Maybe it was yesterday's warm seasonal sunshine or perhaps it was the news that many of the movers and shakers of the birding media were surrounding me to the North and South. Whatever it was I got to about eight thirty last night and got itchy feet. There was only one thing for it, go and find a Tawny Owl, after all it was a calm night, little breeze and Tawny was conspicuous by it's absence from my county year list.
So I dug out my trusty Tawny Owl woodflute impersonator, jumped in the car and drove the mile and half to Bothal. I tried a few blows but all I got was silence so after twenty minutes or so I moved on.
At Longhirst Flash various Coot & Moorhen called and I did get a male Tawny after five minutes calling back to me from the wood. Some of you may know I have tinnitus, it's a hereditary condition that causes a constant ringing in my right ear and as a result a degenerative hearing loss. Now this means that trying to locate which wood the sound is coming from with one ear can be a little tricky. They say first impressions count, so god only knows what the people who drove down that country lane last night thought when they came across me in their headlights in the middle of the road, one hand cupped to ear as I turned circles on the spot wearing a pair of binoculars in the dark.
This morning I headed out about six fifteen and caught the sunrise. A quick hour along the coast at Druridge to scout for migrants. At Cresswell Pond NWT 45 Whooper Swan in a tight knit group head popped across a calm still pond with a hint of mist for atmospherics.
Further on at Druridge across from the Budge Screen the south pools look extremely good, whatever grazing regime that has been used this year has done the business. I haven't been here for a while (years) but it looks as good as it did in days of yore when Pacific Golden Plover and it's primary projection was the hot topic of hide conversation in the early Nineties. I found three Common Snipe this morning and suddenly realised they were my first of the year
On the way home I stopped at the River Lyne and had a quick trek over the dunes at the old gypsy camp looking for Wheatear. I disturbed a pair of Gadwall consorting with a pair of Shelduck just yards from the beach, a strange location for Gadwall I feel.