The star of the show

by on Jan.27, 2012, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

When we’re out with clients, or even out on our own, there are days when nothing stands out and, simply, everything is memorable 🙂  Sometimes though there will be one thing that really sticks in the memory.

I collected Vin and Nicky from Whitley Bay yesterday morning and we set out on an exploration of the Druridge Bay/Southeast Northumberland area in idyllic weather conditions.  Grey Wagtail, Long-tailed Tits, Mallards, Kestrels and a Buzzard all entertained before we came across the remarkable goose flocks that we’re enjoying this winter.  Pink-footed, Bean and White-fronted Geese were bobbing about on lakes, flying in skeins towards other geese feeding in nearby fields and…scattering in panic.  That scattering always focuses everyone’s attention; we know that there’s something happening that the birds are unhappy about, and that something is often the arrival of a predator.  Sure enough, as the Common and Black-headed Gulls took to the air and made a mad dash for the centre of the lake, a Peregrine scythed through the flock.  For 20 minutes it climbed, stooped and harried the gulls, who had presumably realised that it wouldn’t dive into the water so became less willing to take flight as it repeatedly buzzed them.  Eventually, and preumably tired after all the exertion without a kill, it settled in a nearby field with a goose flock.  We all had the same thought whilst we were watching it; when we were young and first interested in birdwatching this was an almost mythical species.  Once incredibly rare, due to a combination of persecution, egg-collection and the effects of organochlorine pesticides, it takes my breath away that I have the opportunity so often to watch Peregrines in the wild, and share the experience with our clients.  It probably deserves the title of this blog post…but the flock of 50 displaying Goldeneye in the hour before dusk were something special too 🙂

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