Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Mind your Bs and Qs

Needed to go to B&Q today so took the opportunity to make a first visit of 2015 to Shibdon Pond. As usual here the expectation was far in excess of reality, a host of gulls but nothing out of the ordinary, a dozen or so redshank and a couple of oiks were the sum total of waders, and the ducks were practically non-existent bar a couple of shelduck and a few teal.

It was bright, but the hide was still freezing, I took some shots of the assembled throng but not many worthy of showing :

Redshank showed well

Then there were three

LBB Gull almost landed on top of another

But didn't

Herring Gull got me a bit excited as it seemed to have
yellow legs as it thrashed about in the water.

But at rest it looked an ordinary herring gull

A pair of mute swans came in from the right

and veered round to pass again from the left

And an assortment of BH Gulls in various stages of attire

Rob (gatesheadandbeyond) came in, fresh from a fruitless search for a reported Rose-coloured Starling at Swalwell, but it was good to catch up as I hadn't seen him in a while.

I took a couple of detours on the way to B&Q and back to look for the alleged Rosy, but I couldn't even find a common starling never mind something rarer.
With a walk along the river to Winlaton Mill I hoped to find a grey wagtail and dipper to photograph, and Haghill came up trumps with a cracking male grey wag on the opposite riverbank, and a pair of dippers foraging for nesting material which I watched them taking into their nesthole.
Unfortunately this coincided with a dull cloudy period so I didn't even bother getting the camera out. Nice to see all the same.

Other signs of spring today were my first butterfly while waiting for the bus, I couldn't identify it as it flitted about but it was a dull orange/brown colour and looked worn, possibly a comma.
Two honey bees were seen in a patch of purple flowers (?) and at home a 7-spot ladybird was on the back fence. 
Also seen was our local red kite WT6 with a beak full of nesting materials when he landed on a house roof opposite, so spring is certainly in the air, though you wouldn't think it sitting in Shibdon hide.   

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