Thinking I might get them again as I made my way around the top of the loop I was a bit disappointed, they were nowhere to be seen. I did relocate one in the helicopter field but even as I watched, it flew up and over the trees out of sight. They had stopped to refuel for no more than a couple of minutes, then continued on to the moors no doubt.
I realised I'd been incredibly fortunate with my timing, they flew in and set down all around me, anywhere else and I would have missed them and been none the wiser. Also as my first of the year (in fact probably my first for about three years) I was well happy with having such close and unobstructed views.
|Invasion of the white-arses - one on the post . . .|
|one in the bush . . .|
|one on the paddock . .|
|one in a tree . . .|
|and one on the fence. Didn't manage to photograph all of them.|
My morning walk had began with the sight of a dead mole along the Fellside Road, upside-down on the footpath I've no idea how it came to be there.
Then fairly uneventful until I reached the Tanfield Railway path, when excellent views of a Common Whitethroat (camera still in bag, as ever) were quickly followed by a reeling Grasshopper Warbler. Now my elderly lug-holes don't pick up this sound unless really close by, this one must have been coming from the brambles down the nearside slopes but despite a lengthy reel I was no nearer pinning it down when it stopped.
On the moor, more whitethroats, numerous willow-chiffs and blackcaps, a flyover snipe which landed and disappeared into thick cover around one of the ponds, greylag geese, red-legged partridges, bubbling curlew, lapwing, linnets, meadow pipits, skylarks, reed-buntings galore, 5 swallows, a sand martin, and hunting kestrel.
A couple of hares chasing around but my hopes of seeing them box disappeared when they quickly parted company.
|Best shot I could get of one of the hares|
Highlight of the journey home was a Speckled Wood butterfly, plus a few more swallows hawking low over the fields off Woodhouse Lane. Another canny morning, Wheatear, Gropper and Whitethroat the undoubted highlights.