Northumberland

Mystery; Otter Safari 05/09/19

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Druridge Bay

I’ve neglected the blog over the last month so here come a series of short posts to get us back up to date…

Sometimes we see things that our clients can’t believe, sometimes we see things that we can’t believe and sometimes, we see things that we can’t find any explanation for…

At the end of an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland, Paul had just spotted our third Marsh Harrier of the trip. This one was different though, as it was wing-tagged. I’ve never seen a wing-tagged Marsh Harrier so I was immediately wondering who’s tagging them and where. An orange tag on each wing was all we could see so I searched the colour scheme website the next day…and discovered that no tagging scheme is using orange tags on both wings of Marsh Harriers.. More enquiries over the last few weeks, and it’s still a mystery…

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Quick start; Otter Safari 20/08/19

by on Aug.23, 2019, under Druridge Bay, Otter

I collected Jo from Newbiggin for her 2nd day out with NEWT and we set off for an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland searching for Otters

As we set off I decided to change the order that we’d visit our usual sites…and it paid off almost immediately with an Otter cub feeding mid-river as Little Grebes watched it warily as Cormorants dried their wings nearby 🙂 Pochards, Shovelers, Mallards, Teal and Moorhen all got out of the way as a Grey Heron flew in and throughout the trip Sparrowhawks flushed birds that were quietly roosting. After having our picnic stop overlooking the North Sea, with Fulmars gliding along the cliff faces and Gannets offshore we collected Yvonne, Fiona and Liz who were joining us for the second half of the trip.

In the evening sunlight Lapwings, Curlews, Golden Plovers, Redshanks, Dunlins and Turnstones were roosting, Brown Hares were half-heartedly chasing each other in the field margins, a Little Egret flew high away to the north, a Marsh Harrier caused panic as it flew low over the marsh before dropping into the rushes, Water Rails squealed from reedbeds, a dense flock of Swallows and Sand Martins headed to roost as Canada and Greylag Geese departed noisily and, as the light faded to unmanageable, Jupiter and Saturn were both observed through the ‘scope 🙂

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Persistence; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 13/08/19

by on Aug.14, 2019, under North Sea

Our first 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic’ for 2019 had Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Great Skuas, Puffins, Guillemots, a little bit of rain, a long rolling northerly swell, dark skies away over the mainland and, thanks to Kirstie’s sharp eyesight, some very obliging White-beaked Dolphins just before the squally weather reached us 🙂

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The sun sets on our evening pelagics; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 07/08/19

by on Aug.11, 2019, under North Sea

What should have been our penultimate 4hr evening pelagic for 2019 turned out to the final one, with poor weather and rough sea conditions getting the better of our planned sailing on Friday. Wednesday was another really odd quiet night, with a stiff westerly ruffling the surface of the sea, no Fulmars, Puffins or Razorbills, only one small group of Guillemots and a few Kittiwakes throughout the evening and a handful of Gannets. Another amazing sunset was accompanied by the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and the summer triangle of Vega, Altair and Deneb 🙂

An incredibly photogenic sunset brought the curtain down on our final 4hr evening pelagic for 2019
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Desolate wastes; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 02/08/19

by on Aug.03, 2019, under North Sea

Yesterday’s 4hr evening pelagic was a strange one; a few Guillemots, a Puffin, a Razorbill with juvenile, Fulmars circling, Kittiwakes following us, a Mediterranean Gull that came and inspected us before heading back towards the shore, a Common Seal, a briefly seen fin that was probably a Harbour Porpoise and then line after line of Gannets streaming north towards the Bass Rock after presumably heading well south of the Tyne in search of food…and we weren’t seeing fish on the echo finder anywhere between the Tyne and Newbiggin. The crazy thing about the fluidity of marine wildlife distribution is that we could well go out next Wednesday and be surrounded by dolphins 🙂

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Murky; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 26/07/19

by on Aug.02, 2019, under North Sea

Glassy calm sea, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Puffins, Common Scoters, Gannets, a couple of Harbour Porpoises putting in brief appearances…and torrential rain and generally murky conditions all made for a quite atmospheric 4hr evening pelagic 🙂

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Druridge Bay Safari 25/07/19

by on Aug.02, 2019, under Druridge Bay

On a warm muggy afternoon I collected Julie & Paul and Geoff and Minouche ahead of an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

Late July is often a time to watch waders, and after a riverside walk that produced good views of a Dipper we started working our way through the coastal pools. A Barn Owl was ghosting its way along a hedgerow as Little Egrets and Grey Herons stalked through the shallows, a Water Rail scurried between clumps of rush and an impressive array of waders was well appreciated; Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Knot, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Ringed Plover were all roosting or feeding, a Spotted Redshank flew over, the trilling whistles of Whimbrel cut through the evening air and panic spread the the wader flocks as a male Marsh Harrier quartered the reedbeds and the precursors to the big Starling murmurations of the winter speckled the sky.

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Porpoiseful observation; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 24/07/19

by on Jul.25, 2019, under North Sea

Yesterday’s 4hr evening pelagic started with a sky that looked certain to deliver an impressive sunset…

With little swell and only a very gentle westerly breeze, the sea was as smooth as we’ve seen it in a while. Puffins and Guillemots were on the water and skittering across the surface as we passed them, Kittiwakes were following us, Gannets soared by, flocks of Common Scoter were rafting then taking off and speckling the steel grey sky to the east and the star of the show was the tiny, undemonstrative Harbour Porpoise. we don’t encounter them very often so finding at least two mother/calf pairs was a real bonus 🙂

Harbour Porpoises were the stars of the show on our 4hr evening pelagic on 24/07/19
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A swell time ;-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 19/07/19

by on Jul.22, 2019, under North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

Friday’s 4hr evening pelagic headed out of the Tyne piers into a stiff breeze and long rolling swell…

Kittiwakes and Fulmars circled the boat, Gannets soared by, Manx Shearwaters rose out of the troughs and up over wave crests before vanishing back behind the swell, Puffins , Guillemots and Razorbills sat on the water before making a frantic escape and small flocks of Common Scoter passed by.

Heading south a dolphin put in a brief and stealthy appearance so we were soon on our way again…and six White-beaked Dolphins were suddenly bow-riding in the gloom of a cloud laden sunset 🙂

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Blustery; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 17/07/19

by on Jul.19, 2019, under North Sea

Wednesday’s 4hr evening pelagic had a forecast that looked good…

We checked south of the Tyne first and were accompanied by Kittiwakes and Fulmars on a stiffening westerly as Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills sat on the water, Gannets soared past and flocks of Common Scoter speckled the dark grey sky. By the time we found a couple of White-beaked Dolphins the rain was quite heavy but almost everyone stayed out on deck watching them 🙂

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
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