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Today Ellington, Northumbria, the last colliery in the north east has closed. One of the problems was the cost of replacing the old pit props.
Six or seven Tufted Ducks are diving over a patch nor far from the shore of the lake. I see one emerge with an object that is a little larger than an acorn in its bill. It rotates the object around in its bill, repeatedly biting it. The object drops back in the water but the duck immediately dives and recovers it. I wonder if it is dealing with a water snail or a small freshwater mussel. If so it doesn't discard the shell. It swallows the whole item.
Several of the ducks go through the same routine.
A large goose on the lake appears to be a hybrid between a Canada and a farmyard goose.
A Heron wades in the shallow top end of the lake, then flies past us, neck and feet tucked in, which gives it a compact silhouette.
In the car park on School Hill, the site of the former Newmillerdam Colliery, there is a single stunted plant of Vipers Bugloss still in flower next to a kerb stone.