Tag: Fulmar

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 🙂 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 🙂

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Halcyon days; Otter Safari 19/12/19

by on Dec.27, 2019, under Druridge Bay

After a couple of weeks where we didn’t have any scheduled trips it was a nice change of scenery to have a day out around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland and I collected Kev from Woodhorn as the rain started to fall…

Mid-morning produced a trio of great birds. A 1st winter Glaucous Gull had just settled back into a roost when Kev spotted a Kingfisher perched in front of us as a stunning drake Pintail up-ended just beyond it. Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe all scattered in panic as a young male Marsh Harrier drifted over the pool and along the reeds where Water Rails were squealing.

Our picnic spot produced a Fulmar arcing over the sea in sight of cliff-edge nest sites and Redshank, Curlew, Turnstone and Oystercatcher all flew from rocks and along the shore.

The afternoon brought more Goldeneye and Little Grebe, another Kingfisher in the deepening gloom of dusk, noisy flocks of Pink-footed, Greylag and Canada Geese and a remarkable flock of possibly as many as 50 Greenfinches as Cormorants perched menacingly on fallen trees and Grey Herons stalked through the shallows.

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Persistence; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 13/08/19

by on Aug.14, 2019, under North Sea

Our first 10hr ‘Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic’ for 2019 had Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Great Skuas, Puffins, Guillemots, a little bit of rain, a long rolling northerly swell, dark skies away over the mainland and, thanks to Kirstie’s sharp eyesight, some very obliging White-beaked Dolphins just before the squally weather reached us 🙂

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Desolate wastes; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 02/08/19

by on Aug.03, 2019, under North Sea

Yesterday’s 4hr evening pelagic was a strange one; a few Guillemots, a Puffin, a Razorbill with juvenile, Fulmars circling, Kittiwakes following us, a Mediterranean Gull that came and inspected us before heading back towards the shore, a Common Seal, a briefly seen fin that was probably a Harbour Porpoise and then line after line of Gannets streaming north towards the Bass Rock after presumably heading well south of the Tyne in search of food…and we weren’t seeing fish on the echo finder anywhere between the Tyne and Newbiggin. The crazy thing about the fluidity of marine wildlife distribution is that we could well go out next Wednesday and be surrounded by dolphins 🙂

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Murky; NEWT’s North Sea pelagic 26/07/19

by on Aug.02, 2019, under North Sea

Glassy calm sea, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Puffins, Common Scoters, Gannets, a couple of Harbour Porpoises putting in brief appearances…and torrential rain and generally murky conditions all made for a quite atmospheric 4hr evening pelagic 🙂

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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 🙂

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Blustery; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 17/07/19

by on Jul.19, 2019, under North Sea

Wednesday’s 4hr evening pelagic had a forecast that looked good…

We checked south of the Tyne first and were accompanied by Kittiwakes and Fulmars on a stiffening westerly as Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills sat on the water, Gannets soared past and flocks of Common Scoter speckled the dark grey sky. By the time we found a couple of White-beaked Dolphins the rain was quite heavy but almost everyone stayed out on deck watching them 🙂

Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
Our 4hr evening pelagic on 17/07/19 brought a stiff westerly wind, rain and White-beaked Dolphins
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Dolphins and a stunning sunset :-) NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 03/07/19

by on Jul.04, 2019, under Bottlenose Dolphin, North Sea

We set out from Royal Quays in better conditions than on Friday and Laura quickly found the Bottlenose Dolphins just around the corner in King Edward’s Bay again 🙂

With Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Common Scoters all seen as we headed north towards Newbiggin, Laura spotted more dolphins and they came to bow-ride the JFK Two as the dipping Sun bathed them in beautiful light as Jupiter rose through the Belt of Venus and a stunning sunset provided a backdrop to St Mary’s Island as we headed back to the river 🙂

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Head’s up :-) Bespoke Farne Islands Safari 27/06/19

by on Jul.01, 2019, under Farne Islands

Thursday was a Farne Islands Safari, and after we cancelled Wednesday’s 4hr pelagic due to the rather lumpy sea I was pleased to see that it was nice and calm as I collected Peter and Jan from Newbiggin…

A Kestrel perched obligingly on a telegraph pole as we headed up the coast and our first stop, for Arctic and Little Terns, produced an unexpected Spotted Redshank and a Ringed Plover as well as an extraordinary number of Common Blue butterflies and a good number of Painted Ladies over the incredible carpet of Bloody Cranesbill in the dunes with Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Stonechat all along the walk.

After having our picnic on the beach at Beadnell we headed to Seahouses and discovered that parking spaces were in short supply so we parked on the edge of the town and walked down to the harbour where Eiders were on the water with well-grown young, for our sailing on board Glad Tidings. Rafts of Puffins on the water scattered ahead of the boats heading towards the islands as lines of Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin headed back to their hungry chicks. Gannets soared past as Grey Seals lazed on the rocks, Cormorants and Shags dried their wings in heraldic pose, Fulmars skirted the clifftops, the onomatopoeic cries of Kittiwakes echoed in the rocky gullies and the stiff breeze spared us the ‘experience’ of the unmistakable aroma of a seabird colony 🙂

Landing on Inner Farne we walked along the boardwalk, where the Arctic Terns were less aggressive than just a week earlier, tern chicks were starting to extend and flap their still developing wings, Black-headed Gulls were mobbing Puffins as they tried to get back to their burrows, and the pufflings waiting inside, Common and Sandwich Terns kept themselves to themselves (something we should all be grateful for, particularly in the case of Sandwich Tern!) and I mentioned that halfway along one stretch of boardwalk there would probably be an Arctic Tern that would approach you but not attack, and would adopt your head as perch if you stood still. Sure enough, the tern behaved just as predicted and landed on Jan’s head 🙂

After the short journey back to the mainland we headed back down the coast with a brief stop to admire an Avocet close to the road 🙂

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Calm; Otter Safari 30/04/19

by on May.01, 2019, under Druridge Bay

Arriving in Newbiggin to collect Marilyn, Lesley, Penny, Dave and Trai ahead of an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland the first thing that struck me was just how calm the sea was, and how the mist hanging over it left water and sky linked by an invisible horizon…

We started with a riverside walk, accompanied by the songs of Chaffinch, Blackbird, Blackcap and Chiffchaff as a Grey Wagtail sallied from mid-stream rocks in pursuit of flying insects, a Jay showed briefly as it flew from one tree to the next and a Grey Heron flew adeptly between branches overhanging the water. Along a wider stretch of river, Shelduck, Gadwall and Mallard were up-ending, a Cormorant was perched on a dead tree mid-river and a Whitethroat was song-flighting as the crunchy aggressive warble of a Blackcap came from deep cover.

Our picnic spot overlooking the North Sea brought Fulmars soaring effortlessly along the clifftop, a Tree Sparrow calling as it passed overhead and a Grey Seal just offshore.

Avocets were feeding, sleeping and squabbling as Dunlin probed the mud in the shallows, a Lapwing ran across the mud in short bursts, Black-headed Gulls engaged in some very noisy display and posturing, Carrion Crows pursued a female Marsh Harrier and a Bar-tailed Godwit slept through it all.

With the approach of dusk a female Marsh Harrier was heading to roost as Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Teal remained calm and unflustered on the water below, a Canada Goose lifted its head above the vegetation surrounding its nest and the incessant reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler contrasted with the scattergun song of a Sedge Warbler as sunset, and then dusk were just a darker shade of grey than mid-afternoon.

As much as watching wildlife I really enjoy spending time with our clients, and with a range of topics discussed that included Natural England’s general licence controversy, open-casting, wind farms and the good, bad and ugly of wildlife photography the afternoon passed just too quickly 🙂

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