When the weather is miserable…

by on Jan.21, 2010, under Lindisfarne, Northumberland

After the changeable weather during the Birdwatching Northumberland press trip culminated in excellent conditions on Monday, I hoped that we would get more of the same on Tuesday for a Lindisfarne Safari that I was leading.  It looked good; at home we had a heavy frost and clear blue skies.  Yet just a few miles down the road, as I headed to Gosforth to collect our client, there was a bank of thick fog.  Not to worry, conditions might be better on Holy Island…they weren’t, in fact the fog was even thicker.  As we stood on the Heugh it was eerie.  A bitingly cold southeasterly wind and visibility down to just a few metres.  Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Herring Gulls could all be heard through the mist and we continued our journey around the island.  Song Thrushes lifted from each clump of grass as we walked towards the harbour and slightly improved visibility allowed us to look closely at Teal, Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlew.  Lichens and mosses came under great scrutiny (remarkable structures when viewed under a hand lens).  Off the island we found Pale-bellied Brent Geese, small groups of Whooper Swans, a field with lots of Greylag and Pink-footed Geese (and a ‘Canalag’ hybrid), several Kestrels, an incredibly obliging Common Buzzard, a mixed thrush flock (Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Blackbird), plenty of waders and, finally, as the mist returned and brought steady rainfall with it, Common Scoter, Shag and Eider on the sea. As we drove back down the A1 the worsening weather made it seem likely that we’d had better conditions than back at home.  There’s always something to see, whatever the weather.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • CE Webster

    That’s the good thing about watching birds. You usually can see something and once in awhile you will see the really unexpected!

  • martin

    In two years of doing this as a full-time occupation, I can’t think of a day when we didn’t see either lots of birds, or big flocks, or something fairly common but very close or…

    Sometimes, the least promising conditions produce the more memorable experiences.

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