Sunday, August 24, 2014

Far from the Madding Crowd...

Druridge Pools Track
This mornings itinerary was made simply to avoid the Great North Bike Race. Each August Bank Holiday thousands of cyclists fill our roads between Seahouses and Tynemouth. Churlish as it may seem, as it is for charity and all that, the whole bloody thing gets on my wick. Drivers are told to have 'respect' for the masses, but this doesn't seem to be reciprocated. They fling their complimentary water bottles onto the roadside, they urinate in rural driveways and I have even faced verbal abuse from them for no reason what so ever! So, every recent August Bank Hol since then, I ensure that I avoid the route at all costs and we can all be happy.

Ahead of the flow, I started off well south this morning at Druridge Pools for an hour. Waders were in short supply with little of note other than a Ruff on the Budge Fields, but local migrant passerines were everywhere, feeding up before the big push. In the patch of brambles above and along the track were 6+  Common Whitethroat, 4+ Blackcap, 10+ Willow /Chiffs and a single Reed Warbler. A Swift flew overhead with three species of hirundines.

On the pool, Mallard were the wildfowl min largest numbers but there were a few Gadwall and Tufted Duck too. 8 Little Grebes were next to the Oddie Hide. Best of all, was anice family party of at least 4 Yellow Wagtails feeding on the pool edge. The juvs had a funny 'bluethroat' look about them...

Not a Bluethroat  
As time was getting on and I didn't want the hordes of hades heading me off, I drifted west, slightly, and checked out an old stomping ground near Stobswood Tip. The walk down the track was quiet, calm  and warm in the early autumn sun. The only sound to break the silence was the 'seeping' of Meadow Pipits over head and warbler contact calls in the scrub. Blackberries and rosehips were ripening and everything felt 'golden'. Warblers flitted ahead of me as earlier, the best being a Lesser Whitethroat, that was very tricky to get views of.

Lesser Whitethroat
Wild Carrot
Wild Carrot
Next was a short stop at the new Stobswood scrapes. A Greenshank and 100+ Teal were added to the notes.

The final avoidance tactic was to get back north on the A1. This called for a detour via Corby Crags for dragonflies.

Heather in all its glory.

 10+ Black Darters were on the wing but keeping low in cover as it was quite cool up here. A couple of Red Admirals were on the heather and some russula and Brown Roll Rim fungi emerging under the pines.

Thanks to the glorious weather, an excellent morning was had - without the Tour de France!

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