning off it would be best to head back south and visit Holywell thus taking in two of my favourite areas.  So our plan to travel further north was abandoned.

Tree Sparrow looking out at mist

 On the way to the members hide we found numbers of Greylag Geese in the west field.  The pond itself was very quiet.  Birds seen included Little Grebe which seemed to be displaying, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and more Reed Buntings.  Skylarks sang as we walked down towards the dene having chatted to CS.  Good to see him on patch.  At least the sun was shining on us again and a few Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen.  I’d almost forgotten it was Easter Monday, but I got a sharp reminder when I found The Avenue and dene full of folk, almost as many dogs and cycles.  Perhaps not surprisingly there were few birds about, although I heard Nuthatch.

On arrival back home it was like a summer’s day.  Despite mist at the first stop and folk enjoying their holiday break, I’d enjoyed the day.  I have to admit I prefer attempting to watch birds in the mist and listening to the calls in an atmospheric area, far more than attempting to watch birds surrounded by people and their pets.


  1. Yeah i heard it was very misty at Creswell.Was a glorious day in Gosforth reserve,peacocks,tortoiseshells,lots of toads,chiff chaff and my first shot of a Green Woodpecker.

    1. As we left Killingworth I was reminiscing about childhood trips to the coast and saying that you often left warm sunny conditions at home to find yourself in mist at Whitley Bay, and going on to say that we just don't seem to get such misty conditions these days. A few minutes later we were in thick mist! There was a blanket of mist right down the coastline. Cheers.