Wildlife

Triple crown; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 07/07/21

by on Jul.09, 2021, under Bottlenose Dolphin, North Sea

Wednesday’s 4hr pelagic had a forecast that promised rain, although we only had a few drops, and it took just a few minutes for our first cetacean to appear as a harbour porpoise crossed the mouth of the Tyne in front of us. 90 minutes of intense scanning eventually produced bottlenose dolphins off Whitley Bay and they swam alongside us for an hour as we headed slowly south, finally leaving as we passed the mouth of the river again. On a glassy sea we headed beyond the Tyne and with conditions so perfect I spotted fins that were 2nm ahead of us…and then the white-beaked dolphins appeared πŸ™‚

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Anticipation; Otter mini-Safari 19/05/21

by on May.20, 2021, under Druridge Bay, Otter

At this time of year our new ‘mini-Safari only’ approach means a late(ish) start so I can spend time earlier in the day doing other business jobs, and cooking. As I get older I’m getting better at timing things so I made a tartiflette, and a tomato and aubergine curry, and still had time to make a cuppa for the other member of the NEWT team before I headed out to meet up with Anthony, and Louise and Tony, ahead of an evening searching for otters around Druridge Bay

With the breeze in our faces, and some ominous looking weather ahead of us, we watched shelducks, common and Sandwich terns and mute swans until the rain had passed by, then we continued walking south. Some very obliging stonechats posed for photographs while whitethroats proved more elusive and grasshopper warblers, chiffchaffs and skylarks were singing, a calling lapwing had two fluffy chicks near a small puddle in a field and the eerie cries of curlew echoed across the fields. The next squally shower caught us in the open but we were soon settled, and sheltered, watching pairs of tufted ducks at close range as they dived for food and the heavy rain continued with glorious sunlight from the west. A roe deer was quietly grazing on the opposite bank, a whimbrel whistled it’s distinctive call as it flew north, and, as a barn owl flew by, I scanned the edge of the pool that was noticeably devoid of birds…and there were two young otters play-fighting πŸ™‚ We watched them for 10 minutes then they vanished, before one reappeared and headed straight towards us before turning back and vanishing into the gloomy shadows of the reeds, underneath a glorious sunset. The walk back to the cars produced another barn owl and then, with the dusk air damp and hazy with insects, noctule bats swooped over the trees and bushes.

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Light on the water; Bespoke Photography 10/09/2020

by on Sep.11, 2020, under Bottlenose Dolphin, Northumberland Coast, Photography

Yesterday was a trip we were really looking forward to after what has been a really challenging year in so many ways. Emma and Janine have been on a couple of photography holidays that I’ve led since late 2018 and yesterday’s trip was organised for Janine’s birthday. Water and wildlife were the specific requests so I’d discussed how to structure the full day with Sarah and we thought we’d got a workable plan…

We started with wildlife; Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Turnstone all exploiting the rich food supply available on freshly uncovered sand and seaweed as the tide fell. Low-angled sunlight and mirror-calm water were everything we could have wished for and after a morning of wading birds we headed off for an excellent lunch, and outstanding views from our window table, at the Jolly Fisherman.

Post-lunch we stretched our legs and walked towards Dunstanburgh Castle as the tide turned and surf started breaking over the rocks in the foreground while we sat close to the rising water. Juvenile Gannets were diving offshore and I was thinking that there must be plenty of fish when I spotted a couple of dorsal fins and for the next 5 minutes we watched a group of around 10 Bottlenose Dolphins that seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere away to the south πŸ™‚ Heading back south down the coast our final stop was at Howick Haven/Rumbling Kern as the tide started to flood in below the Bathing House.

Lovely entertaining clients who are pleasure to spend time with, fantastic light, obliging wildlife and the Northumberland coast. There can’t be many better ways to spend a day πŸ™‚

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Joyriders; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 02/09/2020

by on Sep.04, 2020, under North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

Wednesday’s 10hr Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic sailed with the intention of heading out to the furthest reaches of the Farne Deeps but just over 2hrs in, Mark and Martin looked at the weather and decided that it wouldn’t be safe to head as far offshore as planned. Checking the forecast for the rest of the day, and the bathymetric chart, a new course was set…and there were the White-beaked dolphins πŸ™‚ 52 minutes of mayhem later they departed as suddenly and mysteriously as they’d arrived, leaving behind a boat filled with grinning clients and memory cards filled with images and video πŸ™‚

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Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic 15/08/2020

by on Aug.20, 2020, under MInke Whale, North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

Saturday was our first 10hr pelagic, after August 5th had weather that wasn’t great. White-beaked Dolphin put in an appearance early in the day, a Minke Whale was well to the ENE of Alnmouth and Harbour Porpoise were regular throughout the day. Amongst mist and rain we had some sublime conditions, extraordinary light and incredibly smooth water…

Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea
Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea
Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea
Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea
Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea
Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea
Our 10hr pelagic on 15/08/20 produced White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and some incredible light over a smooth sea

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NEWT’s 4hr North Sea pelagics July/August 2020

by on Aug.13, 2020, under Bottlenose Dolphin, North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

After a break of a few months we got back up and running in July, starting with our 4hr evening pelagics (and some 4hr daytime pelagics organised due to high demand!)

Here’s a gallery of images covering a few of the trips where we found dolphins. 10 trips in total – 5 found White-beaked Dolphin, 4 found Bottlenose Dolphin πŸ™‚

Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris, North Sea, Northumberland, whalewatching, whalewatching North Sea, whalewatching UK, whalewatching Northumberland, dolphin spotting, dolphin spotting UK, dolphin spotting North Sea, dolphin spotting Northumberland
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Finale; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 14/09/19

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Bottlenose Dolphin, North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

After two cancellations due to pretty awful conditions offshore, our final 10hr Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic for 2019 survived the weather and fittingly, given recent changes in cetacean distribution off our coast, was topped and tailed by Bottlenose Dolphins around the mouth of the Tyne with White-beaked Dolphins in the Farne Deeps sandwiched between the start and end of the day…

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Quick start; Otter Safari 20/08/19

by on Aug.23, 2019, under Druridge Bay, Otter

I collected Jo from Newbiggin for her 2nd day out with NEWT and we set off for an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland searching for Otters

As we set off I decided to change the order that we’d visit our usual sites…and it paid off almost immediately with an Otter cub feeding mid-river as Little Grebes watched it warily as Cormorants dried their wings nearby πŸ™‚ Pochards, Shovelers, Mallards, Teal and Moorhen all got out of the way as a Grey Heron flew in and throughout the trip Sparrowhawks flushed birds that were quietly roosting. After having our picnic stop overlooking the North Sea, with Fulmars gliding along the cliff faces and Gannets offshore we collected Yvonne, Fiona and Liz who were joining us for the second half of the trip.

In the evening sunlight Lapwings, Curlews, Golden Plovers, Redshanks, Dunlins and Turnstones were roosting, Brown Hares were half-heartedly chasing each other in the field margins, a Little Egret flew high away to the north, a Marsh Harrier caused panic as it flew low over the marsh before dropping into the rushes, Water Rails squealed from reedbeds, a dense flock of Swallows and Sand Martins headed to roost as Canada and Greylag Geese departed noisily and, as the light faded to unmanageable, Jupiter and Saturn were both observed through the ‘scope πŸ™‚

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A swell time ;-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 19/07/19

by on Jul.22, 2019, under North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

Friday’s 4hr evening pelagic headed out of the Tyne piers into a stiff breeze and long rolling swell…

Kittiwakes and Fulmars circled the boat, Gannets soared by, Manx Shearwaters rose out of the troughs and up over wave crests before vanishing back behind the swell, Puffins , Guillemots and Razorbills sat on the water before making a frantic escape and small flocks of Common Scoter passed by.

Heading south a dolphin put in a brief and stealthy appearance so we were soon on our way again…and six White-beaked Dolphins were suddenly bow-riding in the gloom of a cloud laden sunset πŸ™‚

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Under the moonlight; Otter mini-Safari 15/07/19

by on Jul.17, 2019, under Druridge Bay, Otter

Arriving in Newbiggin to collect Dave and Dawn ahead of an evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland exploring NEWT’s favourite Otter sites I smiled when Dave said “We have no idea what the plan is or what’s happening. Our daughter just told us to be here to meet you”…

We started with our usual riparian woodland walk, and Dave spotted a Dipper sitting quietly on a mid-stream rock. It started preening and bathing and then took a few short swims underwater before flying off upstream.

With a gentle breeze cooling the warmth of the Sun, Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers were putting in brief appearances in the reeds, Reed Buntings were singing their simple song, flocks of Starlings flew to roost and a dense flock of Sand Martins alternated between gorging themselves on flies and perching along the face of a reedbed as a Barn Owl quartered the dunes before flying past us carrying prey.

A Spotted Redshank feeding frantically in the shallows joined a mass panic as Curlews, Avocets and Lapwings took to the air before gradually settling back down as Grey Herons and a Little Egret darted at small fish. Scanning around the edge of the water I noticed a swirl lingering close to a reedbed and then all of the waders took flight again. For a few minutes all we could see were the ripples from something disturbing the water in a gap in the reeds…and then the Otter swam into view πŸ™‚ We watched it for around 30 minutes before it vanished into a reedbed as the full Moon rose, flanked by Jupiter and Saturn, and the Barn Owl perched on a pole near the car and almost directly in front of the Moon πŸ™‚

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