by on Apr.12, 2011, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Farne Islands, Holy Island, North Sea, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Southeast Northumberland

Last week saw a repeat of a familiarisation trip we led in late March 2010, as the ORCA wildlife officers, who will be on board the DFDS King Seaways over the summer months, had a couple of days with us to familiarise themselves with Northumberland and the wildlife and birdwatching opportunities that it has to offer.

One major difference was the weather; this year it was warm and sunny…a marked contrast with last year’s trip, when the weather threw everything it could at us.

After a very nice meal at Longhirst Hall on Thursday evening with the wildlife officers, and Jude Leitch from Northumberland Tourism, I collected Richard and Isabelle on Friday morning and we headed north along the coast.  With a relatively calm sea, we enjoyed a cruise around the Farne Islands on Glad Tidings V.  Rafts of Puffins, the raucous calls of Guillemots and Kittiwakes, Grey Seals lazing in the sun and 2 Common Terns displaying and calling high over the islands were all well appreciated.  Once back on dry land we drove down the coast to Low Newton, to have lunch at the Ship Inn.  As we turned off the main road an unexpected bonus appeared in the shape of a ringtail Hen Harrier, mobbed by crows before heading inland.  More birdwatching along the coast followed, including a visit to Holy Island, before an outing at dusk on the North Northumberland coast that produced sightings of a Roe Deer and 2 Otters.

Saturday started with an interesting discussion during breakfast “what’s the difference between a whale and a dolphin?”, then we travelled down the coast, birdwatching in Druridge Bay, before it was time to deliver Richard and Isabelle to the waiting ship.  Good luck to them both, and may they find many cetaceans this summer 🙂

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