Saturday spent the whole day at Big Waters, the weather (once again) felt like Autumn. One of the Otters was out when we arrived (06.30) and was around for the next 4hrs. A couple of Greenshanks put in an appearance and paraded up and down the developing scrape for a short while. The Sparrowhawks made several appearances silencing the Feeding Station for 10 mins at a time.
The following photo is a bit strange. On the way out one of the guys spotted these marks on a tree and they went all the way up (at least 15ft) alternating about 1ft apart. Various knowledgeable guys have been consulted but only one conclusion has been reached so if anyone would like to chip in a thought please feel free to and see if it matches what the others think.
Sunday went for a drive round quite a few places as it was drizzling and had forgot to put a waterproof in the car. Places visited included Bothal, Longhirst Flash (only to find out it has now dissappeared behind a big comples? with 10-15ft mounds all around it), Newbiggin then a trip to Laverock Farm to stock up on bird food then headed onto Big Waters via Arcot. Keith (this weeks Bird of the Week Pic Winner Fame) was just leaving telling me the Greenshanks had already been and gone. Spotted a couple of juvenile Blackcaps and the Mother on the way in but camera was in bag protecing it from the constant drizzle. When I got there it was quiet for an hour then a Otter put in an appearance, another Greenshank turned up and a few more birders then several people shouted at the same time as 2 Otters bounded across the scrape. Camera of course was well out of reach. After a couple of hours headed to Lamesley, but on leaving Big Waters the Butterflies were out in their hundreds and the sun had put in an appearance at last, where there was a Ruff but right at the back of the Water Meadows. I wandered round the lanes for a while not spotting anything unusual but its just so full of life round there that you never get bored. Then thought an hour at Shibdon before heading home. Was I suprised when I got to the hide and there was standing room only. Quick enquiry as to what everyone was looking for and Spotted Crake was the answer and immediately seen. Great view through the scope along with 2 Adult and 2 Juvenile Water Rail, Green Shank, Green Sandpiper, 5 Little Egrets and a couple of Snipe thrown in for good measure. Overshot my 1hr by 2hrs then headed home an extremely happy chappy only to find on BirdGuides when I got home another Warbler that I had never heard of up at Druridge. A few pics from the day.
3 Gorgeous Whites sunning themselves and within eyesight I could see at least 50+ more
All Butterflies at Big Waters
Black Headed Gull mobbing the Otter or possible trying to steal its catch at Big Waters