29th Aug. We had a good turn out for the Local Group walk at St Mary’s Island today. Participants included a lady who volunteers on Coquet Island so it was apt that we found Roseate Terns. It proved to be a good day for terns, with a large number of Sandwich and Common Terns and one Arctic Tern seen. Everyone had the chance to view four Roseate Terns and as all of the terns were together on the rocks it enabled comparisons to be made. Several of the participants I feel, quickly learnt that identifying waders, terns and gulls in various stages of plumage is no easy business!
As I had promised my self, I kept the party well away from the neglected wetland area and spoke to one or two people who feel the exact same way as me about the state of neglect. As the group dispersed three of us found seven Roseate Terns in a line on the rocks (the 4 I had seen earlier may or may not have been amongst them), with a lone Kittiwake. Well ok not the 67 Roseate Terns reported from the previous day I see, but I’ll settle for seven and the fact I had managed to time things for what seems to have been the peak movement of the Roseate Terns. In fact I had timed things for the tides so as to allow us to spend time on the island and simply hoped this would coincide with a few terns moving south.
The wind meant there was no butterflies to be seen in the grassland area although as I walked from Whitley Bay centre I had seen Small White, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell and yes, Painted Lady Butterflies along with Sand Martin, Wheatear and Kestrel. I was told that five Whinchat had been seen together on a fence of the ‘mast’ field. Numbers of waders seem to be building up nicely and the nine species we saw kept everyone busy and the one Grey Seal was a nice bonus.