Friday, 2 September 2016

Druridge Dragons, Butterflies and Birds

1st Sept.  At last, a local trip to one of my favourite areas in Northumberland.  Lee and I spent a few hours between Cresswell and Druridge Pools after cancelling a proposed trip to Low Newton.  We made a good decision.

Avocet juveniles 

Avocet juvenile

Two species seen regularly in the area now reflect very much the ever changing bird population of Northumberland and we watched them at Cresswell Pond today.  I’ve never seen so many Little Egrets (14, there may have been 15 as one was seen later feeding alone and well hidden in the pool just south of Cresswell pond) in Northumberland before, although I was well aware of the influx of these birds in recent weeks.  The other species was of course the Avocets that have successfully bred again and that allowed ample opportunity for close up photography.  There was almost as many Grey Herons as there was Little Egrets around the pond and four Greenshanks were also found, as were a small number of Black-tailed Godwits and a lone Common Sandpiper.

Little Egret

Little Egret and Greenshank
We moved along to Druridge Pools where the sun had brought out numbers of butterflies along the path to the hides.  The first sight that we picked up wasn’t a butterfly, but a pair of mating Common Darter Dragonflies in the wheel position.  Dragonflies are wonderful creatures and there were numbers of Common Darters today.  From the movement of the male’s head it appeared that it was keeping a close eye on me as I took the photographs, but there was no way the wheel was going to break.  In true Blue Peter fashion Lee showed me an image he had taken earlier and I include it here.  We think it s a dragonfly larvae, but would be pleased if anyone can identify it as I’m non too sure having looked at my book.

Common Darter

Any ideas?

 Butterflies along the pathway were Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood in numbers, Painted Ladies (we saw at least three), Peacock and Wall Brown.  Over the past week or so I’ve had numbers of butterflies in the garden back home and these have been Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Peacock and Red Admiral.  Also, on a rather damp and dull day last week I counted numbers of Willow Warblers moving through the hedges at the bottom of the garden.

Painted Lady Butterfly 

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Peacock Butterfly 

Wall Brown Butterfly 

Sml White Butterfly

Once in the hide and looking towards the sun I soon picked up the head and bill of the Great White Egret at distance and mostly hidden from view in the tall grasses and reeds.  We’d been advised that we would get a better view from the open hide down the road and having had a bite to eat we did get a good sighting from that point as the Great White Egret had moved into the open.  We saw our first Curlew Sandpipers of the day at the pools too along with a long distant sighting of Little Owl seen more closely later.

Great White Egret 

Little Owl

With time at a premium we skipped a visit to Amble, but instead returned to Cresswell Pond.  As we approached the pond a Common Snipe lifted from the area that the lone Little Egret had been feeding.  As flocks of Lapwing, Curlew and Redshank began to fly in we picked up a lone Golden Plover which was losing summer plumage, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and at the end of the spit two more Curlew Sandpipers.  As always there was a nice atmosphere as the shower of rain passed over.  There had been a number of birders out today and we’d enjoyed the chat, but equally now enjoyed the peace and quiet of the hide which we had to ourselves in a great part of Northumberland.

Druridge Pools


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