by on Nov.20, 2012, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Southeast Northumberland

As a chemist I’ve found fireworks fascinating for some time.  While I was still teaching, I developed a series of demonstration experiments that illustrated how different colours are produced by varying the chemicals in the mix and managed, during one particularly spectacular demo, to set fire to a pile of homework and the surface of my desk.  Every year there are information campaigns about domestic pets and fireworks, but never really anything about the effect on wildlife…

I met up with Pete and Georgie at Church Point and we set off (in their car, but that’s a whole other story…) around Southeast Northumberland and Druridge Bay.  Perhaps my own favourite moment of the day came quite early as a Merlin chased a Common Snipe through the dunes at Cresswell.  An elusive Brambling played hide and seek with us nearby and the Coots, Moorhens, Mallards, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Shoveler at each pond we visited seemed unconcerned and not indicating the presence of the sinuous predator that enlivens so many of our trips on the coast.

As dusk approached things started to look a bit more interesting; Whooper Swans were clearly alert and agitated, all staring into the same reedbed.  We’ve seen it so many times before…and then ‘whoosh’, ‘whoosh’, ‘whoosh’, ‘bang’, ‘bang’, ‘bang’, ‘bang’, ‘bang’, as a fireworks display on a nearby beach scattered everything!  Ducks, geese, swans all took to the air and we finished the trip with not very much wildlife in view at all.

As we headed back to the car a figure appeared out of the dark “Dr Kitching. Slight change of plan, Sarah’s poorly so I’ve come to collect you”.  The hero of the day was a man whose knowledge of the Northumberland coast is second to none, and whose blog is really worth checking out.  Cheers Ipin, you’re a star 🙂

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