Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pied Twice

The pool by the footpath always causes me to stop, surprisingly deep, still and dark. I lean over to see me twenty odd years ago looking back from the reflection five feet below. My stare is only broken by the skimmer gently rowing across the surface, catching my eye and dragging it towards the sliver of silver falling like poured wine over the almost fluorescent green moss covered rocks. Around me fern fronds gently unfurl, a tangle of Honeysuckle spills out from a path-side tree, everywhere lies fallen wood, some branches recently fallen, perhaps victims of the winter, some that have lain, decaying, since I first set foot here as a bright young thing.

 I don't know why I looked to my right, sometimes you just do, the Tawny Owl motionless atop the small nestbox didn't look the least bit surprised to see me. I turned slowly away and unzipped the camera bag, then turned back to an empty nestbox. After gingerly crossing the muddy floor of the narrow steep sided wood I climbed the footpath on the other side. Up ahead a Pied Flycatcher sang, one of the reasons I had come down to this particular wood. As the morning wore on I saw several, males and females but they were never easy; the males mostly in the canopy and the leaf cover ensuring snatched views. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard and seen briefly; a Redstart sang from almost the exact same place as one had done last year on my last trip here. From up high looking down I watched a Roe Deer completely unaware of me 30m up above way out of its line of sight. Nuthatch put in a brief appearance, only Wood Warbler missing really.
Female Pied Flycatcher showing typical female behaviour showing off the ring.

Later in the morning as it approached lunchtime I moved a mile or two west to a vantage overlooking the Tyne Valley and started looking for raptors; I say raptors but Osprey, Honey Buzzard and Hobby were the species uppermost in my mind. Admitting to actually looking for Honey Buzzard in Northumberland is akin to admitting a belief in aliens up here, I've never seen an inland Honey Buzzard in Northumberland. The frequent steady showers ensured that that particular status quo exists still.

The hunger built I stopped at a small shop in a village on the way back and bought a seven-sided pie for 95p; I may be getting older but I'm still living dangerously eh. No idea of the contents at the time of purchase it turned out to be Pork, but stuffed so full Mark Reeder would have written a whole post about it, superb value for money and with a Creme Egg for afters lunch was done.

A short stop at Whittle Dene produced little worthy of note, displaying Great Crested Grebes, three Ringed Plovers and a Grey Wagtail.


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