21st April. Sam and I took the chance to look at the Fulmars at close range again during another Holywell to St Mary’s Island walk. The tubenoses weren’t quite as cooperative as they had been last week when I visited alone. I picked up a couple of Fulmar feathers.
The coast was fairly quiet if you discount the human invasion and man’s best friend, his/her dogs. We did see my first of the year terns in the form of four Sandwich Terns feeding as they flew north past Seaton Sluice. There was also a lone Red Throated Diver on the sea. With an accompaniment of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and a male Reed Bunting perched on the fence we did hear and see both Common Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler near the shooting mounds. Another Grasshopper Warbler was heard as we passed by the wetland. I noted few hirundines today, although we did see a few Swallows and Sand Martins. The tide was well out and waders too were seen in only small numbers.
When we had started out there was a nice atmosphere at Holywell Pond, but no new species of note. We searched the area for Common Whitethroat, but found none. Again Linnets, Goldfinch and Reed Buntings were about the area. Both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler had been heard, and continued to be heard as we walked through the dene.
There was no show from the Dippers, but we did see Grey Wagtail and numerous Blackcaps, the latter species seeming to have paired up now and so being less frantic and therefore not showing so often. Both Nuthatch and Treecreeper showed well. A pair of Mallard were on the burn, Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard and tit species seen were Great, Coal, Blue and Long-tailed Tit. There was much song and activity from Wrens. Plants and insects were also grabbing the attention and both Sam and I saw our first Speckled Wood Butterfly of the season, along with Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterflies. The sun made for high temperatures in the dene, but there was a noticeable drop in temperature nearer the sea.
Small Tortoiseshell courtship
Ladybird (six spot)
Rare to have four good weather days over an Easter Holiday, so I’m pleased I was out to enjoy a couple of them. The rain has held off until today and is pouring down as I type which ought to guarantee that Mr and Ms UK put their clothes back on, and in many cases that can only be a good thing.