Archive for July, 2018

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the south ;-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 20/07/18

by on Jul.21, 2018, under North Sea

With a glassy calm river outside the marina, and a great forecast for the evening (after the rain had passed a couple of hour earlier), we had a dilemma.  Allan had seen a group of White-beaked Dolphins in the deep south (or County Durham as its residents call it…) a couple of hours earlier so were we going to change our sailing plan that has served us well for over 20 years and turn right as we passed through the Tyne Piers?

We hadn’t even left the river when a Harbour Porpoise appeared and by then we’d already decided to ‘head south for a bit and turn north if we don’t find anything’.  Ten minutes later I was scanning directly ahead and spotted a couple of fins…

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

All of our 4hr evening pelagics are fully booked now but we’ve still got a few spaces on our groundbreaking Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic sailings on August 29th, September 15th and September 22nd.  Those are filling up too, so give us a call on 01670 827465 to book your place 🙂

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Feels like autumn ;-) Druridge Bay Safari 19/08/18

by on Jul.21, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Collecting Rosie and Ben for an afternoon and evening around NEWT’s local patch, Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland, the weather looked ever so slightly murky…

Ben was armed with his D500 and 200-500mm lens (I’ve seen several copies of that lens in action now but still not pulled the trigger on purchasing one myself yet…) and we started with a search for a bird he was very keen to see on this trip north.  Patience and persistence paid off, as they so often do, and a juvenile Dipper was quite approachable as it paddled tentatively in very shallow water without taking the plunge into full ‘Dipper mode’.  An impressive flock of Dunlin, resplendent with black bellies, was a very obvious sign that migration is well underway and Curlew, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Knot were also in a couple of impressive flocks of waders before we came across a well grown juvenile Great Crested Grebe that was calling incessantly to its parent and only pausing briefly when the adult submerged in search of food.  Grey Herons stalked through the shallows as Sand Martins, House Martins, Swifts and Swallows were joined in their aerial pursuit of insects by a Little Gull and two Barn Owls quartered the reedbeds and rank vegetation.  Another target species for the afternoon put in a cameo appearance as I noticed the tell-tale ‘ring of bright water’ in the shadow of a distant reedbed and we watched an Otter through the ‘scope 🙂

There was an ‘oddest moment of the trip’ award for a 2 year old female Grey Seal who hauled herself out of the sea and started following people up the beach towards the dunes!  A quick exchange of messages with British Divers Marine Life Rescue and we were able to reassure people who were gathering on the beach that the seal was fine and just needed a bit of space to rest before continuing her journey north.  Everyone backed off and watched her from a sensible distance and she rolled over and stretched out in the evening sunshine 🙂

With the sky clearing, and dusk approaching a Little Owl flew from a roadside telegraph pole and our 3rd Barn Owl was over a field below the Moon, Jupiter and Venus, with the two planets both looking impressive through the ‘scope as we headed back towards Newbiggin.

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Quick start :-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 18/07/18

by on Jul.19, 2018, under North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

There are days when we search for a long time before finding the wildlife that we’re searching for, there are days when despite our best efforts it eludes us, and then there was last night…

Conditions were looking good with cloud cover and gentle swell so exactly what we’d hope for when we’re searching for dolphins.  We’re doing cetacean surveys on all of our pelagic trips this year and Caroline and Genine had only just started recording the environmental conditions, as we settled on to a steady course, when Tim spotted dolphins ahead of the boat 🙂  This first group of 5 White-beaked Dolphins buzzed the boat a couple of times but were clearly on a mission and quickly departed to the south.  We resumed our original course and passed by Kittiwakes, Gannets and Guillemots before eventually turning back south as the Sun sank lower in the sky towards a slight break in the cloud.  The swell was building, and the gloom of dusk was taking hold when our second group of White-beaked Dolphins for the evening appeared, and these ones were in a much more playful mood 🙂

All of our 4hr evening sailings apart from August 8th are full and our 10hr Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic on August 14th has sold out too.  We’ve got a few spaces on our 10hr sailings on August 29th, September 15th and September 22nd so give us a call on 01670 827465 to book your place.  We only have limited availability on our sailings so booking early is always the best option to make sure you get a place!

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset,sunset cruise

White-beaked Dolphin,Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,pelagic,North Sea,Northumberland pelagic,dolphin spotting Northumberland,whale watching Northumberland,North Sea pelagic,Northern Experience Pelagics,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours,sunset cruise,sunset

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A series of spectacular sunsets; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagics 04/07, 06/07 and 13/07/18

by on Jul.17, 2018, under North Sea

Some of our North Sea pelagic trips encounter whales and dolphins and lots of birds…and some don’t.  Sometimes the most jaw-dropping thing isn’t the wildlife, but something equally unpredictable…

As well as whales, dolphins and seabirds ur 4hr North Sea pelagics put us in just thr right place for some spectacular sunsets

As well as whales, dolphins and seabirds ur 4hr North Sea pelagics put us in just thr right place for some spectacular sunsets

As well as whales, dolphins and seabirds ur 4hr North Sea pelagics put us in just thr right place for some spectacular sunsets

As well as whales, dolphins and seabirds ur 4hr North Sea pelagics put us in just thr right place for some spectacular sunsets

As well as whales, dolphins and seabirds ur 4hr North Sea pelagics put us in just thr right place for some spectacular sunsets

Our 4hr evening sailings on 1st and 8th August still have a very limited number of spaces available, as do our 10hr Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic sailings on August 29th, September 15th and September 22nd.  Every other sailing is fully booked so give us a call on 01670 827465 to book your space before they’re all gone!

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Here come the White-beaks :-) NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 11/07/18

by on Jul.13, 2018, under North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

Wednesday was our 5th evening pelagic this year and after Bottlenose Dolphins putting in a good shift on our 2nd sailing, followed by a coupe of stunning sunsets last week, the question on everyone’s lips was “Will England make it to the World Cup final?”…

A few scattered whitecaps and a bit of swell, combined with a lot of glare, make observing tricky and we scanned every flock of gulls and Gannets as we headed north.  Fulmars and Manx Shearwaters passed by on stiff wings, low over the sea and a flock of Common Scoter went north ahead of us.  As we turned back south, having the sun behind us helped, as did the gradual decrease in the sea state and swell.  Scanning along a tide line towards a distant flock of diving Gannets I almost dropped my binoculars as a White-beaked Dolphin started breaching repeatedly away to the east of us.  As everyone else started looking in the same direction, the dolphin unobligingly failed to breach again…but the distinctive dorsal fins and slow diving behaviour of five White-beaked Dolphins more than made up for that 🙂

We’re steadily filling all of our sailings for this year, but we’ve still got as few spaces on our 4hr evening sailings on July 18th and August 1st/8th as well as our 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic sailings on September 15th, 19th and 22nd.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 or visit our pelagic page for more information or to book.

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

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Owling; Druridge Bay Safari 10/07/18

by on Jul.13, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Tuesday was Roger’s 3rd day out with NEWT and this time Mandy was joining him for an afternoon and evening exploring NEWT’s local patch – Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

After a run of very hot days the weather had relented, although only slightly, and we started the trip with a woodland walk beside the river Blyth.  Family parties of Nuthatch and Treecreeper were chattering away among themselves as they explored tree trunks, branches and the sun-dappled canopy and our target bird for the walk appeared, as a juvenile Dipper tentatively poked it’s face in the river while keeping it’s feet on drier ground.  Fulmars were arcing along the clifftop at our picnic spot overlooking the North Sea and a small flock of Common Scoter passed by.  Avocet, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Common Snipe and a Whimbrel were all on mud freshly exposed by the heat of the Sun and Starlings were starting to murmurate.  As we moved through the evening, the beautiful low angled sunlight was simply sublime, and illuminated Brown Hares, juvenile Water Rails and three stunning Black-tailed Godwits.  A Little Owl perched on a stone wall by the roadside gave us the withering ‘angry little man’ glare that they’re so good at and three separate Barn Owls graced us with their presence; one carrying a mouse back to the nest, one quartering a long hedgerow, and the final one, as we drove back towards Warkworth, nearly hit the car before taking evasive action and flying up over the roof 🙂

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The sublimity of evening; Bespoke Otter Safari 05/07/18

by on Jul.06, 2018, under Druridge Bay, Otter

I’ve never been great in hot sunny weather so as I collected Mike and Moira, for an afternoon and evening searching for Otters around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland, I was hoping for an increase in cloud cover…

In the heat of the afternoon, Avocets were harassing Grey Herons and Shelduck ducklings were skittering about on the surface of coastal pools as a Roe Deer ghosted through the reeds at the water’s edge and Lapwings squabbled nearby.  A Little Owl glared down from it’s perch between chimney pots as cloud began to roll in and Canada and Greylag Geese were looking alert but there was no sign of the cause of their concern

As daylight turned to dusk there was little sign of the Sun and that improved visibility substantially 🙂  Swallows, Swifts, House Martins and Sand Martins were plundering the rich feast of flying insects and a spectacular dense flock of 39 Black-tailed Godwits twisted and turned in the air in front of us as the distinctive call of Whimbrel failed to betray their location.  Water Rails were running nervously in and out of the reeds as another Roe Deer appeared, trotting through the shallow edge of the pool, and Tufted Ducks gathered their ducklings into tight groups as Cormorants took off, Mute Swans began staring at the reeds and a Little Grebe suddenly froze in position.  Then an Otter appeared just in front of us 🙂  We watched it for 45 minutes, including a remarkable tableau of hunting Otter beneath murmuration of Starlings with a Barn Owl quartering the reeds just a few metres away from us, before it vanished into the gloom of dusk and a distant reedbed.

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Hustle and bustle; Bespoke Druridge Bay mini-Safari 03/07/18

by on Jul.04, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Sometimes you just know it’s going to be a good trip, and as I collected Anne and Ron from Whitley Bay for an evening around Druridge Bay the blue sky, sunshine and gentle breeze had me thinking this was going to be a great time to be out in the field…

A Barn Owl quartering along the roadside and then hovering over the dunes, stunning in the golden light, was a fantastic start to the trip as Avocets flew by before settling back down.  A brood of 5 fairly large Water Rails was an unexpected sight as they came out into the open, close to a Tufted Duck with a large brood of tiny ducklings,  before dashing nervously back in to the cover of the reeds.  Mallard, Gadwall and Mute Swan were all dabbling for food beneath dense clouds of flying insects and then our attention was grabbed by a tight circling flock of Black-headed Gulls, Common Terns and Arctic Terns…directly above an Otter 🙂  Each time the Otter surfaced the birds repositioned themselves directly above it and we tracked it’s progress between Mute Swans and Cormorants.  Then the birds found another target and began pestering Grey Herons.  Each time a gull or tern dived at the heron it flattened it’s back, opened it’s beak wide and let out a raucous cry.  Every so often the attack would cease, before starting up again with renewed vigour and new recruits.

Our journey back down the coast brought another new species for the evening as a Brown Hare dashed out of the verge along the road and then back into the deep grass.

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Dolphins; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 29/06/18

by on Jul.02, 2018, under North Sea

Our second 4hr evening pelagic of 2018 came a couple of days after our first – which had been a trip with more swell than expected and only a single sighting of a Bottlenose Dolphin that didn’t hang around to be admired by all on board…

Friday’s forecast was much better though and I knew that a group of around 12 dolphins had been seen off Newbiggin mid-afternoon.  As we sailed out of the Tyne I checked my messages, and discovered that the dolphins were making their way south down the coast so we were likely to encounter them somewhere off Whitley Bay.  Eventually we had around 25-30 Bottlenose Dolphins playing around the boat, including some that were catching fish and a few small groups with very young calves 🙂

We’ve got spaces still available on our 4hr sailings each Wednesday until August 8th and on our 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic‘ sailings on 15th, 19th and 22nd September.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 to book your place before they’re all filled!

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

Bottlnose Dolphins spent over an hour playing around the boat on our 4hr evening pelagic off Whitley Bay and St Mary's Island on 29/06/18

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