by on Oct.10, 2012, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

It’s a rare day when a trip features a limited number of birds and other wildlife, but even the days with lots to see often have a few things that really stand out; sometimes by being scarce, sometimes it’s an intriguing behaviour, and sometimes it can be something that’s quite common but rarely seen.  An outstanding day would produce all of those…

I collected Helen and Chris from Church Point for an afternoon of birdwatching and other wildlife around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland in near-perfect weather.  Before we headed up the coast though, we spent some time studying the Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and in the car park.  Cormorants were feeding just offshore and a very long-billed Dunlin was pottering about on the sand.  Working our way along the reserves that line Druridge Bay, one of NEWT’s favourite winter visitors provided some entertainment; a small herd of Whooper Swans had chosen a pool as a stop-off point – provoking a furious reaction from the resident pair of Mute Swans. Teal, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall drakes were all looking good, following their exit from eclipse plumage, Long-tailed Tits flew past, one by one, a Goldcrest was flicking around in a bush nearby, a chirping Tree Sparrow allowed us to approach incredibly close and a Guillemot was hanging around at the base of the weir on the River Coquet.  Flocks of Curlew, Golden Plover and Lapwing filled the air, and a Jack Snipe provided lots of entertainment as it bobbed up and down on the edge of a reedbed, as nearby Common Snipe seemed more interested in disputing possession of feeding areas than actually feeding.

As the end of the trip approached, much too soon with such good company, we were in a small wooded valley, searching for Badgers.  We could hear the sound of them blundering through the undergrowth, but a barking dog nearby seemed to spook them and all went quiet.  For most of the time that we were there we were under the baleful glare of a feathered sentinel, as a Tawny Owl stared at us from the fork between a branch and tree trunk.  Wildlife, watching the wildlife-watchers 🙂

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