Birdwatching on the Costa del Druridge

by on May.25, 2009, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland

The fabulously warm summer weather that has blessed us this bank holiday has meant that the participants on this weekend’s otter safaris could do without their coats and gloves and were able to enjoy some fantastic wildlife and birdwatching in glorious sunshine under brilliant blue Northumberland skies.

On Sunday, our group had fantastic views of an adult Mediterranean Gull which was easily compared to close by Black-headed Gulls (in fact it is the Mediterranean Gull that has the black head, but ‘Dark Chocolate Brown-headed Gull’ isn’t too catchy!). Warblers were singing along our walk of a very tranquil River Blyth, including Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Later on in the day, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler were added, with the latter even being viewed from not too far away. A lunch stop near the coast allowed a Fulmar that wheeled around the cliffs to be photographed, whilst the rest of us enjoyed a well earned picnic lunch! Further up the coast it was the unexpected that caught our eye. A Pheasant had mistakenly wandered into a Lapwing’s breeding territory and the Lapwings called in reinforcements to deter the clearly very confused Pheasant. We had a very entertaining 10 minutes watching as the Lapwings dive bombed the Pheasant who did not know what to make of the whole debacle as it just stood there are put up seemingly no resistance before wandering off to comparative safety. We were hardly able to tear our eyes away from this to watch the Grey Partridges who had appeared close by, but who wisely decided not to follow in the Pheasant’s footsteps. A little later it was another unexpected sighting that had all of our binoculars pointing skyward as two adult Spoonbills flew over. We watched them fly northward and speculated on where they might land but we did not manage to catch up with them again as we meandered back north along the coast to return our guests to the Red Lion in Alnmouth.

Today we were out again, as it seemed was almost everybody else, keen to enjoy the warm sunshine. A Roe Deer came to drink from a pond where we were watching Herons, Gadwall, Lapwing and Ringed Plover, amongst other things. It disappeared into the willow to graze. As we headed off for our lunch stop, House Martins were busy gathering mud from a roadside puddle to use as cement for their nests, and starlings and House Sparrows came to bathe. Then, as we were busy eating lunch, overlooking one of our favourite otter spots, we were able to enjoy views of an otter diving as it looked for lunch. Then as it moved off to relax, it was joined by not one, not two, but three other otters, presumably youngsters as they were play fighting in the water together. They entertained for at least another half an hour before moving on, which was a shame because we could have sat there all day watching had they allowed us to!

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