Friday morning dawned dry and bright; again not exactly as predicted by the weather forecast! After breakfast we headed south to Newton by the Sea, and the tern colony at the Long Nanny estuary. The walk through the dunes was enlivened by a myriad of Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Dark Green Fritillaries as well as 2 strikingly attractive moths; Cinnabar and Narrow-bordered Five Spot Burnet, and Harebell, Pyramidal Orchid and Bloody Cranesbill.
After the tern colony, with its ~1000 pairs of Arctic Terns and 40 pairs of Little Terns we headed north through Seahouses and towards Holy Island. As we passed Budle Bay, Geoff spotted a Little Egret, still a relatively scarce species up here, and we stopped for a while to search the mudflats. As well as wading birds, we found 3 Goosander. A further stop before Holy Island provided an ideal picnic spot and the theme of passage waders continued with Golden and Grey Plover, Knot, and Curlew. A walk around the iconic location of Holy Island produced Grey Seals, Red-breasted Merganser and breathtaking views from The Heugh. We were scanning the mudflats around the mouth of the South Low when a nearby Oystercatcher began calling in alarm. The cause of that alarm appeared just a few seconds later and we watched the Peregrine Falcon as it raced low across the mud before perching obligingly.
Against the backdrop of another iconic location, Bamburgh Castle, we scanned the Eider flock just offshore. A lone drake Common Scoter was proving difficult to pin down, but the arrival of a flock of 60 scoters allowed everyone to enjoy good views and appreciate the variation in the bill pattern of the drakes. Just before returning to Seahouses, we stopped to scan Monk’s House Pool; a Pintail was picked out by Roy, and 2 Common Sandpipers were walking along the edge of the pond. 8 Golden Plover flew by and a male Stonechat perched close by on a fence post.
An after-dinner excursion produced 2 Brown Hares, a Roe Deer and her fawn in the gloom, and the first rain of the trip…