Tag: cuckoo spit

Variety is the spice of life; Coastal safari 26/05/2014

by on May.28, 2014, under Birdwatching, Cheviot Valleys, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast

A brilliantly sunny Bank Holiday Monday is the only time you’re likely to encounter anything even remotely approaching crowds of people in Northumberland, but it does happen occasionally.

I collected Marcus, Alison, Norman (Grandad) and Isobel from their holiday cottage in the shadow of the Wandylaw wind farm, and we set off for a day wildlife-watching.  With it being such a sunny morning, I thought it would be worth starting with one of our trickier animals; if it’s too cold they won’t be out and about, if it’s too warm they’ll already have slithered off somewhere cooler, and if they feel the ground vibrate as you approach they’ll beat a hasty retreat.  We know just the spot to see them when everything falls into place though; a warm, bare, stony patch of earth surrounded by tall grass.  At first we couldn’t see any sign, but I crept through the vegetation for a closer look.  Two Adders weren’t keen on this, and quickly slithered away into the long grass.  The third one was much more obliging though, and I motioned for Isobel to come a bit closer.  Incredibly, the snake remained coiled, and settled, for a few minutes.  It eventually lifted it’s head to fix us with a baleful reptilian glare for another minute before following it’s companions into the vegetation and out of sight.

In the bright sunshine Kestrels hovered over roadside fields, Willow Warblers sang their silvery descending cadence, Chiffchaffs endlessly repeated their name, Chaffinches were proclaiming their territories (and Isobel had done a very impressive colouring of a Chaffinch picture), the scratchy rattle of Whitethroat song buzzed through the warm air, flotillas of goslings patrolled the water with their parents in close attendance and darting damselflies added a streak of azure to the lush green of the grass.  Down on the coast, dainty Avocets swept the water edge for morsels, Grey Plovers (probably my favourite wader, certainly when they’re in their summer finery) chased back and forth, Common andSandwich Terns roosted together, Fulmars rode the updraft of the warm breeze along the clifftops, Eiders were resplendent in the sunshine, and ‘wooly bear‘ caterpillars and cuckoo spitwere just the thing for a six year old to enjoy 🙂

Most entertaining though, judging by the giggling, was a Rook that was rummaging through a bag of rubbish and found what it seemed to consider a suitable food item.  That item was a (full) dog-poo bag…  So disgusting that I almost titled the blog after it 🙂

 

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