Closing in on two weeks that have seen me not venture much further than the back garden due to the durg not having had the obligatory full set of jabs. This morning I decided enough was enough and the risk of rabies or whatever else was probably reduced by the brief showers of the previous evening and as long as I avoided contact with other durgs and spotted any potential life threatening turds before the durg we would be OK ( I should highlight for Ashington readers that the turds in question aren't frog-like creatures they're dog droppings).
West of West Chevington the evidence of a return to the coastal hinterland for some species was visible this morning with several Curlews along with a mixed gull flock that contained just a single juvenile Black-headed Gull amongst the many adults perhaps highlighting an expected poor breeding season.
At East Chevington the North Pool was quiet, a group of 10(ish) drake Tufted Ducks in the centre of the pond containing a smart drake Scaup amongst them. Two Great Crested Grebes and some occasional acrobatics from bathing Common Terns the only other notes in my notebook.
I reached Druridge and the Budge Screen to find ADMc intently watching an adult Long-eared Owl that was hunting in the morning sun; it continued to hunt pretty much for the next twenty minutes almost always on show. Conversation overcame concentration but a movement in the south-east corner revealed a falcon with several hirundines in close attention and the characteristic jizz of the Hobby that has been patrolling various sites around Druridge Bay and just inland zipped into view. A short dash dragging the durg and we had headed it off at the gate as it passed almost over our heads moving south giving brief but close views. A scarce and pleasant tick to bring up 200 in Northumberland during the first six months of 2012 for me.
We parted company soon after and amid further heavy showers the durg and I headed to the North Blyth high tide wader roost to look for any early action from the car. Turnstones numbered 11 and there were probably 25 Oystercatchers but nothing to task the brain. Across the river the Herring & Lesser black -backed breeding sites on the large storage shed roofs look to have been almost all wiped out by last night's deluge. I found one Herring Gull that may have still been sitting on a nest but no other nest signs at all, presumably the volume of water running down the slopes has just washed the nests and contents off the roof completely (the only hope might be the centre roof where conceivably chicks could have been washed down into the centre and still surviving).