Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Vol Solo

I'm free to do what I want any old time
 I'm free to choose what I please any old time
- Sep 6 1965 (Jagger/Richards)
 For much of the last five years our twins have been my most regular birding companions; from Atlas Tetrads in their buggy, through freezing winter yomps on the Newbiggin beaches and even the occasional twitch ( I wonder how many other four year olds can count White-throated Robin and Desert Wheatear on their lists?) they have kept me company. They've chased Med Gulls along the beach, flushed warblers from the hedges and often frustrated me with their refusal to ever, ever stay quiet. Equally I've watched as they stood in almost stunned silence watching a Robin singing a sub-song barely two feet from their faces and seen the joy in their faces, been astonished as they've called Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming in the distance (more than once) that have been beyond my impaired hearing.

I know that outside they are different, more relaxed, less prone to bickering, less likely to have the hissy fits you'd associate with kids of their age. I also believe they are more confident outdoors, more observant than perhaps they would have been and are as happy climbing trees, throwing stones and digging holes as they are watching the latest episode of Doctor Who. Today they started school and a half-decade of picnics from the boot of the car and sudden and unexpected journeys filled with bribes of chocolate buttons and cries of 'just five more minutes kids' comes to an end. We had fun.


So with new found freedom this morning I took myself off to Newbiggin. I didn't see much but I enjoyed the quiet and the warm sunshine and began to look forward to Autumn and hopefully a few birds. A quiet golf course produced a single roosting Bar-tailed Godwit. 
The Ash Lagoon banks yielded nothing, no migrants, it wasn't until the dog and I reached the beach that we found a migrant in the form of a single, smart-looking  Wheatear. Also at the north end was a single Rock Pipit and a rather bedraggled looking Dunlin. 

With time to spare we even managed a quick traverse of the Mound and first 'new plantation', plenty Chiffchaffs calling and a single Coal Tit. A few Speckled Woods lurking around the rides and a couple of dragons - a Common Darter and also a Migrant Hawker that perched up nicely for me at just the right moment.

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