Walking up the hill to the car after school, he returned to the subject, badgering me, "Where do you want to go?" I asked expecting any one of several indoor venues that he is familar with only to be surprised by the quick fire response "the beach..." His sister adding enthusiastic approval for the idea.
So we followed the lines of gulls making their daily journey back to the sea to roost and ended this afternoon on the beach as dusk approached, the kids doing the things kids do at the beach (including counting the Redshank roost!) and me picking out an adult Med Gull flying south amongst one of several small flocks of Black-headed Gulls heading that way to wherever they roost. A few minutes later we drove slowly along the coast road peering into the gloom to be rewarded with a 150m fly-along from one of the local Barn Owls much to the obvious delight of both.
I recount this because I'm feeling pleased with myself/them, maybe, just maybe, that connection that seems to be missing for so many is there with these two. That they feel a need to be outdoors, regardless of weather, light and other distractions gives me a real sense that the last five years of dragging them around here, there and everywhere in search of birds hasn't been an entirely selfish exercise and had a point for them as well as me. Time will tell for sure.
Earlier today I had a wander around East Chevington, an obvious increase in wildfowl since I last visited though numbers are still low in comparison to previous years in my opinion. The long-staying Slavonian Grebe was still to be found in the top north-west corner and two female/immature Long-tailed Ducks swam together along the northern edge. Five Whooper Swans flew over south and a further six were on the north pool.
Elsewhere a further 4 Whoopers could be seen at the old flash at Widdrington Moor and I finally had some flyover Pink-feet at Newbiggin. The big field north of Hemscott Hill held a mix of Lapwing and Golden Plover totalling over 330 between them though they were well spread.