Before rejoining the treadmill that is work tomorrow, albeit for a mere three days, an early start was warranted, up to the Coquet Valley in search of Ravens, Raptors and other avian thrills.
It was a might chilly and a calling Cuckoo was a promising start. Hmmmm - promising but short-lived!
None of the intended quarry were seen. Plenty of Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, a Gropper, Crows, Jackdaws and a Greylag tho'.
Somewhat despondent, off to Harthope.
As earlier, a fine start with two Ring Ouzel at Hawsen Burn, but not a peep of a Cuckoo nor Green Woodpecker, not a sight of a Whinchat nor Garden Warbler or Redstart. Swallows, Willow Warblers and Sand Martins abounded, and a burn-side bank was located where it was fascinating to watch the prospective parents going back and forth.
Half a dozen Buzzards complemented the vocal Red Grouse and a Common Sandpiper was bobbing and weaving along the rocks at Langleeford.
Home for noon and out again at 2pm with Chief Spotter and Cresswell was the destination. As we walked the access road, a couple were leaving and part of the 'Anything about?' dialogue yielded reference to two Avocet, no LRP and a White Stork over East Chev. Northerlies might push it south, so 'Er Indoors was told to keep her eyes peeled.
And what a result. After five or so minutes in the hide, and little to stimulate the mind, didn't she point out the Stork coming in from the NW and north of Bell's Farm where it appeared to land.
To the car pronto, and off north, stopping midway between Cresswell and The Pools to 'easily'(?) see the huge, white, leggy, bird (NOT Mrs M, I might add!). After a few minutes of zero, there it was, flying low and NNE towards the Budge fields.
Had it not been for mobbing gulls and Lapwings, it would have stopped, but alas not - off it went NW and out of sight.
And for good measure, the waterfowl that lifted as the Stork passed over returned in drips and drabs, including the male Garganey.
Bothal lived up to its name. On stopping off en route home, there was bott all there.