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.....

Monday, 21 November 2016

You have to take your hat off...

-2 this morning as I defrosted the car and headed for Boulmer to meet Stewart. As I pulled up at Seaton Point Stewart was appearing out of the half light with a tale of a Great Northern Diver past. The plan was to take a look on the sea as it was high tide.
As we approached the steps that lead down to the beach though we noticed birds feeding on the high tide line, rotting seaweed in a line a couple of metres or so wide and stretching out towards Foxton to the south. Immediately Stewart shouted Water Pipit!!. 

A good birder is aware, aware of what is going on around him, sights sounds movements etc, some though are aware of what might or could be going on around them. To call a bird like this from a glimpse and bearing in mind it was freezing cold and hardly light is impressive. Ok it could have been wrong, but it wasn't. A fabulous Water Pipit, very flighty which meant we had to walk the length of the beach a few times to try and get a photograph or two and some better views. 

Rock Pipit including several littoralis, Meadow Pipit, a dozen or so Pied Wagtail, two Grey Wagtail and Robins also feeding on the weed strand.


After time spent enjoying the Pipits in the freezing cold we were desperately in need of tea, back to the car, thawed a bit then north into Boulmer village to walk north to Longhoughton Steel, nothing more than a pleasant wander, a few birds but this morning.. we had peaked early.

Well, it was all about the call today, yes we may have watched the pipits long enough to pick out the bird but perhaps we wouldn't have done. Some times you just have to take your hat off to a brilliant bit of birding..