Monday, 23 January 2017

Specific Pacific

I have to admit to not being as well read as many. A few months ago I heard of a Pacific Diver reported off the Northumberland Coast, one of those moments in esteemed company when you smile and take a step back, something I do often as it happens, but really, I'd never heard of this Diver. I researched, halfheartedly and then forgot about it all, this bird was never seen again.

During the last week however, reports of Back Throated Diver had been coming through, offshore and estuaries, even ponds. Interesting, some Black Throated Divers turning up. 

One however had raised eyebrows and had been identified as Pacific Diver. This bird was on East Chevington reserve. For a change too it was Saturday morning and I was free to take a look, I met Stewart and off we went.

All the time, even though I had done some more identification reading, I as thinking, this will be a tricky identification and will be thankful it will be the only Diver on show. Had I been alone and not been previously alerted to Pacific Diver identification I don't know what I'd have made of it, its a lot easier when its already identified and all you have to do is study and compare.

The bird was in the center of the partly ice covered north Pool and viewable from the coast path with a telescope. 

What a fabulous bird. 

I returned home and checked messages on the local Whatsapp group only to find some great photographs being posted and reports of ridiculously close views had on Druridge Bay Country Park, just a stones throw further north. No chance to get back to the bird but tomorrow is Sunday and we went back for seconds..

Two very cold and grey mornings but enjoyable birding, and, not at all like me, it was nice to be a part of it all, meet up with some familiar faces again and learn something. Think I'm growing old compliantly.

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.