I was returning down the range bridleway at 8.10 this morning so scanned the ruin for any sign of the Redstarts and found the Tawny Owl that roosts nearby out in the open catching a few rays. I guess unlike some that operate in the dark hours its not afraid of turning to dust.
Previous to that, the walk had been pleasant with Meadow Pipit and Sedge Warbler being the most prevalent species. The Willow Warblers have largely fallen silent apart from their contact calls but Whitethroats are still going strong, this one feeding nestlings nearby.
In fact its been the best year for Whitethroats since the turn of the century their numbers this morning exceeding Willows. I thought I was in for a treat when lots of screaming Swallows tracked a bird across the sky but no Hobby for me............. it was Mrs Sparrowhawk.
Plenty of butterfly activivty with my first Painted Lady at the early hour of 7.10 and as it warmed up Meadow Browns and Ringlets became the order of the day with a few Small Whites, two Small Skippers and a Small Tortoiseshell.
It was more of the same at Banks Pond plus a couple of male Common Blues but no Dragonflies again. One Little Grebe though made an appearance which unusually is the first of the year I've seen on the patch (No 90). Pairs have bred here for the last three years so I fear the winter may have done for them.
A brief visit to Arcot saw the Little Egret and a chat with STH both of us looking forward to adding to our collections with a visit to the book fair at Tynemouth Station on Sunday.