Bittern by the birdwatching bug; Druridge Bay 01/10/2013

by on Oct.03, 2013, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

The cold wind that had developed during Monday was still whipping across the Northumberland coast as I collected Sara from Church Point for an afternoon birdwatching around Druridge Bay.  Newbiggin Bay was an impressive mass of rolling swell and white water as we headed along the coast.

Damp, cold and misty were the conditions for the afternoon, but there were plenty of birds to hold our attention.  with Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew Sandpiper and Golden Plover still around from the day before it was good to find another wader species; a small flock of Dunlin flying by caught my eye, not so much because they were Dunlin, but because there were two smaller birds flying with them.  Small enough to only be stints of some description, they resolved through the telescope into Little Stints and, as Sara watched them through the ‘scope, I sent a text to Ipin, so that he could get them on his patch list for the year…and he repaid me by describing me as Scotland Gate’s second best wildlife tour leader 🙂

In the increasing murk we headed to East Chevington and had two Bramblings flying overhead and calling.  A reported Corncrake didn’t show itself, but there was an odd call, that I’ve never heard before, coming from a patch of rank grass just a few metres away from us…

Probably the bird of the afternoon was an unexpected surprise; as Sara watched the assembled waders through the ‘scope, and skeins of Pink-footed Geese lifted from nearby fields with calls rising to a crescendo as they approached the pool, I was scanning around the water’s edge…and a Bittern walked out of the reeds and into full view 🙂  For a few minutes we were treated to excellent views of this strange skulking heron.  It seemed to be confused as to where it was in relation to the reeds as it suddenly stood upright and stretched it’s head and neck skyward in the classic ‘bitterning’ pose.  When it finally took flight, it was mobbed by a flock of Lapwings before dropping out of sight into a reedbed…where it was soon joined by the members of a Starling murmuration 🙂

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