4th Feb Today I had decided to get the bus to the old footpath that leads down to the stepping stones which we as kids used to take to get to the old outdoor swimming pool at Humford Mill . I took a couple of side paths first but the going very muddy and slippery and given the fact I saw not one bird along either path I headed back to the river and the stones , the water was well over the top of most of the stepping stones so rather than walk around in very wet boots for the rest of the day the boots and socks came off, the water was freezing so I hurried across , eventually following the path along the river edge which is mostly rock . I was well down the river before a Dipper flashed past , Jay heard , Treecreeper and Nuthatch seen a few Tits but all rather quiet . In the open area near the historical Old Bedlington Iron Works my first Snowdrops and Butterburr of the year lots of old bottles along the bank side from some large scale dumping but this was more 40's ,50's not the Victorian stuff ,even a huge knuckle bone , hard to believe they would dump rubbish so near the river but I remember the very same on the River Blyth at Kitty Brewster when I was at school just up the hill . Not till I got to the Rail and road bridge did the birds start to appear with about 15 Mallard and several Goldeneye , then I got a flash of white in the field an Ermine Stoat fossicking (been waiting to get that in ) through the grass and under some old wood ,it heard the camera shutter and started heading towards me but rather too quick disappearing in the long grass only to reappear and before I could focus it was hidden again , the battery died and just as I got it changed it dashed across the track in front of me and was gone a brief though enjoyable encounter.
I forgot to look on the map for the name of this stream which feeds into Blyth could be the Horton Burn ?
First Butterburr of the year a curious plant the flower always coming before the leaves