You would have to have been living under a rock not to have noticed we are having an exceptionally good year for Pallid Harrier records; almost so common you can pick one up at your local Aldi on a Monday. Rude not to take advantage especially with such seductive advertising as the images captured by Ian Forrest finder of the first Cleveland PH yesterday afternoon at Dormans Pool.
So whilst students still slept, Uncle Andy and I careered our way through cartfuls of commuters on the A1 to arrive on site just as the rain eased and the first rays of morning poked their way through the Petroplus pylons.
A short wait in the chilly wind until 07:57 when up pops our boy, takes a short flight across the pool to the accompanied 'oohs and ahhs' of the expectant small crowd before promptly dropping into the reeds on the west side of the pool for another hours kip, typical bloody youth!
A further hour or so later the rufous-toned Ruski upped and off for a bit of a saunter from one end of the reedbed to the other, briefly dropping onto a small island some 200m in front of us before sneaking off back for more zzzzs in the reeds. A good flypast allowed some good views and whilst my distant record shots don't stand comparison to the finders I was happy enough with a nice display of a super looking bird. Breakfast at Trattoria Saltholme before heading back north.
So with Pallid in the bag and bacon in the belly we gently chugged through the Tyne Tunnel and headed for one of the north's premier wildfowl paradises Marden Quarry. If I'm honest I didn't think the Lesser Scaup, found whilst I was in Portugal, had much going for it before we arrived given the assorted menagerie of plastic, deformed, hybrid wildfowl that it has chosen to keep company with, but I guess there is no accounting for taste.
After wandering around trying to avoid the one-legged begging Canada and its hybrid companion and chortling at the pristine looking Speckled Teal, we found the LS diving alone in the centre of the pond. During the few minutes we were there it appeared wary and stayed well away from the throng of it's cousins squabbling over little Izzy's grain that was being spread liberally around from the shore, choosing instead to dive repeatedly on its little lonesome and therefore displaying admirably 'wild' credentials....perhaps?