It’s far too hot for anything too energetic this weekend, so we took a short walk over to the wetland behind us in search of dragonflies and damselflies. We weren’t disappointed with many Black-tailed Skimmers, plenty of Emperors and Common Darters, but the stars of the show were our first Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies that colonised the new stream last year, and are quite likely to move on after this year, as the vegetation grows up.
It’s been a bit busy recently. A couple of weeks ago the Black-browed Albatross that has occasionally visited Bempton Cliffs before being reported attacked and killed by White-tailed Eagles in the Baltic rose from the dead and turned up on the cliffs again. Obviously it did it on a Monday evening, making it hard for us to arrange time off to finally catch up with one of my most wanted birds. The bird was hanging around and so at 0245 on Thursday morning we headed off to Bempton. We arrived at just before 0800, which was more than the Albatross did: it was gone. A pleasant, but frustrating, morning at Bempton was enough to confirm it had gone, and we moved on to Southfield Reservoir in the hope of another bird high on my most wanted UK list, Caspian Tern. By 1600, I had been up for twelve hours and hadn’t seen a bird, but finally one of the terns arrived and gave us a good show. Staying over with Mum on Thursday night gave us a chance for the Albatross to return on Friday, which it duly didn’t, and Saturday, another blank. With the bird clearly gone, we headed back down on Saturday. Lying in bed at 0900 on Sunday morning, the news that the Albatross had returned was not welcome. Deciding to become dirty twitchers for the day, we headed off north on the 300 mile journey to Bempton. Arriving just before 1500, we dashed down and found a group of people watching it. Success, apart from the fact that we still couldn’t see the bird in a cloud of Gannets. Not helped by the large number of contradictory descriptions of where it was, we eventually saw the bird, which promptly vanished behind a cliff and was lost to sight. We walked around for a view of the other side of the cliff, but there was no sign. There was still no sign by the time we left just after 1900. We got back home at just gone midnight, having driven about 10 hour for 10 seconds of the bird. I’m not about to start serious twitching if that’s what it’s about.
A bit more relaxed this weekend, we walked to Knepp to see the Storks and Purple Emperors. A very pleasant 27 mile walk found all of our targets and eased the frustration of the previous weekend and the disappointment of the football.