Autumnal February

by on Feb.22, 2011, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

Finishing a mini-safari at dusk combines two of my greatest pleasures; showing our clients the wildlife and landscape of Northumberland, and still being outside as it gets dark.

I met up with Alastair, Roz, Keith and Marian mid-afternoon last Thursday for a few hours of wildlife and birdwatching around Druridge Bay and Southeast Northumberland.  As I got out of our Landrover in the car park at Church Point, it occurred to me that it was so cold and misty that I’d be really quite excited if it was mid-October 🙂  Even so, in mid-February a mini-safari finishing at dusk is still exciting.

Beside the River Coquet, a wave of panic rippled through the Jackdaws and Woodpigeons.  No sign of any cause though.  Then another wave of panic and a Sparrowhawk raced by, narrowly missing a Black-headed Gull perched on a fence post.  A group of Roe Deer were spotted by Marian, walking along a ridge opposite us and vanishing behind the bushes before reappearing and then vanishing again.  At least 28 Goldeneye were displaying on the river, the comical contortions of the drakes providing good entertainment.  Almost as good as the entertainment provided by the sense of humour of all 4 clients 🙂

A flock of 25 Goldfinches was well appreciated, as were all of the tiny lambs in the fields nearby and no fewer than 9 Grey Herons all sitting around one small pool.  A pair of Pintail were dabbling, as dabbling ducks do, and Alastair’s sharp eyes provided a Barn Owl for the list as it ghosted it’s way through the sky above the flooded meadows.

Dusk beside a pool with a wader roost is almost indescribable; Lapwing, Curlew and Dunlin all huddled close together is quite a sight but the thing that takes almost everybody by surprise is the noise.  The level of vocalisation between the birds is extraordinary, and then the Lapwings fall silent as they begin to fly off to feeding areas.  Then, as the light faded to a level where binoculars, and even our eyes, weren’t really sufficient anymore, the trumpeting of 24 Whooper Swans coming to roost rounded the day off.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Alastair & Roz

    This was a great afternoon out with Martin & would highly recommend this to any prospective clients.

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