Monday, 8 March 2010

Up North

After Saturdays wash out had a survey to do in North Sunderland on Sunday so after a brief meeting in Cramlington headed up the spine road to Ashington and checked for the White fronts but the Greylag flock was way over the far side. Next stop, Bewicks at Alnmouth again way off in the distance but could positively identify two birds on the edge of the small flock. Next my work completed in quick time before a stop at Monks House Pool and then on to Stag Rocks. Bamburgh was heaving but strangely there was still space in the car park overlooking the rocks. The tide wasn't helpful and a dark smudge about 2/3 of the way to the horizon indicated a sizeable flock of Common Scoter. Got to 77 before the whole flock dived and I had to start again. Final conclusion was 120 or so but no Velvets although five female Long tailed duck and a Guillemot were tagging along. Closer to shore the Eiders were mooching about and I was sure I briefly saw a Slavonian Grebe only for it to dive before I got the scope on it. I waited and waited but it never re-appeared. They've done this to me before here but no matter how hard I looked it was not to be seen again. On shore 22 Purple Sandpiper dodged the breaking waves with half a dozen Turnstone, Redshank and the odd Curlew.

With the tide low decided to keep on north to Lindisfarne for the Little Egret and stopped briefly at Budle Bay where there were plenty of birds, mainly Gulls and a few duck including 90+ Shelduck. Dodging the potholes on the A1, crossed the causeway which was probably in better nick and amazingly there was the bird just yards from the road. The bright sunshine had been replaced by greyness so the shots were a bit flat but lovely to see this charming bird. Spent the next hour in the dunes around the Snook dreaming of Great Grey Shrike and Great Snipe but the only birds I saw were two Skylark and two Crows and two Short eared Owls who teased me with fleeting appearances.

Stopped of on the landward side of the causeway where the Egret was now feeding in its usual spot just south of the road and decided to get that perfect shot of Egret with castle in the background. Unfortunately the bird was not going to play the game and moved away as I approached. Worse still, I realised Colin in full camouflage gear was in amongst the tank traps trying to get some pics so I'd but the kybosh on his efforts too! We waited but the bird just moved around never coming too close so a couple of record shots of it and a pale bellied Brent were had before heading off into the sunset.

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