A little over two and a half years ago, in October 2020, I took you down to look at the Dunescape of Drigg. We were, as you may recall, looking for Tiger beetles and Adders. There was plenty to look at, but unfortunately not those two creatures. Anyhow, I thought we'd go back there at the weekend, and see if we have any better luck in the warmer weather.
You may also recall that I had a new found friend with me on that trip. The fact that she is with me once again, this time in a campervan, speaks volumes. The dunes are a marvellous place for bird watching, and we are joined by Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches on every available perch. A pair of Linnets are also wandering about and, first thing in the morning, a Skylark comes down to take a dust bath.
Behind the dunes, where small streams run, we are accompanied by Common Blue and Wall Brown butterflies, as well as the diminutive Small Heaths, which are only about half the size of the other two. We also have four new flowers to add to our May collection: with Bloody Crane's Bill, Burnet Rose (which is a bit of a dune specialist), Yellow Iris, and Marsh Marigold. This makes 64 species for the year so far, if anyone's counting.
There are still no Tiger Beetles about, but we do have another little fellow that is associated with sand dunes. This is a Marram Weevil. The antennae coming out of his snout like that, shows that he's a weevil of some kind. The snout is also short and broad, which means that he's one of the 14,000 or so broad nosed weevils, and we found him near Marram grass, so he's in the correct habitat for a Marram Weevil.
Adders, on the other hand, we do have. There are two things along this coast that frighten the beejabers out of people; Adders and Sellafield. Both are pretty overrated in terms of danger to the public. Adders bite about 100 people a year, but the last fatal bite was almost fifty years ago. They are not aggressive, but like most of us, they don't like being downtrodden. Sellafield hasn't bitten anybody since 1957, when it was Windscale Nuclear Power Station. A radioactive leak is believed to have been responsible for a couple of hundred fatal cancers. Nowadays, it primarily stores low to medium radioactive waste.
We'll walk back along the beach and see what the tide has washed up. A somewhat ferocious looking jellyfish for a start. Although the Dustbin-lid Jelly is one of the largest jellyfish to drift around UK shores, it's a bit of a gentle giant. Don't get me wrong, it will sting you, even when dead, but there are much smaller jellyfish with much worse stings. Also, they're big enough to see and avoid in the water, and they don't have metres of stinging tentacles trailing behind them.
Steve's Vintage Collectables. (click to visit)
Father's Day is coming up next month. We've plenty of gift ideas at SVCwithEtsy.
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All the best,