Sunday, 15 January 2017

A shore lark

Met a recovering Stewart at Warkworth with the intention of sitting in the car drinking tea sheltering from the forecasted rain watching gulls coming in to roost and bathe above the weir on the Coquet.
It wasn't a bad morning though and after discussing this and that we headed for the land of birds and birders, East Chevington Reserve.
There have been a small group of seven Shorelark frequenting the mouth of the Chevington Burn, we thought we'd take a look. They didn't take much finding, as soon as we broke cover from the dunes there they were, scoped and watched with binoculars as they were getting disturbed by dogs and beach users, typical Sunday morning. They kept returning to the seed strewn tide line to feed.
I had my camera but the light was poor and the birds distant, I took a snap or two anyway.

A flock of 42 Twite flew in and started to feed in the same area as we were enjoying the Shorelarks, other birds close by; pied Wagtail, Sanderling and Turnstone..

We headed back northwards up the coast and after a stop at Amble finished our morning off at Boulmer. Scanning the bay, at a very Low Tide, for the Glaucous Gull that had been seen through the week we were about to pack up when Stewart picked the bird up on the shoreline way way to the south end of Boulmer Bay.

We stalked it and enjoyed great views and a few photographs, a nicely marked and well conditioned first winter bird.

Good numbers of wading birds in the bay, as usual, Bar Tailed Godwit and Grey Plover were nice. Flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing were being flushed from the fields behind the village but no bird of prey was seen.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Last look out

Final wander of the year around the Coquet Estuary. Met up with Stewart in The Braid car park and spent the morning around here, Amble Harbour and had a walk up the river to Warkworth.

Not a bad morning; as the morning lightened a Little Egret lifted from The Gut, circled and dropped back in, as they seem to do when you surprise them feeding in this area. 
We noticed Collared Doves heading north over The Braid into Amble and started to keep a tally, 55+ counted leaving the trees around the car park where they had been roosting.

We headed to Amble Harbour after a cup of tea and some Christmas chocolate. Groups of Pink Footed Geese were drifting south and a small flock of Golden Plover were wheeling over the estuary with a Peregrine in attendance, it had obviously stooped on the waders and failed so drifted off towards Coquet Island.

The resident Mediterranean Gull was on its usual rock off the Little Shore. A walk around the pier and Cliff House was interesting with Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Rock Pipit and Knot seen.


Eiders cant be resisted in Amble harbour when you have a camera and some sunlight.

Back to the car we decided to fill the last of the morning by walking up the river towards Warkworth. The tide was rising by this time and waders were being pushed close to shore, we had noticed a couple of Black Tailed Godwit earlier in the morning but some were now close enough to attempt photographs. Excellent call heard as they fed and squabbled. 

Black Tailed Godwits
Thats it really, fine male Red Breasted Merganser and same Goldeneye were both seen on my way home just a little further up stream...

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Boxing Day

Think what you like but I rather craved a quiet walk today, I usually do mind but especially today. I just pulled my wellies on and headed away from home on foot. I explored Longdyke and a couple of the footpaths leading away towards Alnwick and south. 

Colder than it has been which was pleasant and more normal, I made a bird list, not for any particular reason but I recorded exactly 20 species in a couple of hours or so.

Nabs Plantation

Cawledge Burn


Track of the day, leading out of Longdyke

and a good flock of Linnet attending a game crop that will be worth keeping an eye on

Monday, 28 November 2016

Creosote and Christmas

Straight up the coast this morning, arriving in the main beach car park at Beadnell at around 08:00. Not cold really but an early shower delayed our walk to Beadnell Point and we had a look around the harbour. Some great waders to watch, Turnstone and Sanderling on the rocks and along the beach with Redshank, Oystercatcher and Dunlin. Long Tailed Duck, Scaup and Eider in the bay. 
The waders were all flushed into panic on one occasion when a hunting Merlin flashed through.

Beadnell Sunrise

Digiscoped Scaup
Rain clouds quickly passing over we headed out to Beadnell Point, watching the sea for half an hour or so, a few Gannet were moving north, 13 Common Scoter, Eiders, Red Throated Diver, Guillemot, Razorbill, Grey Plover and Wigeon.

Beadnell Point
We headed to Seahouses next for a cup of warming tea parked on the harbour. A Peregrine over the north edge of the harbour, where we were parked, wheeled overhead as we stumbled from the car grasping binoculars, headed of towards the Farne Islands. 
Tea drained we had a wander around Seahouses Harbour, took a few snaps and headed off to Newton.

Late November is always a bit quiet, sort of reflective a bit. A wander around Low Newton was quiet but quite busy with people, walking and exercising dogs. Newton Pool was quiet, Mallard, Teal, a few Snipe. There has been some work done to Newton Pool, reed beds seem to have been opened up in areas and the whole reserve was looking really good. 
I can remember visiting this area back in the early eighties when I was just starting to take my birding more seriously, I can remember studying the plates and the seasonal guide  to birds that had been recorded, displayed in the main hide, with interest and wonder, the hide today is the same hide and still has the same comforting, nostalgic smell of old timber and creosote.  
The flash to the north of the pools as better for birds, good numbers of waders even though the tide was low.

Track of the day

Newton Pool

Track through to the Shore

That's that, morning over, quite a good day for birds of prey today, Peregrine, Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and when I pulled down the road to home a fabulous Common Buzzard was perched..

Longdyke Guardian
Christmas Tree up this afternoon.....