I was on the A1 whilst the sun was still little more than a promise in the eastern sky this morning. I had a time limit as J is at the age where school football has kicked in and he had a match at 09:30. Thirty minutes north, my destination Black Lough south west of Alnwick to see if lightening could perhaps strike twice and I could find myself a Great Grey Shrike. The time spent on a fresh March morning last year with the GGS found up there was one of the highlights of the year for me and had me fired up for months afterward. This morning in keeping with my blog title there was little grey just some white on the Black Lough. The last of of some of winter's whiteness had spent the night and their deep calls contrasted sharply with the sharp, clear crispness of the overhead Skylark.
Whooper Swan, Black Lough, Northumberland
Three Common Buzzard surprised me by soaring almost continually for 30-40 minutes, I always believed that they were late risers waiting for the air to warm a little. A Roe Deer fed on the fringes of the lough, steady passage and songflighting Meadow Pipit were obvious all morning. Never confiding and with almost no cover I struggled to get near any for good images. There will be better days when they are settled.
The walk back down was uneventful other than the Whoopers overflying me and heading north at about 07:50. leaving just as the last of winter will in the next few days.
Cheviot, the last of the winter snow.
With an hour left I headed for the coast, first stop the dunes between Hauxley & Amble to look for migrants. Zip, though a few seconds after I crested the top of a dune I noticed all the gulls and waders taking flight, given that I was 250m away I looked for another culprit and sure enough a female Peregrine moved up the beach, perhaps it too noticing the plentiful supply of Pipits. A small group of Dunlin fed at a flash pool along with two Common Ringed Plover.
Next stop Druridge Pools or at least the entrance, a male Black Redstart obliged by still hanging around for its third day. A posse of Northern Wheatear (five) represented my first self found spring migrant.
A last stop at Lynemouth Flash produced several Pied Wagtail and a male White Wagtail to blend my black and white theme into one bird.