Beauty in the ‘mundane’

by on Aug.30, 2013, under Birdwatching, Grey Seal, Lindisfarne, Northumberland

LBJ.  No, not the 36th President of the United States, but the acronym used by many birdwatchers to describe any relatively small, nondescript brown bird – ‘Little Brown Job’.  Over the last few years, a number of our clients have applied that term to two birds that I always think deserve closer attention…

I collected Jo and Kirsty from Alnwick for their second consecutive day out with me and we headed straight up the coast and made our way on to Holy IslandCurlews were passing overhead as we walked around the bits of the island that weren’t full of other people, those two LBJ’s, Skylark and Meadow Pipit, were dodging in and out of long grass in the fields by the path, Kirsty started photographing Swallows and quickly progressed to using flash to freeze the action as they hovered in front of us feeding beakfuls of flies to recently fledged juveniles and Golden Plover and Oystercatcher were probing around rockpools as Grey Seals bobbed about in the gentle surf just offshore.  Edges are always a productive area; edges of fields, woodland, moorland and the shoreline – that ever shifting edge of the sea and the land.  That latter edge produced some stunning Bar-tailed Godwits, and an impressively large group of very vocal Grey Seals.

As we continued back down the coast the mist thickened and we were eventually in the surreal position of having blazing sunshine on our backs and visibility of less than 100m in front of us.  As a loose flock of Eiders drifted close inshore and then back out again, and Swallows and House Martins hawked insects low over the beach, a dark menacing shape drifted out of the mist, passed in front of us, and then drifted back into the impenetrable white mass.  Always a bird to grab the attention on a seawatch, the Arctic Skua was only in view for a few seconds as it made it’s way south along the coast, and we headed inland into glorious weather again.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Ivor

    Some of my favourite birds are common LBJs, Martin. They are always so full of character, more so than many bigger, more easily spotted birds. Sitting and watching bold little Dunnock or the flock of 80+ boisterous house and tree sparrows that we have in our garden at this time of year is a real treat for me. Reed warblers are great to watch too. The female blackbirds that follow me about wanting a few sultanas or mealworms that I take with me are top of the list at the moment.

    I’m enjoying reading your blog.


  • martin

    Hi Ivor

    The unheralded birds are often the ones that turn out to be fascinating when we take time to stop and watch them. Glad you’re enjoying the blog 🙂 Will have to catch up soon.

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