Sunday, January 13, 2013

It could be a little 'otter...

Out to Branton and Hedgeley Pits near Powburn on this fine calm morning with John.

A phone photo I'm afraid.
It was a frosty -1.5 according to the car, with a very light peppering of snow on hard surfaces. The ponds were very calm with lightly frozen margins that look like the whole surface would soon be covered if the recent weather forecasts are correct.

Quite a few ducks were present including a hundred or so Tufted. In this flock were a nice male Pochard, an all too scarce bird up here these days, and best of all two Scaup. A long way inland, I cant remember seeing one here before, though John assures me we have had one at some time.

In my notes they went down as a fw male and a female, but on checking the literature at home, both may have been females. They looked quite different, one having a blackish brown head and greyish brown body, but it did have a huge white blaze on the face, even bigger than the so-called female.An adult and imm female perhaps?

Anyway, they were both Scaup. Good enough.

A nice Kingfisher landed next to us briefly until it realised its mistake and flew off to cover, calling.

Over the road to Hedgeley, there were less birds but it still had some to count. The surprise here was a flock of 22 Curlew, already looking towards upland breeding areas. A stroll down to the river Till here had a Dipper fly downstream, calling and a Green Sandpiper upstream, again, calling for attention. An Otter had left its tracks in the soft wet sand on the stream edge not too long before our arrival...

A quickly scribbled Green Sand.

Back home, no new patch ticks this weekend, but the forecast for some snow and cold winds might shake things up a bit...

Otter tracks on the Till.


Joe said...


Just discovered your blog, great post, some of those drawings/paintings (can't tell which) are amazing. Will definitely check back here in the future

Stewart said...

Cheers Joe, they are a cross between drawings and paintings ;)

The Wessex Reiver said...

Love the otter tracks photo

Stewart said...

Cheers Andrew