Fade to black; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 11/08/17

by on 12/08/17 16:48, under North Sea

As we gathered at Royal Quays for our final 4hr evening pelagic for this year, ahead of our switch to 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic’ sailings from next Wednesday, there was a stiff breeze, but it was coming off the land so not a great problem for a sailing where we were planning to stay fairly close inshore…

The sea was calmer than it’s been on any of our trips so far this year, but all around the sky was threatening to do something and we did catch the edge of a shower at one point.  Fulmars, Gannets and Kittiwakes passed by, Guillemots were on the water with young and Russ spotted the dorsal fin of a dolphin but it seems to have been on a mission to be elsewhere as it didn’t hang around.

Our final 4hr evening pelagic for 2017 had calm seas, dark clouds and a brief appearance by a dolphin

Our final 4hr evening pelagic for 2017 had calm seas, dark clouds and a brief appearance by a dolphin

Our final 4hr evening pelagic for 2017 had calm seas, dark clouds and a brief appearance by a dolphin

Our final 4hr evening pelagic for 2017 had calm seas, dark clouds and a brief appearance by a dolphin

Our final 4hr evening pelagic for 2017 had calm seas, dark clouds and a brief appearance by a dolphin

That’s it for 4hr evening sailings until next June, but we’ve still got a few places on all of our 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic’ trips.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 to book your place before they’re all gone!

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Evening activity; Otter mini-Safari 10/08/17

by on 11/08/17 08:32, under Druridge Bay

I arrived at Church Point to collect Andy, Teresa and Catharine, and Richard, Belinda and Julia, for an evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland searching for Otters, under a glorious blue sky with just a gentle breeze.  Almost like the summer had arrived…

Grey Herons were stalking patiently through the shallows in the shadow of the reed edges and Mute Swans, Greylag Geese, Mallards, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal and Great Crested Grebes, with a chick that’s probably too big to be hitching a ride on it’s parents’ back, were all getting on with life, and way too relaxed for there to be an Otter about, and then Lapwing and Starling flushed in a sudden panic.  We couldn’t see what had caused the alarm though and, as everything settled back down we headed on.

At our next stop we had a long chat with a fisherman, who told us where he’d seen an Otter the previous night…which just happened to be where we were heading for dusk.  A small group of Canada Geese were clearly on high alert then, as a Little Egret provided a touch of luminosity in the deepening gloom of dusk, Tawny Owls called from the trees on both sides of the river, skein after skein after skein of Canada Geese flew noisily overhead, pipistrelles around trees and buildings were picked up by Julia’s bat detector and the majestic Summer Triangle of Vega, Altair and Deneb appeared against the night sky overhead…the evening finished as Otters 1 NEWT 0.  Fantastic ottery habitat, geese clearly agitated and a sighting the previous evening…but you just can’t be certain what will turn up.  That’s why every day spent searching for any of our local wildlife is just so much fun 🙂

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A Little Spoonful; Otter Safari/mini-Safari 01/08/17

by on 02/08/17 12:06, under Druridge Bay, Uncategorized

When the Otters fail to perform during an Otter Safari, there’s always something else to take centre stage…

I collected Eileen from Warkworth and the first half of the afternoon was spent intently studying the behaviour of birds along a river, looking for any indication that they were concerned about something. The cries of Oystercatcher and Curlew drifted on the breeze as Little Egrets stalked through the shallows or roosted in trees overlooking the water.  A stop off at Cresswell produced lots of Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Curlew, a dozen or so Dunlin and a summer-plumaged Knot.  We’d managed to just miss a Spoonbill though, although back to that later…

After a picnic overlooking Druridge Bay we collected Tony and Norma, and Alicia and Emmie for the second half of the trip.  More Curlew, Lapwing and Dunlin followed, with some Black-tailed Godwit still sporting their breeding plumage, an elegant Wood Sandpiper patrolling the muddy edges, Tufted Ducks with ducklings, a female Marsh Harrier and a dense cloud of Sand Martins.  Then Little Owls; one, then two, then three, then two, then three, then one as they shuffled position along a fence and a stone wall.  One of the owls even found itself sitting on the apex of a roof alongside a Magpie, before deciding the black and white corvid needed seeing off.  Norma had spotted a white bird tucked away in the rushes and it took off, flying directly towards us…and there was the Spoonbill 🙂

As dusk approached Great Crested Grebes offered small fish to their well-grown chick as Grey Herons squabbled over prime feeding spots, Common Terns took a bath, Starling flocks swirled by and Emmie spotted her first Roe Deer – first a doe and then a buck sporting a fine pair of antlers as the light faded to the point where everything was shadow.

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Somewhere…; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 28/07/17

by on 31/07/17 11:46, under North Sea

Friday’s 4hr evening pelagic was just a couple of hours after White-beaked Dolphins had been seen heading north towards the Tyne…

As we came out between the piers we scanned the area to the south of the river.  Nothing obvious that way so we headed north, with a stiffening breeze ruffling the sea surface.  A few of our clients saw their first ever Puffin, Kittiwakes were following us for most of the trip, Gannets soared by on the breeze and a Great Skua put in an appearance.  Our regular pelagic participants say that the best thing about being on a boat off the Northumberland coast on an evening is that you can see the weather in every direction and you just never know what that will bring.  On Friday, before we eventually found a couple of dolphins just off the mouth of the river as we were sailing back in, in the rain and the dark, the sky was little short of spectacular 🙂

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening North Sea Pelagic on 28/07/17 brought blue skies, rain, rainbows, a spectacular sunset and a late appearance by a couple of White-beaked Dolphins.

All of our 4hr evening sailings are fully booked, but we’ve got space on our 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic’ sailings although those are filling fast too.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 for more info or to reserve your space.

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Owling; Otter Safari 17/07/17

by on 19/07/17 18:29, under Druridge Bay

I collected Una and then Verna from Church Point and we set off for an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and South East Northumberland searching our favourite Otter spots

The heat of the afternoon was tempered by a gentle breeze as we came across 8 Little Egrets and a Kingfisher put in a brief but brilliant appearance with flash of dazzling azure as it landed on a rock in front of us before flying across the river and reappearing a few minutes later.  More azure blue flashed towards the extremity of Blue-tailed Damselflies and a Red Admiral took a real liking to Verna, flying around for a few seconds before settling on her arm 🙂  As the evening progressed the light suddenly switched from dazzling and contrasty to sublimely beautiful.  A small Starling murmuration hinted at the spectacle we’ll be enjoying by the winter, 2 Roe Deer were in deep vegetation, a Kestrel was flitting from tree to tree along the roadside ahead of the car and a Barn Owl flew over the reeds carrying a Short-tailed Field Vole as Common Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin plundered the dense clouds of insects rising above the ethereal mist drifting over the water.

As the light faded and we headed back a Brown Hare loped along the road ahead of us, pausing on the track into a field and I suggested that owls should be on the target list for the next 10-15 minutes of the drive.  Two separate telegraph poles were adorned with Little Owls, with the tiny predators giving us their very best withering stare, before a third Little Owl flew alongside the car briefly and a Barn Owl drifted across the road ahead of us 🙂

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Gulls, waders and wildfowl; Druridge Bay mini-Safari 16/07/17

by on 19/07/17 18:06, under Druridge Bay

I arrived at Church Point and quickly met up with Andy and Billy.  As a stunningly white adult Mediterranean Gull drifted around over the beach, Diane and Bill arrived and we set off for a few hours around Druridge Bay

In the hazy heat of midday, Common Snipe were dozing and preening in amongst clumps of rush, a Tufted Duck was watching over her brood of nine fluffy chocolate-brown ducklings as they practiced diving in search of food, bobbing quickly back the surface without the strength to keep themselves submerged, a Sedge Warbler was belting out it’s greatest hits from a hidden position but occasionally song-flighting into the spotlight and a Scaup provided a nice ID class in amongst a flock of Tufted Duck.  Two Roe Deer were also amongst the rushes and the buck cleared a fence with ease while the doe seemed much more hesitant.  Lapwing and Curlew kept flushing in panic but there was no sign of the cause of their consternation, at least not to our eyes, although we were at a site where we’d found an Otter two weeks ago and the absence of ducks around one reedbed was quite obvious…

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…and more dolphins; Farne Islands Safari 15/07/17

by on 17/07/17 11:33, under Farne Islands

I’d collected Alice and Jonathan from Waren Mill and headed south along the coast at the start of our Farne Islands safari.  A dreich drizzly morning still produced Little and Arctic Terns, Meadow Pipit and Skylark and, after lunch we we driving between Bamburgh and Seahouses when Jonathan spotted dolphins between the mainland and the islands.  The journey around the islands and landing on Inner Farne produced all of the usual suspects; Grey Seal, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Common, Arctic and Sandwich Terns and the entertaining sight of lots of Arctic Tern chicks sitting in the middle of the boardwalk.

The journey back to Seahouses brought probably the best wildlife of the day though, as a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins played around the boats that were heading to and from the harbour 🙂

Our Farne Islands safari on Saturday 15th July produced a spectacular and unexpected ending as a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins appeared around the boat

Our Farne Islands safari on Saturday 15th July produced a spectacular and unexpected ending as a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins appeared around the boat

Our Farne Islands safari on Saturday 15th July produced a spectacular and unexpected ending as a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins appeared around the boat

Our Farne Islands safari on Saturday 15th July produced a spectacular and unexpected ending as a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins appeared around the boat

Our Farne Islands safari on Saturday 15th July produced a spectacular and unexpected ending as a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins appeared around the boat

We’ve finished our Farne Islands trips for this year, but we’ve still got plenty of opportunities to encounter dolphins on our 4hr and 10hr pelagic wildlife trips.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 for more details or to book your place now 🙂

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Dolphins; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 14/07/17

by on 17/07/17 11:13, under North Sea

As Martin drove down the coast towards Royal Quays on Friday the sea looked flat and peaceful…an hour later and it was starting to get choppy on a stiff westerly that had sprung from nowhere, but we were still confident that this would be the trip where we started finding White-beaked Dolphins, and that confidence was well-placed 🙂

Our 4hr evening pelagic on Friday 14th July produced excellent encounter with one of the mysterious residents of the North Sea off Northumberland - White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening pelagic on Friday 14th July produced excellent encounter with one of the mysterious residents of the North Sea off Northumberland - White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening pelagic on Friday 14th July produced excellent encounter with one of the mysterious residents of the North Sea off Northumberland - White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening pelagic on Friday 14th July produced excellent encounter with one of the mysterious residents of the North Sea off Northumberland - White-beaked Dolphins.

Our 4hr evening pelagic on Friday 14th July produced excellent encounter with one of the mysterious residents of the North Sea off Northumberland - White-beaked Dolphins.

We’ve got a few spaces available on some of our 4hr and 10hr sailings this year; have a look at www.northernexperiencepelagics.co.uk or give us a call on 01670 827465 for more details or to book your place before they’re all filled!

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Pirates of Cullerfornia; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 12/07/17

by on 14/07/17 11:43, under North Sea

Offshore from the small seaside town of Cullercoats, there be pirates…

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 12th July brought excellent views of a dashing piratical Arctic Skua and a stunning sunset

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 12th July brought excellent views of a dashing piratical Arctic Skua and a stunning sunset

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 12th July brought excellent views of a dashing piratical Arctic Skua and a stunning sunset

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 12th July brought excellent views of a dashing piratical Arctic Skua and a stunning sunset

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 12th July brought excellent views of a dashing piratical Arctic Skua and a stunning sunset

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Birds, birds, birds; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 10/07/17

by on 14/07/17 11:31, under North Sea

Our evening pelagic on 10/07/17 had dramartic skies away to the north and the star of the show was a Great Skua that followed us for nearly an hour

Our evening pelagic on 10/07/17 had dramartic skies away to the north and the star of the show was a Great Skua that followed us for nearly an hour

Our evening pelagic on 10/07/17 had dramartic skies away to the north and the star of the show was a Great Skua that followed us for nearly an hour

Our evening pelagic on 10/07/17 had dramartic skies away to the north and the star of the show was a Great Skua that followed us for nearly an hour

Our evening pelagic on 10/07/17 had dramartic skies away to the north and the star of the show was a Great Skua that followed us for nearly an hour

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