Tag: Fulmar

Shifting breeze; Bespoke Druridge Bay Safari 17/09/18

by on Sep.18, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Yesterday was a Bespoke Druridge Bay Safari for Russell and Elena and I was glad it was happening before the forecast deterioration in the weather over the next few days.  I collected them from Rothbury and we headed towards the coast and an afternoon and evening around NEWT’s local patch, which turned into an enlightening discussion about photography, food, fly fishing and Sea Buckthorn…

Tufted Ducks, Mallards and a very smart Wigeon were all illuminated by some very nice light and, as we watched a Little Stint scurrying around between Curlew, Lapwing, Common Redshank and Spotted Redshank there was obviously some unease among the waders.  Canada Geese and a Cormorant were looking very alert and the Lapwings took flight before settling again.  Then the cause of all the agitation appeared and we watched the Otter on and off for around 90 minutes before it disappeared next to a reedbed 🙂  Little Egrets were roosting in riverside trees and there was another outbreak of consternation as Mallards all hurried off and a flock of Black-headed Gulls circled something swimming across the river.  It was long and sleek like an Otter, but there was something about the way it was holding its head at an angle that just didn’t seem right…then the Grey Squirrel got out of the water and ran towards the trees!

Our picnic spot overlooking a fairly calm North Sea brought Fulmars and Gannets, and a walk along a well vegetated track produced lots of bees, relatively docile in the cooling evening air, and a Red Admiral as well as plenty of Speckled Wood butterflies.  As dusk approached Swallows and House Martins were gorging themselves on a myriad of flying insects and there was more unrest among roosting birds.  First a sudden departure of Cormorants, then ducks scattered and an Otter appeared briefly before vanishing into the reeds next to a group of Mute Swans.  A female Marsh Harrier caused even more panic then, with Water Rails squealing all around us, a Sparrowhawk was harassed by Carrion Crows and Pink-footed Geese arrived in noisy yapping flocks against a darkening sky with Mars, Saturn and the Moon all bright away to the south there was another kerfuffle against the reeds and not one, not two, not three, but four Otters feeding in the shallows as the light levels dropped to ‘challenging’ 😉  Fade to black…

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Having a whale of a time; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 29/08/18

by on Sep.03, 2018, under North Sea

Last Wednesday was our second 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate pelagic’ for this year and the sea was looking about as calm as we could have hoped for…

Our first White-beaked Dolphins appeared off Blyth but they weren’t in a mood for playing with the boat and were engaged in high speed pursuit of prey.  Gannets, Fulmars and Kittiwakes were regular throughout the whole day and then circling flocks of Gannets took us to Minke Whales, more Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins, even more Minke Whales, more White-beaked Dolphins, even more White-beaked Dolphins and more Minke Whales before a final group of White-beaked Dolphins and a scattering of Harbour Porpoises as we headed south with a day total of 50+ White-beaked Dolphins and up to 12 Minke Whales 🙂

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla,Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis,White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

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Heading offshore; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 14/08/18

by on Aug.15, 2018, under North Sea

Yesterday was the first of our 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic’ sailings for this year and it started well with two Harbour Porpoises at the mouth of the Tyne, then another two a couple of miles further north.  As Gannets soared by, Fulmars circled us and Kittiwakes and Lesser Black-backed Gulls tagged along in our wake, two White-beaked Dolphins put in a brief appearance and the swell started to build.  By mid-afternoon we’d got heavy rain and then another 5 dolphins spent a couple of minutes bow-riding 🙂

Our August 29th, September 15th and September 22nd 10hr sailings each have two places still available so give us a call on 01670 827465 to book your place 🙂

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris,Northumberland,dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting Northumberland, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting England, dolphin spotting North Sea, whale watching Northumberland, whale watching UK, whale watching England, whale watching North Sea

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Waiting for the weather; Druridge Bay Bespoke Birdwatching 13/08/18

by on Aug.15, 2018, under Druridge Bay

With a fairly awful weather forecast for Sunday, we’d rescheduled Linda and Peter’s day with NEWT around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland for Monday, where the forecast suggested it would rain until lunchtime and then improve after that…

Pre-lunch it was indeed lovely weather for ducks and Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Tufted Duck all provided slightly more of an ID challenge than usual with the drakes now in eclipse plumage.  Hundreds of Greylag Geese were roosting as an assortment of waders fed around them; Avocet, Lapwing, Dunlin, elegant Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Knot, Curlew, Common Redshank and a Greenshank that heralded it’s arrival with a strident “tyeu tyeu tyeu”.  Water Rails were nervously dashing in and out of the reed edge as Moorhens fed more boldly away from the edge, Coots demonstrated that they have none of the nervousness of their relatives and Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows enjoyed a feast of flying insects in the warm, humid air..  Lunch overlooking the North Sea brought Gannets and Fulmars soaring effortlessly over the water.  Walking along a narrow hedge-lined track a Sparrowhawk burst through the bushes, carrying a hapless bird as Tree Sparrows delivered a noisy lament for the fallen.

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A Storm of Puffins; Druridge Bay Bespoke Birdwatching 30/07/18

by on Aug.05, 2018, under Coquet Island, Druridge Bay

Wouldn’t that be a great title for the next book in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series (Game of Thrones)?  I’ve met a few people over the last 10 years who expected Puffins to be much larger than they actually are, so the idea of unleashing a horde of them on your enemies could have some merit…

Alex, Jess and Tom had booked two days out with us – Saturday and Sunday – both of which had a forecast that couldn’t have been clearer that we wouldn’t be able to sail either around Coquet Island or to the Farnes so we’d hastily rescheduled to Monday and Tuesday, with ‘gentler’ sea conditions forecast.  I collected them from Embleton and we headed south down the coast to our local patch, Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland, pausing at Cullernose Point to have a look at the Kittiwakes and Fulmars.

Late July is a great time to watch waders on the Northumberland coast and Avocet, Dunlin, Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Lapwing, Common Snipe, Curlew, Common Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover were all impressive, but outshone by a stunning summer-plumaged Grey Plover.  A Little Owl was perched quietly by a farm building and our next port of call brought a Little Gull and an Otter that was feeding next to some apparently unconcerned Mute Swans and some very concerned Tufted Ducks 🙂

Then it was time to head off for a sailing around Coquet Island with Dave Gray’s Puffin Cruises.  The stiff southeasterly and a bit of swell meant a very steady crossing was in order.  As we sailed along the Coquet a raft of 27 Goosanders were near the Warkworth side of the river and as we made the short sea crossing Puffins, Sandwich, Arctic and Common Terns and Grey Seals began to appear.  Ghostly pale Roseate Terns were sitting on the nesting terraces that have been constructed for them and one or two were picked out as they flew by as a veritable storm of Puffins whirled around above the island.

Heading back home at the end of the afternoon I was looking forward to an evening at the Battlesteads Observatory and then Tuesday’s trip to Inner Farne.  I was starting to feel a bit peaky though, but that’s a whole other story…

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Here come the White-beaks :-) NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 11/07/18

by on Jul.13, 2018, under North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

Wednesday was our 5th evening pelagic this year and after Bottlenose Dolphins putting in a good shift on our 2nd sailing, followed by a coupe of stunning sunsets last week, the question on everyone’s lips was “Will England make it to the World Cup final?”…

A few scattered whitecaps and a bit of swell, combined with a lot of glare, make observing tricky and we scanned every flock of gulls and Gannets as we headed north.  Fulmars and Manx Shearwaters passed by on stiff wings, low over the sea and a flock of Common Scoter went north ahead of us.  As we turned back south, having the sun behind us helped, as did the gradual decrease in the sea state and swell.  Scanning along a tide line towards a distant flock of diving Gannets I almost dropped my binoculars as a White-beaked Dolphin started breaching repeatedly away to the east of us.  As everyone else started looking in the same direction, the dolphin unobligingly failed to breach again…but the distinctive dorsal fins and slow diving behaviour of five White-beaked Dolphins more than made up for that 🙂

We’re steadily filling all of our sailings for this year, but we’ve still got as few spaces on our 4hr evening sailings on July 18th and August 1st/8th as well as our 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic sailings on September 15th, 19th and 22nd.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 or visit our pelagic page for more information or to book.

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

White-beaked Dolphins [Lagenorhynchus albirostris] were the highlight of our 4hr North Sea pelagic sailing on 11/07/18

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Owling; Druridge Bay Safari 10/07/18

by on Jul.13, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Tuesday was Roger’s 3rd day out with NEWT and this time Mandy was joining him for an afternoon and evening exploring NEWT’s local patch – Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

After a run of very hot days the weather had relented, although only slightly, and we started the trip with a woodland walk beside the river Blyth.  Family parties of Nuthatch and Treecreeper were chattering away among themselves as they explored tree trunks, branches and the sun-dappled canopy and our target bird for the walk appeared, as a juvenile Dipper tentatively poked it’s face in the river while keeping it’s feet on drier ground.  Fulmars were arcing along the clifftop at our picnic spot overlooking the North Sea and a small flock of Common Scoter passed by.  Avocet, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Common Snipe and a Whimbrel were all on mud freshly exposed by the heat of the Sun and Starlings were starting to murmurate.  As we moved through the evening, the beautiful low angled sunlight was simply sublime, and illuminated Brown Hares, juvenile Water Rails and three stunning Black-tailed Godwits.  A Little Owl perched on a stone wall by the roadside gave us the withering ‘angry little man’ glare that they’re so good at and three separate Barn Owls graced us with their presence; one carrying a mouse back to the nest, one quartering a long hedgerow, and the final one, as we drove back towards Warkworth, nearly hit the car before taking evasive action and flying up over the roof 🙂

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Now you see me…; Druridge Bay Safari 22/06/18

by on Jun.26, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Last Thursday was Anne and Howard’s 2nd day out with NEWT, after a Farne Islands trip in June last year, and this time our destination was NEWT’s local patch – Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

In glorious sunshine we started with a woodland walk.  Jays and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were characteristically quite vocal, and Coal Tits, Blue Tits and Nuthatches were feeding fledglings in the branches above our heads and a Banded Demoiselle put in a graceful appearance.  We were searching for Dippers and Anne spotted one on a branch that apparently hadn’t had one on it just a few seconds earlier.  We watched it for around 20 minutes as it slept, preened stretched and then vanished as it turned it’s back towards us.  Among the sun-dappled branches just a few inches above the river it just blended into the background without it’s striking white breast on display.

After a picnic overlooking the North Sea, with Fulmars arcing by along the clifftop, we continued north along the bay.  Avocet chicks were running around the shallows as 13 adults were either incubating, feeding or engaging in some entertaining disputes with Shelducks.  In the warm afternoon sunshine damselflies were abundant and Great Crested Grebes were feeding with a single chick.  At our final site for the day 33 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding close to Tufted Ducks, Mallard and Teal and as Cormorants flew out towards the sea I caught a glimpse of a dark back as it submerged out of sight.  Probably a Cormorant, but always worth making sure…and there was an Otter 🙂  A great way to end the day!

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Lovely afternoon, murky evening; Druridge Bay Bespoke Birdwatching 13/06/18

by on Jun.14, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Yesterday was Mike and Maggie’s 5th day out with NEWT and we were heading to Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

Days out with returning clients are always a pleasure; catching up with what’s been going on since we last met and sharing notes on our local wildlife is much more an afternoon with old friends, and in this case doubly nice as Mike’s a photographer and uses Nikon gear 😉  I’d just had 3 days leading a photography holiday and getting a good look at a Sigma 150-600mm lens on a Nikon body, and Mike arrived with a Nikon 200-500mm lens on the same body that I use for wildlife photography so I’ve enjoyed some hands-on experience of the lenses that I’m (still) trying to decide between, as well as getting first-hand opinions on the lenses from photographers using them 🙂  First stop was for an obligingly still subject, and Mike and Maggie both had Bee Orchids in front of their cameras.  Our riparian woodland walk brought flycatching Grey Wagtails, Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling from the trees and a family party of Blackcaps with both adults feeding recently fledged young.  A Common Buzzard was soaring over the trees as we headed on to our picnic spot and the first very light spots of rain started to fall…

As we had our picnic, overlooking the North Sea with Gannets and Fulmars soaring over it and Grey Seals bottling just offshore the rain started to intensify and the breeze was strengthening.  Heading on we watched at least 19 Avocets, as Shelduck babies seemed intent on doing their own thing and wandering away from the protective aggression of their parents.  Then the Grey Herons began to arrive and were lining up on the bank and watching the ducklings.  Each time a heron flew it was mobbed by Avocets and Lapwings until eventually they all flew off together and disappeared behind a reedbed.  Still the rain and the breeze intensified until finally we decided that trying to see anything in the gloom of dusk was a losing battle, although not as much of a battle as it would have been if we’d been out today and wrestling with Storm Hector…

 

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Evolving; Druridge Bay Bespoke Birdwatching 05/06/18

by on Jun.06, 2018, under Druridge Bay

Yesterday was Brian and Carolyn’s 4th day out with NEWT and we were returning to the scene of their 1st – Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

As we drove down the coast from Seahouses there was an ominous bank of fog just offshore but fortunately that’s where it stayed 🙂  Since that 1st Druridge trip we’ve changed a few things, and we’ve added a new riparian walk that is rich with birdsong.  Woodpigeon, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and Blackbird were all singing around us as clouds of mayflies danced over the water and rough vegetation by the path and Common Blue Damselflies graced us with their presence.  Our picnic stop was accompanied by a Kestrel, riding the updraft from the cliff edge and hanging near motionless in the stiff breeze.  Fulmars were arcing by as lines of Gannets flew north offshore and a Great Skua lumbered menacingly into the breeze.  Shelduck and Mallard had broods of small duckings, Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall were dabbling as Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck were diving and Meadow Pipits song-flighted as Yellow Wagtails proceeded jerkily through the long grass in front of us.  Avocets were sleeping, incubating, feeding and chasing corvids as Dunlin probed in the mud of shallow pools, Ringed Plover were hurrying and scurrying through the grass and Lapwing chicks, fluffy miniature versions of their parents, explored close to the water’s edge as Black-tailed Godwits flew by, revealing their striking black and white upperwings above a wet meadow liberally sprinkled with sentinel-like Grey Herons.

Druridge is our local patch, and somewhere that we visit all year round, but we’re still discovering new locations to add into our trips there so check our website calendar and come along to explore it with us 🙂

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