Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Exploring Northumberland

Bothal Castle

 The weather forecast was none too good as we initially set of for the village of Bothal, possibly often on the itinerary of birdwatchers because of the pool nearby.  Our trip was in the main a none birding outing and because of the weather I was hoping maybe for some Turneresque skies to enhance some landscape photography.  It was appropriate then, that our first stop was at Bothal as this was on J M W Turner’s schedule of visits on his tour of Northern England in 1797.  Turner, the greatest of British artists in my view, was only twenty-two at the time.  His sketches of Bothal, the castle and church remain very recognisable today, although the houses of today are a great deal more up-market and no doubt expensive.  Turner depicts a horse and rider in the sketch of the castle, and coincidently a horse with rider came along the road today.

Bothal Church

The castle, a private residence, has a long history and having taken some photographs of it we took a walk in the Church grounds where bird finds included several Nuthatches and Mistle Thrushes, both species calling loudly.  The Mistle Thrush’s vernacular name of Storm Cock proved appropriate today, as you will later find.

Bothal Church

Bothal Church Grounds

Much of the present church is between 600 and 800 years old.  Inside, which because of Corvid we were unable to enter, holds fragments of an Anglo-Saxon cross suggesting a much earlier church on the site.  Of course, as to be expected there are Victorian additions.  The doorway has a carved inscription reading WH 1578.  We must return in the future when access can be gained to see medieval stained glass, but we did take note of the medieval stone coffins outside.  The graveyard was very natural and contained many trees of age.  The war memorial outside the front of the church is flanked by weeping Ash and Japanese Maple.  The Ash representing the tears of the bereaved and the Maple which turns bright red in autumn, symbolising the blood of the fallen.

 As we left we passed Bothal Pond and a quick look as we drove brought only sighting of two Mute Swans.  Our next stop was to be Swarland.

On route to Swarland we passed Davison’s Obelisk built in 1807 in memory of Horatio Nelson at the bequest of Alexander Davison, a friend of Horatio Nelson who he first met at Quebec, Canada.  Davison became Prize Agent responsible for the sale of French ships taken at the Battle of the Nile.  At Swarland we looked over the Parkland of what had been the estate of Alexander Davison who had planted groups of trees to represent ships of the British Navy at The Battle of the Nile.  Only four of these groups are now still extant, one group being close to the road.  The line of the road represents the line of French Ships.

Nelson Memorial

We next made north to Edlingham Church and Castle.  The weather began to close in and on arrival at the small parking area by St John the Baptist Church, the rain became heavier until we were amidst a heavy squall.  The sky became a  mix of leaden grey cloud and mist as the light faded.  We admired the church in these gloomy conditions whilst we chatted and ate lunch in the security of the car.

Edlingham Church

Once the rain eased somewhat I decided to venture out and photograph the church.  The gloominess did not appear to be disappearing until suddenly there was signs the darkness lifting.

Edlingham Church

The earliest church on this site dates to around 740AD, although the first stone church dates to the 11th Century.  Fragments of this Saxon church can be found in the lintels of the door.  Much of the remainder is 12th Century and the tower was added probably for defensive reasons around the early 14th Century.  Narrow slit windows could be used by archers.  It is thought that the church was used in the 17th Century to imprison moss-troopers.

From the church it is a short walk to the castle and the nearby burn, a tributary of the River Aln, is close by.

Edlingham Castle

I was extremely impressed by both the church and castle, the latter’s Solar Tower being an especially imposing site.  My mind retuned to Turner and I could not help feeling that the painter missed a trick in not visiting this site on his trip north.  The tower dates from the 15th Century but other structures are from an earlier date.

Edlingham Castle

Our first sighting of the castle at close range was in the dullness of the recently ceased storm, but as time passed beams of light began to lighten up the outer walls and it wasn’t long before light cloud was dissipating and we were under cerulean skies.   As we had approached the castle the roosting Jackdaws had been disturbed and they appeared to make a noisy retreat to trees nearby and did not return until we left.  We’d had the remains of this imposing castle all to ourselves and we had the privilege of viewing both castle and church in varying moods and weather coditions.  I began to imagine the joys, celebrations, sadness and bloody violence this site had witnessed over the centuries.

Edlingham Castle

Deciding that a visit to the nearby Viaduct can be made at a later date, we drove a little way up the road for the views across the verdant fields toward The Cheviots.  As we took photographs a Common Buzzard flew north of us as corvids mobbed it, and its mewing call seemed to reflect a solemn mood.

The mood changes

We took a long detour on our return home and passed the road to Clennell Hall (the family home of Luke Clennell, an apprentice of Thomas Bewick and Bewick’s principal assistant on The History of British Birds).  He later became an artist in his own right, moved to London, suffered mental illness and died in an asylum in Newcastle in 1840) and Alwinton.  Along the way we had sightings of many Redwing and Fieldfare, and Kestrels.  As we drove along the Coquet valley we followed the serpentine movement of the bright silvery river, now lit by bright sunlight.  The day had certainly been one of multiple moods. 

Towards the Cheviots

Addendum.  If willing to pay a not unsubstantial amount, Turner’s drawings and paintings following his tour north can been seen in David Hill’s Turner in the North.  Possibly cheaper to visit the Tate Gallery in London and see Turner’s paintings there.  I’m pleased I purchased my copy years ago at a reasonable price when first published!

The storm has passed.

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis (I hope someone does), will know I have fondness for the poetry of John Clare.  I have noted that Turner visited Stamford on his return journey south, the town close by Clare’s village of Helpston.  Clare would have been four years of age at the time, so there will have been no meeting of the two.  However, both I am sure would in later years have become very much aware of one another.  John Clare was introduced as a boy to poetry by James Thompson’s poem The Seasons.  His copy of the poem was purchased at Stamford I believe.  It is interesting to note that Turner too was inspired by the same poem.  I must research into whether the two men ever met when Clare made his short visits to London in later years.  The two men could well have had much in common.

Verdant Northumberland



Sunday, 22 November 2020

Five Hawfinches, A Castle and James Audubon

 Unable to find a space to park near the path to the Hawfinches we decided to visit the castle and river area at Mitford before trying again for a space.  The decision was a good one as when we parked up by the church it was clear that there was plenty of birdlife in its grounds.  Birds seen here included Song Thrush Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Siskin (heard), Nuthatch, Willow/Marsh Tit (?), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, corvids and pigeons.

Lots of bird life in the church grounds.

Mitford Castle

We walked the short distance to the river and followed the line of the pathway up to the castle which dates from the 11th century and which was in the main destroyed in the 14th century.  From ground level it is impossible to grasp the area that this castle would once have covered.  Being at the top of the hill gives a much clearer perspective of the castle boundaries and surrounding earthworks.  Whilst examining the area I thought of the many historic foot prints I was following and was remined later that the American bird artist James Audubon was amongst them.  I don’t think I can blame Audubon for leaving the empty beer cans in the cellars of the castle!  We also passed metal stepladders looking rather out of place.  Perhaps the drinkers are also going in for a bit of DIY.   On our arrival at the castle walls numbers of Redwing had risen from the surrounding berries.  The vista from the castle gives a good picture of the variety of trees in the area, sadly having now in the main cast off their autumnal colours.  It was trees we now had on our mind, in particular Hornbeams as we made off to search for the Hawfinches.

Mitford Castle

A castle with a view.

Mitford Castle

As we joined the pathway to the Hornbeams we found a bird equally exciting as any Hawfinch, in the form of a calling Marsh Tit, so rare in Northumberland.  We later had exceptionally good sightings of a pair of Marsh Tits when we returned to the car.  For now, though we were reassured of sightings of Hawfinch by a fellow birder who had just recorded five of them in the line of Hornbeams.  We were not put off by the drizzling rain or the gloomy light which in fact cast a rather enjoyable atmosphere about the area.

The Hawfinches remained elusive for quite some time and I began to wonder if we were to be unlucky.  The trees and hedges were silent.  The eventually one Hawfinch flew over from behind us and gave a good sighting.  Eventually I saw other birds fly in and the single bird was joined by four other Hawfinches.  Eventually we had good sightings of the five birds together as they began to feed on the samaras.  Feeling the seeds hardness gives an idea of the strength of the Hawfinch’s large bill.  The five birds were quick to take off as a hunting Sparrowhawk appeared and flew down the line of Hornbeams before eventually disappearing.  The Sparrowhawk later returned, this time flying away in the opposite direction.  I found it hard to believe that it was as long ago as December 2017 when we had visited this same area to watch Hawfinches.

The Samara which attracts the Hawfinches.

Hornbeams are a rare tree in Northumberland and it seems likely that the extremely hard wood of this species will have been used in the gears of the mills, three of which are known to have existed in this area.  The English name Hornbeam derives from the hardness of the wood (likened to horn), and the Old English beam i.e. tree.

As we left and had our sighting of the pair of Marsh Tits, we read the sign which remined us that the pathway walk along the River Wansbeck has probably changed very little from the time of James Audubon’s visit to Mitford Hall in 1827.  Sam later pointed me in the direction of Audubon’s journal (available on the internet) where he records his visit to Mitford Hall, Mitford Castle and his walk along the bank of the Wansbeck with Captain Mitford.  Audubon had met Captain Mitford, brother in law of John Selby the Northumbrian naturalist and artist, at Twizell House the home of Selby.  The two men travelled together by coach to Morpeth.  Whilst the coach changed horses at Alnwick they visited Alnwick Castle before proceeding on their journey passing Alnmouth.  After his stay at Mitford Hall Audubon travelled to Newcastle which he was none too complimentary about, recording its shabby appearance in comparison to Edinburgh.  Nevertheless, he appears to have enjoyed meeting Thomas Bewick and his family and finding subscribers to his artwork.  I intend to order a copy of the journal as a cursory glance of it on the internet suggests that it holds much of interest, but it is tiresome trying to read it at length on the screen.

Jenny Uglow in her biography of Thomas Bewick records that ‘hearing that Audubon’s sons longed for a copy of (Bewick’s) Quadrupeds, Bewick gave him one at once.’  It is also recorded that Audubon remembered that ‘when I parted from Bewick that night, I parted from a friend.’  Of course, in 1827 Bewick was an old man and he died the following year.  

After we left Mitford we drove to Harewood and passed Winter’s Gibbet which appeared well placed in the now gloomy atmosphere of rain, mist and cold.  We thought it a good idea to photograph the bleakness of the area.  I soon returned to the car for warmth and thought it best to admire the bleakness from my seat.

It was bleak on the moors.

It had been a good day and one were birding was enjoyed along with other interests.  Common Buzzard, Fieldfares and more Redwings were seen along the way.  An interest in ornithology has led us along many paths of interest and I hope this blog will continue to reflect that.  Coming soon will be a report of another interesting trip into Northumberland’s historic sites.



Thursday, 29 October 2020

Highlights of an Autumnal Day

Before we had even left Killingworth we had a close up sighting of a Common Buzzard flying over the estates, and as we drove along the Beehive road we passed a Short Eared Owl in flight over the fields, being mobbed by corvids.  So, a nice start to our trip out.

I have eventually got round to reading Benedict MacDonald’s Rebirding and his co-authored follow up Orchard.  The latter included a description of the garden/orchard in Hungary at the property at which we had stayed six years ago (blimey how time passes), thus giving this a very personal feel.  Both excellent reads but at times depressing when considering the wildlife lost from Great Britain, not only in recent decades, but over the centuries.  I am not sure I view all the suggestions for rewilding as achievable, certainly not without a major change in attitudes to the great majority of our inhabitants.   Nevertheless, I am all for positivity, and in thinking big maybe positive changes can be made on a large scale.  One point I certainly concur with, whilst I understand the restraints upon organisations involved with conservation, I also note a rather weak approach from them at times, so a kick up the backside may be what is required to ensure they act with the interests of wildlife at heart, over and above the attempts to please everyone.

Thankfully, we still have good chances to watch wildlife in our region and I gave a short account of two recent experiences.  Both instances simply recall experiences easily achievable on our doorstep.  Building back better, whatever that means, ought to include a relook at how our country is managed for nature.

Brier Dene proved to be generally quiet during our walk although the call of Yellow Browed Warbler was among what we did encounter.  I am all for stopping in one spot and letting birds come to me and we experienced that today.  In a rather decayed area of the dene we got our eye on a Willow Tit that showed several times.  Waiting around a while it wasn’t long before we were also watching several other species in this one tiny patch of the dene as a Chiffchaff was heard in the same trees.  A male Bullfinch in pristine condition and glowing colour appeared, as did an equally colourful Grey Wagtail.  A male Blackcap arose from the burn and showed well along with Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch and tits.  Behind us a Peacock Butterfly showed off its stunning colours as it bathed in sunlight, perhaps before finding a suitable spot for hibernation.

At this point only an area of colour.

Later, as we approached St Mary’s Island we watched a flock of Golden Plover in flight.  Walking further and passing the ploughed farmland a patch of xanthous colouring stood out in the now murky light.    A closer look confirmed that this was indeed the flock of Golden Plover which could so easily have been overlooked, and no doubt was by many passers-by.  Each bird a wonderful golden colour, the dullness of the light enhancing the plumage colouring and making the large dark eyes of each individual bird show prominently in a wonderful atmosphere.  The mass calling of the flock was barely audible and in the growing gloom seemed almost melancholic.  There was much movement of individual birds within the flock which seemed unsettled and ready to lift at any point.  On scanning the area closely more and more shapes of Curlew were also picked up, although well camouflaged in the dimness and against the dark of the mud coloured earth.  Lapwings were the first birds to lift in that slow lapping flight that is so recognisable.  They were followed into the air by a few, then the whole flock of Golden Plovers and with them a small number of the Curlews. There were soon myriad birds in the air and way above them another flock of Golden Plover.  Adding to the mass was a mini murmuration of Starlings appearing like a drifting magic carpet of dark smoke curved shape.  A few Linnets by the side of the road also lifted as if in synchronisation with the flocks behind them and a Grey Heron entered the stage.  Just as quickly as lifting, the birds once again dropped to the ground.  Natures magic moments such as this ought not to be missed and once again we were rewarded for simply standing still and watching.

Flocks begin to lift.

Numbers mount


Murmuration of Starlings begins to collect in background

The whirr of Starling crowds, that dim the light                                                                  

With mimic darkness, in their numerous flight.

John Clare/October, The Shepherds Calendar

 Apart from the few confiding Goldcrests in the hedges of the reserve, few other bird species took our attention today. Nevertheless, a good few hours spent watching our local wildlife and their extraordinary behaviour.    


Saturday, 24 October 2020

Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow Bunting

 After a relatively quiet day at Druridge, Sam and I spent some time watching a very confiding Snow Bunting at a regular winter haunt for this species at the mouth of Chevington Burn.  We were so focussed upon the bird that it wasn’t until we stood up to leave that we saw that the bright skies of earlier in the day were now heavy with leaden grey cloud which darkened to a metallic purple  towards the south.  A minute spray of rain was in the air by now as the burn ran quietly to the incoming rush of the tide. Later, as we travelled homewards the light dimmed and heavy rain fell.

Snow Bunting

The Snow Bunting was feeding amongst the seaweed before hunkering down for some time. A stance that we were sure it would be used too in biting Arctic winds.  Fully aware of our presence it seemed relaxed enough.  It eventually took off and flew north above the shore although I suspect it didn’t go far and it could well be joined by others of the species. 

Snow Bunting

We have watched Snow Buntings in breeding plumage on Tundra and in snow in the Arctic Circle in recent years, but always nice to see these birds locally, but sadly not in the numbers of years gone by.

Snow Bunting

We had earlier watched at close range a flock of 60-80 Twite as they fed on the ample seed on plants in the dunes between bouts of flight, with then a background of sunlit blue skies.  Such was their attention to the glut of seed, these Twite were content to let us within close range.  Linnet, Goldfinch, Reed bunting and Tree Sparrow also seemed to be taking advantage of the feeding opportunity.


Walking through the dunes I was surprised at how late some Bloody Cranesbill and Harebell were in flower as were less surprisingly White Campions.  We also came across a patch of snow-white Fungi, one of which was in pristine state and most attractive in the bright light.  I’ve yet to check on species.


One of a number of White Fungi

A theme of white continued when we found two Whooper Swans at Druridge Pool.  We latter watched them take off and we began to ponder upon where these wild swans would eventually end their journey.  Perhaps not the first wintering swans seen this autumn as we passed a flock of swans which we passed at a distance when crossing the causeway at Holy Island earlier in the month.  We were on the move and distance prevented confirmation, but thought them likely to be Whooper Swans.

Whooper Swans

But now they drift on the still water,

Mysterious, beautiful;

Among what rushes will they build,

By what lake's edge or pool

Delight men's eyes when I awake some day

To find they have flown away?

Wild Swans at Coole/William Butler Yeats




Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Lindisfarne Classic Includes Red-flanked Bluetail

As we once again drove over the causeway to Lindisfarne and passed the flock of Brent Geese that were remarkably close to the road, we dared dream of a good autumnal fall of birds to greet us.  We were not to be disappointed.


A stop was made at the Snook and the first bird to greet us was a cooperative feeding Redstart in the carpark.  Was this to augur a good day?  Our walk to the cottage plantation and garden was to be rewarded by a fine Red flanked Bluetail showing extremely well.  Only the second one I have seen in Northumberland.  On reflection not quite up to the standard of the sighting we made of this species in breeding plumage in the forests of Finland, but certainly closer and proving to be our bird of the day.  The plantation and garden provided quite a spectacular bird display and species seen here also included Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, a flock of Linnets, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and more Goldcrest and Robins than you could shake a stick at.  Our wander around the area suggested there were Goldcrests and Robins to be found in almost every bush.  I also remember a Common Snipe.


Red-flanked Bluetail

After parking up on the island, we made through the village to the Vicarage Garden which was being watched by numerous birders.  The first bird I saw in the garden was Spotted Flycatcher.  Even better, the Red Breasted Flycatcher also showed well eventually, and was a lifer for Sam.  A bird he has long coveted on his list.  Brambling and Yellow Browed Warbler were also seen, these latter two species perhaps both reaching double figures as seen and heard species by the time we had left the island.  By now we had also watched a large skein of Barnacle Geese and the large flock of Golden Plover in the air.   At one point someone mentioned that the Little bunting had returned and there was a mass exodus of fast-moving birders.  We decided to be more nonchalant about it all and eventually made off in the opposite direction to the herd and even stopped for a drink and piece of cake in the village having passed more Brambling, and calling Yellow Browed Warblers and of course the ever present Goldcrests and Robins.

We were soon on the lonnen watching Redwings and our first Fieldfares of the autumn.  Even better was sighting of two Redstarts along the base of the hedge.  Everyone else seemed to have only Lesser Grey Shrike on their mind and were hurrying along the lonnen in chase, so we had these Redstarts to ourselves.  We took it more slowly and watched Merlin and Short Eared Owl as we ambled along.  We still had sighting of the Lesser Grey Shrike, if a somewhat distant view.  This was a UK first for both of us.  Still the Goldcrests and Robins kept on coming.  A family of Stonechats were on the bushes as we chatted to another birder keen to find the shrike as it would be his first ever shrike of any of the species. 


We followed the path that we had taken on our visit to the island a couple of days before, when there had been no sign of a fall of migrant birds.  We had sighting of a family of Roe Deer who appeared to have little fear of our presence.  We had eaten our lunch by the Lime Kiln remains, some birders seeming to wonder why we weren’t up there trying to find the shrike.  Most seemed to find the bird but few seemed to get anything but a distant sighting.  The Carline Thistle didn’t look quite so good after the soaking of the previous day.  As we moved from the area we had a nice sighting of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, as mentioned in my previous blog, an irregular bird on the island.  Kestrel was seen at some point and both Grey Heron and Reed Bunting were seen nearby.

Roe Deer

We eventually made a return to the Vicarage Garden and ended our visit with even better sightings of Red Breasted Flycatcher and Yellow Browed Warbler once again.  We made off from the island in plenty of time to beat the incoming tide, and once again passed the Little Egret feeding near the causeway.  Pink footed Geese were seen as we drove down the AI.

We didn’t see all the rarer birds involved in the autumnal fall, but we did thoroughly enjoy the hours we had spent on the island and in the main, the species we did see (and we saw most of them), we saw very well.  I know neither of us would have enjoyed the time had we chased after birds to increase our list, as that is simply not our style.  We enjoyed talking to many fellow birders today, all enjoying themselves in the manner that suits them.  I must give special mention to the lady who lives in the cottage on the Snook as we had an enjoyable and long chat with her and she made us and other birders feel welcome.  Also, a special mention is owed to the friendly couple from Craster who approached me and said, ‘you must be Brian?  My first thought was, good grief what have I done? Ha ha.  I needn’t have worried as they were regular readers of my blog and had recognised Sam.  We will simply have to live with the fame I suppose.

Hope everyone had as good a day as we did.  The first bird I saw on the lawn when I arrived home was a Robin and I believe Sam saw Goldcrest!  Classic Day.


Monday, 5 October 2020

Brents, Bramblings, Berries and Bluethroat at Boulmer

 We were up before the larks and watched a flaming sunrise as we headed north to Lindisfarne hoping we would be one of the first cars to cross the causeway, and that proved to be the case.  As we drove over to the island we watched the brightly lit sky and water.  It was going to be a fresh but sunny autumnal morning.  Jokes were made about the vehicle in front of us being the one out of the TV programme Vera.  The lady driver did indeed have the Vera hat on and confirmation that it was in fact ‘her’ was made when we passed the film crew.  I was tempted to ask for a photograph when Vera parked opposite us in the carpark, but I thought better of it as she seemed to be engaged on some kind of communication system with the film crew.

Lindisfarne Light

Having walked through silent village we watched a growing flock of Brent Geese, a large flock of Golden Plover and of course the laid out Grey Seals which gave out a few mournful calls during the morning.  The vicarage garden brought nothing but a Robin, but Redwings were heard over head and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in the air.  We thought this would be a rarity for the island and it was confirmed later, by a regular island birder that the woodpecker is not even recoded annually here.  Two Brambling were found in the trees opposite the church and as I purchased a Cappuccino Sam found us a few more Brambling in the centre of the village.  A Chiffchaff was heard at some point.  Red Admiral Butterflies were making the most of the sun despite the cold air.  The atmosphere was good with the occasional sound of Grey Seals, Curlew, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Knot and other waders.  Unlike on our previous visit when the sea was calm, we could hear the rushing waves along the shores of the island today.

The lonnen was now aflush with berries but held few birds, but at the far end Willows we had sightings of Treecreeper and Yellow Browed Warbler.  A nicely coloured Speckled Wood Butterfly was well camouflaged as it took heat from the sun.   Instead of completing our regular circular walk past the lough we walked through the dunes in the opposite direction which would eventually take us back to the road and carpark.  There was a sparsity of birds but numbers of Meadow Pipits and Skylark passed overhead and one of the latter singing above the fields.  We also had a nice sighting of a female Sparrowhawk.  A Kestrel was also seen at some point.

Speckled Wood seeking warmth

Caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth

I was pleased to see that there was still plenty of Grass of Parnassus in flower even if not at its best.  I had the macro lens at hand on this occasion.  Also, as we passed by what appeared to be the remains of old lime kiln workings we found lots of Carline Thistle benefiting from the calcareous ground.  A small specimen of Viper Buglos remained in flower close by.   This little area would to our minds be a good spot to explore for plants come next spring and summer.  A nice patch of Sea Aster was also passed.  Also found were some ‘Woolly Bears’ caterpillars of the Garden Tiger Moth.  I was carful not to touch them as I had learned that they can cause serious skin irritation in some people.

Grass of Parnassus

Viper's Buglos still attracting bees.

The Snook car park was taken over by the film crew’s vehicles but we found a space elsewhere and had a walk through the dunes before making off in the Direction of Budle Bay.  The film crew were in action and we resisted the temptation of trying to get in on the act.  Little Egret was seen as we left the island.

TV crew at work

Carline Thistle

Sea Aster

The highlight at Budle Bay for me was the numbers of skeins of Pink Footed Geese, their calls unmistakeable, flying across the bay and seeming to make inland to the fields.  Geese are one of the real joys of this time of year and I can think of nothing better than being surrounded by them.  Two more Little Egrets were seen along with the likes of Curlew, Black   tailed and Bar Tailed Godwits and parties of gulls and Shelduck.

Edges of Budle Bay

As we passed by Boulmer we thought it worth checking out for the Bluethroat and we were rewarded with an excellent sighting of this bird feeding not far from the carpark.  It kept to the ground except when disturbed by a dog at which point it flew onto the nearby bushes before returning to feed again.  Boulmer has been kind to us in the past two weeks.  A good ending to the day.  Cloud building up and a drop in temperatures suggested a change in the weather once again.

Bluethroat image courtesy of Samuel Hood

I missed out on the fall of migrants that occurred during the heavy downpours of the following day, although Sam braved the weather and was well rewarded.  Thankfully, another trip to Lindisfarne today made up for my missing out and eased the envy.  Details of this fantastic day of birding coming soon.