Archive for June, 2021

summertime?; otter mini-Safari 13/06/21

by on Jun.14, 2021, under Druridge Bay

After a few very warm sunny days, it was grey and cooler when I arrived to meet up with Teresa and Pam for an evening in Druridge Bay

In the cooler conditions the dense clouds of chironomid midges had gone, but the songs of meadow pipit, reed bunting, skylark, willow warbler, common whitethroat and chiffchaff were all typical of an evening trip at this time of year. The chip-chip-chip calls of a snipe came from a clump of rushes and avocets were keeping watch over chicks and angrily pursuing crows that flew by, while lapwings harassed a marsh harrier, and common terns fished in front of us. A pair of great crested grebes were just a few metres away from where we’d seen them recently, mute swans brought their cygnets out from a reedbed, two male marsh harriers flew by in quick succession, the eerie cries of curlew drifted across the pools, grey herons squabbled over fishing spots, an otherwise uninspiring sunset painted the northern and western horizon with a pastel pink glow, and mini-murmurations of starlings formed and twisted and turned as Teresa spotted a dark sinuous shape that vanished behind the reeds in front of us.

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This is the sound of the summer; otter mini-Safari 10/06/21

by on Jun.11, 2021, under Druridge Bay

As I arrived to meet up with with Peter and Melanie, and Kristina and Paul, for an evening in Druridge Bay, the sky overhead was fluffy white clouds on an azure background but away to the north it looked grey and ominous…

Tufted ducks and Canada geese were alert as a Marsh Harrier drifted by, mobbed by lapwings and gulls, and a whimbrel flew north with just one burst of its distinctive trill. Swifts, swallows and black-headed gulls were all feasting on an abundance of chironomid (non-biting!) midges and, as we paused to admire a common toad that was staring impassively at us from the footpath, a common snipe was drumming high overhead.

Walking along the coastal path we were accompanied by the songs of common whitethroat, chiffchaff, willow warbler, reed warbler, skylark, meadow pipit and reed bunting, another marsh harrier was quartering reedbeds and fields and the loud song of a great reed warbler carried across fields on the southerly breeze as we came across northern marsh orchids and bloody cranesbill. As common and sandwich terns bathed in fresh water, a pair of great crested grebes radiated elegance, and the head of tiny chick put in a cameo appearance between it’s parent’s wings 🙂 A roe deer was grazing, unconcerned by our presence, on the edge of a reedbed and later in the evening we watched a younger deer that seemed to be struggling with the concept of needing to jump over a fence to get out of a field (despite having jumped over it to get in there in the first place!).

A starling murmuration contained around 100 birds and as a stunning sunset gave way to dusk, with Arcturus and the summer triangle prominent overhead, grey herons decided to end the day with a dispute over prime feeding spots.

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Forecasting; NEWT’s 4hr North Sea pelagic 02/06/21

by on Jun.03, 2021, under Uncategorized

Yesterday’s 4hr evening pelagic looked in doubt a few days ago, with stiff easterlies and 1.5m waves in the forecast. As the day approached, the forecast was looking much more promising, so I left the office under clear blue skies and bright sunshine for the 25min drive to the marina. Half way there and Jo ‘phoned “There’s a thick fret rolling in”, and by the time I reached the marina it was murky, overcast, and a chilly southeasterly breeze had everyone checking that they’d packed hats, gloves and spare layers…

NECP surveyors braving the cold were watching bottlenose dolphins in the mouths of the Tyne and the Wear as we sailed from the marina but, as we reached the fish quay, the dolphins in the Tyne had headed south, other than two briefly seen fins between the starboard navigation markers. South was the obvious direction for us too, and in increasing swell we passed Marsden Rock as kittiwakes, fulmars, razorbills, guillemots and gannets flew by. Jo spotted a small group of dolphins and we lowered our speed and changed course to avoid heading straight for them. We were on course to pass a few hundred metres to the side of them, but the dolphins had other ideas…

A few of this year’s sailings are fully booked already but there are some with spaces still available. Have a look at our pelagics page to see which sailings are available and get in touch to book your place and join in the fun 🙂

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