I dust off the old notebooks from the book shelf now and again to see what I was seeing over the years at the same time of year. Last year the pages were dominated with Geese and Short eared Owls but on March 12th 1994 a Chiffchaff was singing at Felton lane and on March 15th 1986 a Wheatear was in the dunes at Druridge during a howling westerly. During the last few days I have been to Stobswood and Felton lane and the pictures above may look like a pleasant winter scene but the strong east north east wind felt like I was walking around a location much further north. The Goat Willow catkins are well adapted to cope with these cold temperatures but the sheep were relying on food supplements being provided for them.
Yesterday at the pools opposite East Stobswood farm (the one next to the main line) were again dominated by winter wildfowl with over a 1000 Pink footed Geese, smaller flocks of Grey lag and Canada Geese, Wigeon, Tufted duck and Mallard. Curlew and Oystercatcher were vocal and the only other waders were Redshank and Lapwings. Walking over the reclaimed opencast land from East Stobswood towards Ulgham Bennyboy flushed 4 Short eared Owls together out of the long grass.