Cool grey skies were perfect for the long walks involved in completing my Atlas responsibilities today. With the wind from the north my chin felt like March rather than midsummer. With four timed tetrad visits planned I was expecting to do between 8-10km today probably the most I've done all summer, my hips would tell you it was more like 20km if they could talk tonight.
The first TTV turned up a juvenile Stonechat about 1km from where I had seen a pair in an adjacent square in May. That pair were still around when I covered the square later in the morning. The highlight of the 2nd square was a Cuckoo that came off the moor 10m ahead of me and flew across my path into nearby woodland. Common Buzzard and Kestrel were recorded in every square, often in the air together.
It was another raptor that provided the highlight of the day as I scanned around the trees surrounding Sweethope Lough a private fishing lake a white head turned some distance away on the western shore and I was lucky enough to have found the Osprey that has been reported intermittently this summer in the Sweethope/Colt Crag/Whittle Dene area. Far enough away for nothing more than a record shot it was still a delight to see and hopefully a sight that will become more and more regular as the Northumberland population increases.
It certainly offered a little compensation for the stream of emails I was getting involving Balearic & Cory's Shearwaters from the coast some 25miles east.