Stoats, Sandpipers, Starlings and Sparrowhawks; Druridge Bay birdwatching 30/09/2013

by on Oct.02, 2013, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Southeast Northumberland

With a brisk southeasterly wind rattling the Northumberland coast, I arrived in Alnmouth on Monday morning to collect John, Annie and Steve for a day of bespoke birdwatching.

Starting with a seawatch, Gannets were streaming south , occasionally pausing to circle and then plunge into the sea, and Common Scoter were dotted amongst the rafts of Eider, appearing for brief periods as they rode up and over the considerable swell.

Heading south to Druridge Bay produced the expected crop of passage waders; Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Lapwing and Ruff were expected and two Curlew Sandpipers were a nice find.  Teal, Mallard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Goosander and Pintail provided wildfowl interest and skeins of Canada, Greylag and Pink-footed Geese, which we’d seen earlier in the afternoon as they fed in nearby fields, began to arrive at their overnight roosts.  A Stoat was all energy as it raced backwards and forwards, exploring every nook and cranny along the edge of the water and, as dusk approached, we watched one of the great wildlife spectacles as a murmuration of Starlings swirled above a reedbed before dropping in to roost.  The mass of birds attracted the attention of a Sparrowhawk, and the female raptor made several low passes through the tops of the reeds above the roosting Starlings.  They weren’t going to be tricked into flying out and becoming an easier target though, and the Sparrowhawk soon settled on a fence post.  Then a second Sparrowhawk appeared, this time a male, and the two birds perched on adjacent fence posts, allowing an excellent comparison of their gender differences.  As we headed off, in the fading light and bitterly cold wind, it looked like they would be going without their supper…

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2 Comments for this entry

  • John Harris

    Hi Martin, we enjoyed out day with you very much. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like, we want guides to be knowledgeable re both birds and area, and enthusiastic, and you were. Food was delicious. And the starlings performed to order at the end. So thanks, and good luck. Next time we come north we will hopefully see you again!

  • martin

    Hi John, Annie and Steve

    Thank you for your kind comments. We look forward to seeing you again on another visit north 🙂

    best wishes
    martin

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