Had a brief visit to Teesside and North Yorkshire this weekend to catch up with family and pay a few flying visits to a few sites I don’t get to often.
First was a 15 minute stop off at RSPB Saltholme to try and see yellow wagtails and lo and behold 10 minutes yeilded four individuals, albeit three of them flying at 100mph in the vicious wind!
Next was a 90 min whizz around Coatham Marsh – my first visit for ore more. That yielded my first blue butterfly of the year – a very bright common blue. Again the wind didn’t help in trying to get a photo on the grasses that were constantly buffeted around. A little further round the marsh a second blue was no less elusive.
Another first for me this year were small heaths flitting around the pathways.
Lots of birds with chicks – Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Reed Bunting all with young families in tow, the dabchicks particularly high in the cute factor but sadly far to wary to allow any kind of approach.
I was half hoping that some of the ruddy duck that used to breed here may have escaped the cull, but sadly no sign of them – I fear I wont see them around again for a while.
An evening trip to Lockwood Beck for crossbills and osprey drew a blank on the former but did get a brief glimpse of an osprey while engrossed in trying to watch a pair of willow warblers that were dancing around us in the trees only a few feet away. Only a poor quality record shot to show for it :
This morning I had an early morning trek up to Danby Beacon and despite the drizzle managed to see a pair of golden plover with two enchanting chicks – looking like golden cotton-wool balls on stilts! There was also an abundance of Jackdaws – more than I’ve ever seen there before – perhaps they were all just gathered together in the rain.
Oh and I should also mention the rogue pea-hen that seems to have taken up residence in my parents’ garden and is now bullying poor Tiggsy the cat !
Pea-hen : an unusual garden visitor
Birds seen : Mallard, Shoveller, Coot, Moorhen, Little grebe, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Reed Bunting, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Black Headed Gull, Grey Heron, Collared Dove, Osprey, Willow Warbler, Cormorant, Yellow Wagtail, Common Tern, Wheatear, Golden Plover, Curlew, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch
Butterflies seen : Common blue, small heath, large white, small tortoisheshell