In dire need of a break from thesis writing, yesterday I set off for Druridge Bay in search of a little wild respite. The proceeding three hours, mercifully, filled with no end of fantastic wildlife – just what the doctor ordered to cure my current mood.
Starting off at Cresswell Pond and the highlight here came in the form of three Spoonbill feeding on the flood just North of the causeway – always a nice species to see in the North. With these, two Avocets did their best to defend their rather small chicks from a marauding heron and a Grey Partridge wandered across the road in front of a passing car. The best of the rest at the pond coming in the form of two Common Sandpiper, a female Marsh Harrier and a Stock Dove trying and failing to blend in with the farmyard pigeons. A lone Wheatear was observed in the dunes as I made my way elsewhere.
Taking a leisurely wander South along the beach, the first thing that struck me upon arrival was the sheer number of terns feeding in the bay. Mostly Sandwich Tern, as is the norm here; though Common and Arctic were by no means scarce. A single Roseate feeding close in behind the breakers was a tad more surprising – not a bird to be scoffed at and only my second of the year! Also here, a large raft of perhaps eight hundred Common Scoter fed – diving and rising in perfect unison – and a pair of Summer plumage Red-Throated Diver were also seen. Add to these a good haul of Kittiwake, Gannet, Puffin, Guillemot and Shag, and things were looking rather positive by the time I reached Druridge Pools.
Plodding up to the Budge Screen where a cast of familiar local faces had assembled to ogle the visiting Pectoral Sandpiper, it wasn’t long before I laid eyes on the bird itself – namesake markings clearly visible as it fed in the glorious Summer sunshine. Alongside the vagrant, a selection of more regular waders were also seen, including a splendid Ruff, singles of each Wood and Green Sandpiper, one Whimbrel and fifty-eight Black-Tailed Godwit. Most of the latter still clad in their delightful, auburn garb. Waders aside, the rest of my time at Druridge was split between admiring the resident Little Owl perched in the usual spot along the farm wall, and photographing a few of the sites smaller residents: Five-spot Burnets, Blue-Tailed Damselflies and numerous Red Admirals providing a welcome touch of colour to conclude the trip.
Back home and another night of garden moth trapping turned up a few pleasant odds and ends. A female Ghost Moth and a dapper Buff Arches the stand our individuals of a catch that also included Purple Clay, Buff Ermine, Straw Dot, Light Emerald, Clay and Bright-line Brown-eye. The only new species for my slowly increasing garden list comprised three Yellow-spot Tortrix and a lone Single-dotted Wave.
Buff Ermine, Ghost Moth and Buff Arches