Tuesday, April 02, 2024


 Not a bad Bank Holiday weekend weather wise. Well, 75% was ok, Monday was a wet and windy write off.

Friday was Good in more ways than one. 

At 0710 Ben Steel reported a Great White Egret in off the sea a few miles north of us at Dunstanburgh Castle, but more crucially it was now heading south, over Craster.

Thinking I'd be too late, I grabbed the dog and the bins and headed up the road. 

By 0715 I was on the coast road scanning south as I was convinced the bird would have been past us by now. No sign. Then a look north saw a couple walking their dog towards me and there above them an angel-like apparition glowing in the low morning sunshine. The Great White Egret was slower than anticipated due to the moderately strong head wind it was flying in to. It passed low over the dog walkers who saw me watching, so I pointed to the bird. By now they were only 20 mtrs from me so I said Egret. They seemed quite impressed at the big birds beauty as it majestically passed over us on route south, so I explained what it was and a bit about them. Id like to think I educated in a small way.

I was pleased to have seen it, only my 2nd patch record after a bird on the pond in 2013. These might be on every puddle further south but in my corner of North Northumberland they are still a big deal.

Back home for breakfast, around 0830, I decided to take Peggy for the rest of her morning walk along to the pond field. As we arrived, I could see a large white 'umbrella' standing in the far corner. The Egret had Landed!

This site gets busy on fine days so there was no way this bird would linger here, the track walked right past it. So poor Peggy was marched home again so I could get the camera. As time was of the essence, I took the car along to the pond and walked back along the track. Luckily the bird remained for 5 mins, long enough for a few shots to record the event before it flew off in a SE direction not to be reported again.

Nice start to spring.

Saturday was spent doing some gardening and the first grass cut of the year. While pottering around, the first Hairy footed Flower Bee was dashing around while 5 Brown Hares were in the Rectory Paddock.

On a fine Sunday morning JWR and me stocked up on Greggs Vegan Sausage Rolls and cakes (Chocolate Eclair for me, Pach Melba for John) then headed on to the moors. We were greeted by bubbling displaying Curlews, Stonechat and 30+ Brambling still hanging around from the big flock.

A lovely conditioned orange Fox was really taking its life in its hands at this heavily keepered and hunted site. Without a doubt its days are numbered.

We had a wander up the old railway line near Lemmington where there was a good show of the 'wild' Daffodils Narcissus pseudonarcissus .

As the morning warmed, after breakfast we went up to our site for Orange Underwing, a rare, day flying, spring, moth in the county. I've not seen one for about 5 years, mainly due to poor weather in this crucial 4 week period but today seemed promising.

As it turned out, it was! Just not for me. John called from a few metres away to say he had one. As is their way it fluttered along a line of trees vanishing as I got to the spot. At least its good news they are still here for another day. Maybe next weekend when the weather is warmer we'll have another look. I'd love to get a photo of one.

Also seen, Woodcock, Buzzard and Peacock butterfly.

Finally, to put the icing on the cake, back home in the afternoon the sun shone and it was sheltered in the garden. A lovely Holly Blue butterfly showed on three occasions both back and front of the house, but it was too flighty to get a photo. Still its my first in March and about 3 weeks earlier than the previous earliest here. A very welcome sight.

Also more Hairy footed Flower Bees, Early Bumblebee and Tawny mining Bee were all good to get.


Above - Orange Underwing site, with the view west.




The Wessex Reiver said...

Great spot the GWE on your patch - as you say here down south they're so common no one notices them any more. I read Ham wall had last week in one location Little, Great White, Glossy Ibis, cattle egret, bittern, common crane, swallow, 300 sand martin and Egyptian goose (although as the date of the blog was 29.04.2024 it may have been an April Fool). Weirdly at home I've a Cetti's warbler starting the dawn chorus each morning, no reed beds near us but rhynes stopped with ancient ash hedges. it's in there. Not a bad garden tick. Nice to see the view from Lemmington, even after all these years I miss living at Titlington. PS: Sorry to hear about your loss in the previous post.

Stewart said...

Cheers Andrew. Yes that Ham Wall sounds an amazing area now, just shows what can be done. Cetti's is excellent, Im hoping for one one day on my small patch pond, habitat looks ok with bulrush and willows though no phragmites.