Birdwatching on Holy Island 29/05/2013

by on Jun.03, 2013, under Birdwatching, Lindisfarne, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast

After collecting Stephen for his second trip of the week, we drove north and met Susan near Holy Island, for her third trip in four days.  Our Lindisfarne safaris are always an interesting guessing game, other than in the winter when we know that we’ll find vast flocks of waders and wildfowl – although even then there’s the unknown quantity of wintering raptors.

We started down the coast in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle; sheltering from the wind and rain, we watched Gannets soaring effortlessly, Common Scoter and Eider riding the swell like the most accomplished surfers in the world, Fulmars and Kittiwakes fighting into the stiffening breeze and a Red-throated Diver sliding beneath the waves and resurfacing out of sight.

What would appear at first glance to be a long line of boulders, exposed at low tide, resolved through binoculars, as expected, into several thousand Grey Seals.  The ‘hook-nosed sea pigs’ (surely the most unflattering translation of the Latin name for any animal) were lazing on the exposed sand

On Holy Island itself the weather improved dramatically and we watched a flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin in the harbour, with a surprise find in the form of a Little StintMeadow Pipits were song-flighting, Skylarks rose higher and higher, delivering their outstandingly complex songs, and Lapwings were tumbling over nearby fields as we worked our way slowly along a hedgerow getting close views of Dunnock and House Sparrow, and listening at close range to the repetitive notes of a Song Thrush.  Surprise find of the day was a group of eight Roe Deer between Chare Ends and the Straight Lonnen.  We’ve seen them on the island before, but never so many together at once.

After a day with two enthusiastic clients who had been excellent company on multiple trips during the week, it was time to drop Susan off and take Stephen back south.  Sometimes, I think what really makes our trips work is the clients that we have 🙂

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