Tag: Gannet

Subtle sunset…and here come the White-beaks :-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 10/07/19

by on Jul.11, 2019, under North Sea

After a cetacean-free pelagic last Friday I was hopeful that Bottlenose Dolphins have mainly moved north and White-beaked Dolphins would be here any day now…

A flock of Common Scoter off Whitley Bay liftg4d from the water and flew past us, Puffins and Common Guillemots were sitting on the sea, Gannets soared past and myself and Tim both spotted a large, slow moving fin away to the north. It looked like a probable Minke Whale, although we couldn’t relocate it, but then breaching White-beaked Dolphins appeared from the north and showed brief interest in the boat ๐Ÿ™‚

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St Mary’s sunset; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 05/07/19

by on Jul.09, 2019, under North Sea

Friday’s 4hr pelagic demonstrated just how quickly things can change with our marine wildlife. A few Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets and small flocks of Manx Shearwaters and a bigger flock of Common Scoter were far fewer birds than on our previous sailings and the echo finder showed that there was very little in the way of shoals of bait fish. The end of the evening brought another stunning sunset behind St Mary’s Island, with a whale-shaped gap in the clouds, as we headed back towards the marina ๐Ÿ™‚

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Dolphins and a stunning sunset :-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 03/07/19

by on Jul.04, 2019, under Bottlenose Dolphin, North Sea

We set out from Royal Quays in better conditions than on Friday and Laura quickly found the Bottlenose Dolphins just around the corner in King Edward’s Bay again ๐Ÿ™‚

With Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Common Scoters all seen as we headed north towards Newbiggin, Laura spotted more dolphins and they came to bow-ride the JFK Two as the dipping Sun bathed them in beautiful light as Jupiter rose through the Belt of Venus and a stunning sunset provided a backdrop to St Mary’s Island as we headed back to the river ๐Ÿ™‚

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Head’s up :-) Bespoke Farne Islands Safari 27/06/19

by on Jul.01, 2019, under Farne Islands

Thursday was a Farne Islands Safari, and after we cancelled Wednesday’s 4hr pelagic due to the rather lumpy sea I was pleased to see that it was nice and calm as I collected Peter and Jan from Newbiggin…

A Kestrel perched obligingly on a telegraph pole as we headed up the coast and our first stop, for Arctic and Little Terns, produced an unexpected Spotted Redshank and a Ringed Plover as well as an extraordinary number of Common Blue butterflies and a good number of Painted Ladies over the incredible carpet of Bloody Cranesbill in the dunes with Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Stonechat all along the walk.

After having our picnic on the beach at Beadnell we headed to Seahouses and discovered that parking spaces were in short supply so we parked on the edge of the town and walked down to the harbour where Eiders were on the water with well-grown young, for our sailing on board Glad Tidings. Rafts of Puffins on the water scattered ahead of the boats heading towards the islands as lines of Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin headed back to their hungry chicks. Gannets soared past as Grey Seals lazed on the rocks, Cormorants and Shags dried their wings in heraldic pose, Fulmars skirted the clifftops, the onomatopoeic cries of Kittiwakes echoed in the rocky gullies and the stiff breeze spared us the ‘experience’ of the unmistakable aroma of a seabird colony ๐Ÿ™‚

Landing on Inner Farne we walked along the boardwalk, where the Arctic Terns were less aggressive than just a week earlier, tern chicks were starting to extend and flap their still developing wings, Black-headed Gulls were mobbing Puffins as they tried to get back to their burrows, and the pufflings waiting inside, Common and Sandwich Terns kept themselves to themselves (something we should all be grateful for, particularly in the case of Sandwich Tern!) and I mentioned that halfway along one stretch of boardwalk there would probably be an Arctic Tern that would approach you but not attack, and would adopt your head as perch if you stood still. Sure enough, the tern behaved just as predicted and landed on Jan’s head ๐Ÿ™‚

After the short journey back to the mainland we headed back down the coast with a brief stop to admire an Avocet close to the road ๐Ÿ™‚

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About tern :-) Farne Islands Safari 20/06/19

by on Jun.21, 2019, under Farne Islands

Yesterday was an opportunity to head to ‘the Galapagos of the North‘ and I collected Ruth D from Newbiggin then Ruth S and Margaret from Seahouses before heading a few miles down the coast for a morning walk to the Long Nanny…

With brilliantly coloured Common Blue butterflies, some very worn Painted Ladies and a Cinnabar moth in the middle of the track, the dunes were a stunning carpet of Bloody Cranesbill, studded with Pyramidal and Northern Marsh Orchids. Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were song-flighting and with the breeze carrying sound out to sea, we were almost at the tern colony before we heard them. Little Terns were sitting quietly on the sand and Arctic Terns were feeding chicks just a few metres away from us. As each adult tern arrived with food, every chick it passed over raised a wide-open beak in hope of being fed ๐Ÿ˜‰

After a picnic lunch on the beach (“winning at life” in the words of Ruth S), it was time to head to Seahouses and board Glad Tidings III for the sailing to Inner Farne. I first did that trip with Sarah while were students at Newcastle Uni in the late 90’s, and there’s still the same sense of wonder as you leave the harbour with it’s creches of Eider and head the short distance to the islands…

First there’s an occasional Guillemot or Puffin sitting on the sea or flying past. Within a few minutes there are rafts of auks on the water and the air is filled with lines of Puffin, Razorbill and Guillemot returning from foraging trips, or heading out to sea, as Kittiwakes shriek their name from precipitous cliff ledges, Gannets soar by effortlessly, Grey Seals laze on the rocks and the smell, the indescribable smell of a colony of seabirds that have an almost entirely fish-based diet, hits you for the first time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once your visual, auditory and olfactory senses have all been given a good hammering it’s time for the final assault. Sandwich and Common Terns are relatively peaceful, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Shags are apparently indifferent to humans standing just a few feet way from their nest sites, Black-headed Gulls reserve their menace for kletoparasitism of the island’s Puffins who have become rather adept at flying straight into burrow entrances and the Puffins themselves wander across the boardwalk in front of you or poke their heads out of burrows and have a look at you as you walk past.

Arctic Terns though, they’re a different kettle of fish-eating aggression altogether. Occasionally you’ll get a loud chattering warning, some of them will jab at your hands from fence-post perches if you’re getting too close to the edge of the boardwalk or if you have the temerity to lift a camera to take a photograph of them and some will just decide to perch on your head, giving themselves a ‘king of the castle’ view of their nest. Then there are the ones that relentlessly swoop and peck at your head/hat/ears/sunglasses. Wear a hat and keep moving ๐Ÿ™‚

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Heron aid :-) Otter Safari 14/05/19

by on May.15, 2019, under Druridge Bay

Under warm sunshine I arrived in Newbiggin to collect Sue and Caroline, Ellen and Tom and Mark and Kay ahead of an afternoon and evening exploring NEWT’s favourite Otter locations around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland…

Walking through sun-dappled woodland with Robins, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Chaffinches singing, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch calling and Wrens furtively flitting through waterside vegetation we could hear the harsh cawing of two Carrion Crows from a bare treetop, and a few feet below them was the cause of their ire; a Grey Heron just minding its own business…although to be fair to the crows, a Grey Heron just standing still is probably up to something ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Buzzard was soaring above the treetops, two more herons were playing cat-and-mouse with us along the river and then Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Shelduck, Mallard and Gadwall were all sedate in the afternoon sunshine and Common Sandpipers were sitting on a mid-river log as the short scratchy warble of a Whitethroat came from a bramble patch.

After our picnic spot overlooking the North Sea produced Sand Martins, Swallows, a Gannet heading south offshore and a Grey Seal bobbing around in the surf, the beautiful evening light was bathing Avocets, including several mating pairs, Lapwings, Curlew, Dunlin and a Grey Heron that found itself on the receiving end of an agitated Avocet…once the Avocet had given up on fighting with a Curlew ๐Ÿ™‚

With dusk approaching and the waxing gibbous Moon illuminating the landscape Great Crested Grebes were nest-building, Black-headed Gulls were flycatching over the trees and the water and Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallards and Tufted Ducks were all suddenly alert. With dusk taking hold and Vega, Arcturus and Capella all shining through the gloom the tufties took flight after all staring at the same spot, just out of sight behind a reedbed from our position…

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Misty, murky :-) Druridge Bay Safari 24/04/19

by on Apr.25, 2019, under Druridge Bay

As I collected Patrick and Susan from Newbiggin for an afternoon and evening exploring NEWT’s local patch, Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland, there were some impressive waves breaking in the bay…

A flock of Black-headed Gulls were pestering a Grey Heron that flew off, voicing its disapproval, and then they turned their attentions to a female Red-breasted Merganser who had to surface and dive in quick succession to avoid their attentions as a Curlew probed the mud along the water’s edge, Cormorants sat sentinel-like on dead trees mid-river and a handsome Grey Wagtail had taken an unusual perch on a folding chair ๐Ÿ˜‰ Robin, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Blackbird were all singing and a song-flighting Whitethroat settled in a spot where we could see him through the branches as a charm of Goldfinches landed in a small tree nearby.

For the last year we’ve had a really nice Dipper nest site that can be watched without disturbance and a Dipper with a beakful of food soon appeared and flew up to the nest. It returned to a mid-stream rock and spent a little while preening before sticking it’s head into the water and looking around for food. A second bird brought food to the nest and then the first bird was remarkably obliging and fed underwater almost directly below us so we could see it as it darted around and probed in the river bed as Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Long-tailed Tits called nearby and the trilling of a Nuthatch cut through the trees around some open grass where two Song Thrushes were gathering food.

Our picnic spot overlooking the huge crashing waves of the North Sea produced lines of Gannets offshore, Eider riding the swell just beyond the breaking surf and a Kestrel hovering on the wind nearby and demonstrating it’s scanning technique very obligingly.

Dusk came sooner than expected in increasingly heavy mist and as a flock of Oystercatchers, Lapwing, Redshank, Avocet and Curlew repeatedly flushed, Grey Herons disputed feeding spots and Water Rails squealed from the reeds the hectic warbling of Sedge Warblers and the reeling of Grasshopper Warblers cut through the gloom as we headed back to the car.

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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.ย  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.ย  Canada Geese and a Cormorant were looking very alert and the Lapwings took flight before settling again.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ย  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.ย  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.ย  As dusk approached Swallows and House Martins were gorging themselves on a myriad of flying insects and there was more unrest among roosting birds.ย  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.ย  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’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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.ย  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.ย  By mid-afternoon we’d got heavy rain and then another 5 dolphins spent a couple of minutes bow-riding ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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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