The Kill; Druridge Bay birdwatching 24/09/2013

by on Sep.26, 2013, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

Through the thickening mist, just inches above the ground, the Sparrowhawk maneuvered it’s way at speed around bushes and the edge of a reedbed.  From that position it couldn’t see any possible targets.  Of course, that meant it couldn’t be seen either…

I’d collected Laura and Barry from Church Point at midday. for an afternoon birdwatching around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland.  Unlike the stunning sunshine and warmth of Monday, conditions were rather overcast.  On a walk through woodland, we came across a roving tit flock.  Goldcrests could be heard high in the trees, and a quick session of pishing soon had one just a few feet away from us as it descended to investigate where the squeaking noise was coming from.  Our lunch stop, overlooking the length of Druridge Bay, gave us the opportunity for a spot of seawatching although, with the lack of any substantial breeze, there wasn’t a great deal of movement offshore.  Eider were dotted here and there, Cormorants were flying along the coast, a few Swallows  were catching insects low over the clifftop vegetation and flocks of Goldfinch and Linnet were noisily flitting about.  Lapwings, Curlew, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Ringed Plover and Redshank, the latter in what seemed to be a state of perpetual motion, were working their way along exposed mud as Grey Herons stalked with an imperceptibly slow motion that  spells danger to fish, frogs and ducklings everywhere.  As the afternoon continued, we were suddenly confronted with heavy mist.  Then the rain started.  Thinking this would clear the mist proved a forlorn hope, and we watched a flock of Dunlin make several low passes over the mud in front of us before they vanished into the mist.  Eiders and Cormorants were diving repeatedly on the River Coquet near Amble and Salmon were leaping from the water – a real joy to watch when all three of us in the car are keen flyfishers.  With dusk approaching, although this wouldn’t differ too much from the rest of the afternoon, the yapping of Pink-footed Geese could be heard from behind the grey impenetrable curtain of mist.  Growing louder, and with the calls of Greylag and Canada Geese intermingled, the flock appeared on the edge of the mist.  Just beyond the limit of clarity, the amorphous mass of several hundred geese dropped onto the water and then upped the volume of their calls.  As another flock arrived they were greeted noisily by the birds already on the water.

…accelerating on powerful wings, following an approach of supreme stealth, the Sparrowhawk exploded from a gap in the reeds, still just inches from the ground.  Lapwings and Starlings took to the air in panic, but the predator quickly fixed it’s baleful stare on the three closest birds to the edge of the reeds.  The Dunlin took flight, but the concealed approach by the Sparrowhawk had given it the edge that it needed in the game of life and death that was playing out in front of us.  With lightning quick reflexes it plucked the Dunlin deftly from the air, turned back through the channel in the reeds, and settled to devour it’s catch out of sight.  Not out of sight from us though 🙂

:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Archives

All entries, chronologically...