It's just started to rain - the first for what seems like weeks. I felt the first drops on a post-work visit to Druridge this evening. The threat of rain looked worse than the outcome so I left my camera behind, I could've taken it as there was just a few spots by the time I left at 6.45.
So no pictures tonight.
A quick look offshore first to avoid potential social-distancing issues. The tide was well out. Terns were feeding and long strings of auks went to and fro. Two common scoter and a single red-throated diver on the sea were noteworthy. A ringed plover flew up the beach - breeding locally? Probably not after the recent influx of humans.
The budge fields from the little hide were more interesting. Eight avocets were feeding and doing their thing and at least eight decent-sized lapwing chicks were pottering about - they should get away now.
Druridge Pools is one of only two or three sites in the county that regularly have breeding shoveler, a common passage and wintering species but a rare breeder so a good record of four ducklings this evening, following mum about the shallow muddy margins with their huge spatula-shaped bills. I tried to count the broods of feral geese too, it's easier to count the Canada goose families than the greylags who just merge into one flock. The Canadas keep their young close and fend off incomers even when they are in a large group.
Canada - Broods of 4,4,3,9,4 and 3 (I think)
Greylag - Broods of 3, 2 (or a 5) and 7 (again.. I think)
It will be like Hauxley soon.
The shelduck had two broods of 8 and 12 but a lot of them won't make it to adulthood - lesser black-back gull fodder.
The other highlight of the Budge fields was a nice adult water rail pottering around the rushy-edge of the pool in front of the hide, when I first saw it with my naked eye I was hoping for a crake. A grasshopper warbler was reeling beyond the big pool.