Tag: Common Gull

Rising tide; Northumberland Coast Bespoke Birdwatching 09/10/2015

by on Oct.10, 2015, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland Coast

Friday was Tony’s third, and final, day of bespoke birdwatching with NEWT and we headed north in similar weather to Thursday…

Travelling north, Roe Deer seemed unsure which way to run across the road so dodged back and forth in front of us.  On the rising tide, Little Egrets, Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank and Oystercatcher were hunting along the water’s edge, Pale-bellied Brent Geese were leapfrogging north, Pink-footed Geese flew south high overhead as the ‘choo-it’ calls of a Spotted Redshank and eerie moaning of Grey Seals cut through the tranquil air.  A Common Buzzard was perched on a telegraph pole and the rising tide brought more birds towards us, Herring, Common, Black-headed, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Ruff, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Wigeon, Goosander, Mallard and Teal were more obliging than distant swirling flocks of Lapwing and Barnacle Goose and a noisy tribe of Long-tailed Tits moved through the trees behind us.  Lunch at Stag Rocks produced Common Eider, Guillemot, Gannet, Red-throated Diver, Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper and Shag, then Greenshank and Shoveler were soon added to the day list as we continued south down the coast.  Panic amongst Herring Gulls and Cormorants revealed a Grey Seal swimming along the River Coquet and Great Crested Grebe and Goldeneye were the final new birds for Tony’s holiday as a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew by and Greylag and Pink-footed Geese began arriving at their overnight roost.

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Roost

by on Sep.19, 2011, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

Friday was our fourth Druridge Bay/southeast Northumberland safari of the week, and it was a real pleasure to meet up with Lawrie and Linda, 2 of our returning clients from last year.

We started with a specific request; Brown Hare.  In the strong wind, persistent drizzle and biting cold they were keeping their heads down…all except for one which raised it’s ears, and then it’s head, above the stubble before demonstrating a remarkable vanishing act.

In Newbiggin Bay, with a big menacing sea breaking in the background, a flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew north as we watched the Turnstones, Ringed Plover, Redshanks and Sanderling on the edge of the surf.

Fields of Curlew, and fighting cock Pheasants, provided additional entertainment as we drove down the coast.  I’d decided on East Chevington as our final destination of the trip and, as we arrived and began walking down to the North Pool, it looked as though the weather might get the better of us.  The wind was strengthening and the first few drops of rain began to fall as a juvenile Merlin raced across the fenceline in front of us looking, in the fading light, like an oversized hirundine.  The evening roost on the pool was building and hundreds of Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Herring, Black-headed and Common Gulls were sitting in the shallow water with Sandwich Terns, Lapwings, Knot, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon, Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen and Canada and Greylag Geese.  Then Pink-footed Geese and more Greylag Geese began arriving, and the 4 Snow Geese that we saw last Sunday flew in to join the throng.  A wave of panic spread through the roost, and many of the birds lifted into the air as a Bittern flew from one reedbed to another.  Eventually, even the silhouettes began to merge into the darkness and the birds began to settle as we left the hide and braved the driving rain.  With the footpaths and roads now covered in puddles the walk to the car, and the drive back to Alnwick, featured lots of Common Frogs and Common Toads, as well as a Tawny Owl that was perched on a fence post next to a line of trees.

It was a great experience to enjoy some pretty awful weather, and some superb wildlife, with Lawrie and Linda. I’ll never get fed up with what we do, and the weather is all a par tof the tapestry of that.

Thanks for the chocolates 🙂

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A Rosy outlook

by on May.24, 2010, under Birdwatching, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast

Saturday saw a change in our normal Safari routine, and an early afternoon start.  I collected Gareth and Ruth from the Red Lion at Alnmouth and we drove south.  The hot, sunny weather had brought out hundreds of people to Plessey Woods but we still found a peaceful, undisturbed glade where we could listen to the birds singing and we watched a female Great Spotted Woodpecker; at least we were able to watch her until she realised that we were!  Cresswell Pond produced a real avian soap opera as a Mute Swan defended his pond against two interlopers, racing across the pond like the Spanish Armada.  A Little Gull was as cute and dimunitive as ever, alongside Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls.  Druridge Pools was hosting some obviously confused geese; amongst the expected flock of Greylags there were single Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese as well.  A late finish concluded with a beautiful, ghostly Barn Owl and at least 3 different species of bat along the River Coquet at dusk.

Sunday was a day for doing whatever we felt like.  With temperatures still soaring, a day inland, doing survey work for the BTO Bird Atlas, was considered then rejected in favour of a visit to the coast.

Sarah had the excellent idea of taking a boat trip around Coquet Island, which I was really enthusiastic about.  When myself and Tom Cadwallender from the Northumberland Coast AONB were designing the backdrop for this year’s Birdwatching Northumberland stand at the Bird Fair we chose eight species that we felt symbolised Northumberland birding; Curlew, Eider, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Golden Plover, Black Grouse, Roseate Tern, Dipper and Puffin.  A mix of everything that’s good about birdwatching in Northumberland; inland, coastal, summer and winter.  I had images of seven of those species, but the Roseate Tern is the one that I haven’t photographed during the digital age.  Hence, my enthusiasm for a trip around Coquet Island; with 35-40 Rosies already back at their Northumberland colony I was hopeful that photo opportunities would arise.  As we sailed across to the island onboard Shokwave, there was a strengthening NNE breeze and the temperature began to decrease rapidly.  Once Dennis manouvered the boat into the jetty, we could see Roseates sitting on their nest boxes.  They were a bit distant for photography so I waited patiently until I heard the distinctive ‘choo-it’ call and a bird flew by the boat.

Britain's rarest breeding seabird

Grey Seals popped their heads above the water to look at the boat, Puffins whizzed past at breakneck speed and more Roseates were busy displaying around the boxes.

Roseate Tern

After a pleasant Sunday morning cruise it was time to return home. En route, we stopped off to check a Little Owl nest site and one of the adult birds sat staring at us from the roof of a derelict building.  Finalising the paperwork for a forthcoming project was followed by a wonderful evening sitting on our patio, drinking wine and working on part of our bonsai collection as Blackbirds were singing from our trees and Coal Tits collected food to take to the noisy, and hungry, nestlings that we could hear.  Now, that’s my idea of heaven 🙂

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