I had a quick look at the fields leading over to Chibburn Preceptory, hoping to maybe catch a Yellow Wagtail among the cattle there, but the grass in the fields was really long and didn't look too promising, so I headed straight up to East Chevington.
The wild flowers between Druridge Pools and East Chevington were one of the real highlights of my day. I really don't know much about flowers, but I've learnt enough to identify the Bird's-foot Trefoil (an excellent butterfly resource) and Northumberland's county flower, the Bloody Cranesbill, some of which was starting to show the red leaves that give this purple flower its fantastically gory name.
I didn't stop for long at East Chev because I was started to get concerned about bus times home, but while I was in the middle hide I picked up a Marsh Harrier on the far side that circled around and then flew the whole length of the North Pool before dropping into the reeds. Seeing these fantastic raptors in Northumberland still thrills me, even after seeing them in much greater numbers already this year at Blacktoft Sands and Leighton Moss.
Hurrying back to Cresswell for the bus I nevertheless had to stop when, passing Druridge Pools again, something flew straight across the road in front of me. I raised my binoculars thinking "Sparrowhawk or Merlin?" only to find that it was a Cuckoo, one of my key target species left for this summer. It was being harrassed by Meadow Pipits, and perched on a fence post on the edge of the dunes where I got the best views of this lovely bird I've ever had, and then flew north to another post further away.
I managed to make it back to Cresswell just in time for my bus home. Heading back to Newcastle, I felt so much better within myself than I had when I first set out. The natural healing touch of the wild had worked its magic again.
Cuckoo takes my year list to 217.