mid-April magic

by on Apr.21, 2010, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

After a couple of days in the office (although I’m not complaining; I spent those two days finalising details for two new projects and taking bookings for group photography trips and a Northumberland birdwatching holiday) it was good to get out with clients this morning.  Our three clients became just one though, due to the Icelandic volcano, and I collected Ellen from Newbiggin by the Sea for a tour of southeast Northumberland and Druridge Bay.  We started with a search for Mediterranean Gulls.  None of the nice, ghostly white-winged adults were around but there was a 2nd year bird amongst the Black-headed Gulls.  It made a good identification subject, as the lack of obvious white wings meant that it was possible to focus on structure rather than just plumage, although the obvious wing-bar ensured that a discussion of wing topography was easy to relate to what we could see flying in front of us.

Under deep blue skies with fluffy white clouds this was a beautiful morning, although the bitingly cold, howling northwesterly meant that hats and gloves were in order.  At Cresswell we admired our bird of the day; a stunning male Black-headed Wagtail.  I’d never seen one before, and as Ellen is from the southwestern US it was a lifer for her as well.  The geographical connection to where I spent 6 months in 1999/2000 focused conversation on two of my favourite topics; birdwatching and Mexican food.  Summer visitors were evident, with Swallow and Sand Martin flying over all the coastal pools, Willow Warblers singing their silvery, descending cadence sheltered from the wind, a nervous Common Sandpiper just a few metres away from us and, best of all one of the best looking ducks to have ever dabbled around Druridge Pools, Garganey, was another lifer for Ellen.  A pair of Stonechats perched in a bare hawthorn were a welcome sight, after a winter that will have surely decimated their population.  The three hours passed incredibly quickly and I dropped a happy birdwatcher in Morpeth to continue the next leg of her journey through Northumberland.

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