Tag: Roseate Tern

RIB-tickling

by on Aug.18, 2011, under Farne Islands, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast

Tuesday’s weather forecast was indicating something quite remarkable; a spell of nice weather between showers that would coincide exactly with our evening trip on Ocean Explorer.

That’s just what we got and, after an afternoon of heavy rain, we boarded the RIB in excellent weather just after 6pm.

The excitement of a high-speed journey south along the Northumberland coast combined well with close observation of feeding flocks of Gannets, terns and gulls, including a breathtakingly beautiful adult Roseate Tern.  A Harbour Porpoise surfaced twice just off Dunstanburgh Castle, which looked stunning from our offshore position, and at least 3 Pomarine Skuas were busy brutalising the terns.  As planned, we finished our trip around the Farne Islands.  As curious Grey Seals came to have a closer look at all on board, the menacing clouds to the west obscured the sunset but we were treated to a spectacular moonrise in compensation.

The short journey back to the harbour produced excellent views of 2 adult Harbour Porpoises and a calf; an excellent way to end our evening.

We’ve got another 3hr RIB trip on Thursday 25th August, so click here to book, or ‘phone 07908 119535 for more details.  We’re waiting for your call, and looking forward to enjoying some of Northumberland’s wildlife with you.

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Seabird Spectacular

by on Jul.29, 2011, under Druridge Bay, Holy Island, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

Our Seabird Spectacular package holiday managed to coincide with some increasingly heavy seas and strong northerly winds.  Getting on a boat would have been somewhat inadvisable , but we still managed to get good views of all the target species for the holiday, including Roseate Tern, Little Tern and Puffin. Perhaps we should have renamed the holiday Mammal Magic as Noctule, Pipistrelle, Red Fox, Rabbit, Grey Seal, Weasel, Stoat,  and Otter were all seen during the 2 days 🙂  With excellent accommodation and food at The Swan throughout the holiday, it was a great way to spend a weekend in late July.  We’ll be running Seabird Spectacular again in 2012 (11th-14th June) so give us a call now on 01670 827465 for more details or to book your place.

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Bird Watching Magazine Reader Holiday Day 3: 09/07/2011

by on Jul.13, 2011, under Birdwatching, Coquet Island, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

On Saturday morning our destination was Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland and another poor weather forecast ( a bit of a running theme during the holiday…) suggested that we may well get wet.  An addition to the mammal list for the trip raced across the road ahead of us; a Stoat – an endearing predator and one of NEWT’s favourite animals.

We arrived in Amble for our sailing around Coquet Island with Dave Gray’s Puffin Cruises; as Dave manoeuvred the excellent Steadfast into the harbour, the rain arrived from the northeast.  The sailing around the island produced excellent views of Roseate Terns, as well as Common, Arctic and Sandwich Terns, Gannets, Puffins, Razorbills and Guillemots.  As we sailed in a wide arc from the island to begin the journey back to the harbour an Arctic Skua was harassing terns away to the north.  Four more Arctic Skuas were followed by a real seawatching prize as a Pomarine Skua lumbered menacingly by before settling on the sea.    Our final Arctic Skua flew over the harbour just before we docked and I suggested that the Country Barn Coffee Shop at Widdrington would be the best destination once we were back on dry land.

Refreshed, dried and ready to go we visited the NWT reserve of East Chevington.  The tern roost allowed close comparison of Common and Arctic Terns, but the bird described by one participant as ‘bird of the holiday’ was a superb male Marsh Harrier.  A juvenile harrier appeared briefly over the reedbed as well, but the male perched for several minutes on a fence post.  Just after we reached Druridge Pools, the heavens opened, lightning flashed, thunder rolled and 2 Wood Sandpipers bobbed along the edge of the main pool.  A trip to Cresswell, and the most northerly breeding Avocets in England, followed and we all enjoyed  views of a very obliging Brown Hare, Little Gulls and both Little and Great Crested Grebes.  Another excellent evening meal and entertaining conversation (including David’s comment about Captain Birdseye in a cape..a reference to my appearance during the Coquet Island trip), concluded our final night in Seahouses.

As I put my coffee cup and glass of orange juice on the table at breakfast on Sunday morning I looked out over the harbour and the words “it’s a glorious morning” were quickly followed by “and there’s a Spoonbill!”.  Everyone rushed to the window to watch, as Northumberland delivered a fantastic finale to the holiday; poor weather forecasts, some stunning downpours, big seas, beautiful weather, iconic landscapes, excellent birdwatching…all in four days!

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Juggling act

by on May.29, 2011, under Bamburgh Castle, Birdwatching, Cheviot Valleys, Druridge Bay, Farne Islands, Holy Island, Lindisfarne, North Sea, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Southeast Northumberland

We’ve just finished what has almost certainly been our hardest week since we started NEWT; organising and guiding a 7-night Northumberland birdwatching holiday for no less than 18 clients.

The Bamburgh Castle Inn was our accommodation base for the week and the upstairs conservatory, with it’s excellent views over the harbour, Farne Islands and Bamburgh Castle, was reserved for our dinner each night of the holiday.  Many, many thanks to Sean and his team for the entire week 🙂

The unseasonal high winds weren’t going to get the better of us, and our original itinerary for the week was shuffled/re-jigged/abandoned as we took some calculated risks to ensure that our planned boat trips to the Farne Islands and Coquet Island both went ahead.  They did, and we’re eternally grateful to Billy Shiel’s Farne Island Boat Trips and Dave Gray’s Puffin Cruises for the incredibly professional way that they handled our clients.

I asked the group for their highlight of the week…and got a lot of answers; A mixed flock of waders, resplendent in breeding plumage, along the coastline of Druridge Bay.  An Otter, lazily fishing in a coastal pool. Sailing around Coquet Island as the sky darkened and all of the terns flushed from the island when the RSPB warden walked up the slipway.  A pair of very pink Roseate Terns mating.  Walking through the dunes at Newton in the howling gales of Monday afternoon.  Staple Island and Inner Farne.  Red Grouse wandering through the heather on our day in the Cheviots.

All too soon, the week was over and I led a brief foray into the North Pennines for a few of the group as they headed south.  There, in the driving rain and howling gale, a Black Grouse sat hunched in the bracken – looking even more annoyed than they usually do 🙂

The week wouldn’t have run so well without the quality of service from all of the other companies we worked with, but I want to say a massive thank you to Sarah.  Client care, liaison with suppliers, running the NEWT office for the week and realising what I was going to ask before I had even asked it were all taken in her stride and made the week work.  Thank You 🙂

We’re already dealing with enquiries for group holidays in May 2012, so get in touch to find out what we can offer you and your group; whatever time of the year, whatever the size of your group…

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A Rosy outlook

by on May.24, 2010, under Birdwatching, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast

Saturday saw a change in our normal Safari routine, and an early afternoon start.  I collected Gareth and Ruth from the Red Lion at Alnmouth and we drove south.  The hot, sunny weather had brought out hundreds of people to Plessey Woods but we still found a peaceful, undisturbed glade where we could listen to the birds singing and we watched a female Great Spotted Woodpecker; at least we were able to watch her until she realised that we were!  Cresswell Pond produced a real avian soap opera as a Mute Swan defended his pond against two interlopers, racing across the pond like the Spanish Armada.  A Little Gull was as cute and dimunitive as ever, alongside Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls.  Druridge Pools was hosting some obviously confused geese; amongst the expected flock of Greylags there were single Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese as well.  A late finish concluded with a beautiful, ghostly Barn Owl and at least 3 different species of bat along the River Coquet at dusk.

Sunday was a day for doing whatever we felt like.  With temperatures still soaring, a day inland, doing survey work for the BTO Bird Atlas, was considered then rejected in favour of a visit to the coast.

Sarah had the excellent idea of taking a boat trip around Coquet Island, which I was really enthusiastic about.  When myself and Tom Cadwallender from the Northumberland Coast AONB were designing the backdrop for this year’s Birdwatching Northumberland stand at the Bird Fair we chose eight species that we felt symbolised Northumberland birding; Curlew, Eider, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Golden Plover, Black Grouse, Roseate Tern, Dipper and Puffin.  A mix of everything that’s good about birdwatching in Northumberland; inland, coastal, summer and winter.  I had images of seven of those species, but the Roseate Tern is the one that I haven’t photographed during the digital age.  Hence, my enthusiasm for a trip around Coquet Island; with 35-40 Rosies already back at their Northumberland colony I was hopeful that photo opportunities would arise.  As we sailed across to the island onboard Shokwave, there was a strengthening NNE breeze and the temperature began to decrease rapidly.  Once Dennis manouvered the boat into the jetty, we could see Roseates sitting on their nest boxes.  They were a bit distant for photography so I waited patiently until I heard the distinctive ‘choo-it’ call and a bird flew by the boat.

Britain's rarest breeding seabird

Grey Seals popped their heads above the water to look at the boat, Puffins whizzed past at breakneck speed and more Roseates were busy displaying around the boxes.

Roseate Tern

After a pleasant Sunday morning cruise it was time to return home. En route, we stopped off to check a Little Owl nest site and one of the adult birds sat staring at us from the roof of a derelict building.  Finalising the paperwork for a forthcoming project was followed by a wonderful evening sitting on our patio, drinking wine and working on part of our bonsai collection as Blackbirds were singing from our trees and Coal Tits collected food to take to the noisy, and hungry, nestlings that we could hear.  Now, that’s my idea of heaven 🙂

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