Sunday, 14 February 2010

Newton and Long Nanny

Changing skies at Long Nanny.

'hat'll be the Day!

13th Feb. It was a Local Group trip today with sleet on the outward journey and rain on the return, but happily dryness in between. We were told today by the guy checking tickets in the car park that coaches aren’t allowed to park here (no sign to that effect however), although to be fair he didn’t make too much fuss about it as we were about to leave anyway. I think one or two drivers will have returned to find tickets on their car!

We found Gannet, Eider Duck, Goldeneye, Cormorant, Shag, Great Crested Grebe, Guillemot and gulls as we watched the sea. One member who walked to the point found Red Throated Divers some distance out at sea. Waders on the shore were Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Sanderling, Turnstone, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Curlew. We found many more Curlews in and above the fields when we later walked to the pool. The odd Shelduck was on the tide line, and the odd Rock Pipit appeared and called from time to time.

I found a female Merlin in the on the way to the pool and several members had good sightings as it sat on a fence before flying off low across the fields. The pool and the area around it seemed quiet. Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and Moorhen were seen on the water. A Grey Heron flew across in front of the hide. One of our members found a single Snipe in the very wet areas near to the hide. As I walked back along the beach I found a single Purple Sandpiper feeding with the Turnstones. I don’t normally eat on the coach but I was pleased to get out of the cold today, so quickly ate my sandwiches before we left for Long Nanny.

Once parked up I took a short walk back to check out the c20 dark bellied Brent Geese, birds of the day as far as I was concerned. As we watched another Merlin was spotted and I managed to catch sight of it as it appeared to land behind the dip in the field with the geese, possibly having chased prey. Two or three birders were about looking for the Lapland Bunting which had been photographed in the tree. They left after a while feeling that they were looking for a ‘needle in a haystack’. I would have sacrificed the rest of my days list of birds…no…I would have sacrificed our group members, for a sighting of Lapland Bunting, which would have been a lifer for me. Sadly the sacrifice proved unnecessary, although I was happy enough with the Brent Geese and Merlin today.

The walk along Long Nanny provided sightings of Kestrel, Little Grebe, Teal and Redshank and at the bridge we looked over to the west to find a small flock of Pink-footed Geese. No sign of Twite although I see a flock of seventy had been reported earlier in the day. On a personal level I wasn’t to concerned, having seen Twite at Cresswell the day before, but I would have liked to deliver for the group. I was still dreaming of a Lapland Bunting! The bay provided a large flocks of Dunlin, along with Oystercatcher, Sanderling and Ringed Plover some of the latter displaying in a small group. I found my first Stonechats of the day in this area although I understand at least one had been seen by other members earlier in the day. There were a few Common Gulls about as well as the Black Headed, Herring and Greater Black Back Gulls.

On the return walk I thought we were to be caught in a downpour but it never came. A small skein of Pink-footed Geese flew over head and some Roe Deer were seen in the distance. Goldfinch song was coming loudly from the trees near to the car park, and a line of Redwing with a solitary Fieldfare was on the wire. I couldn’t resist another look at the Brent Geese and I encouraged everyone to get along there to take a look. I thought it a little odd that not everyone took the chance! A single Yellowhammer was seen in the hedge by some members. The white Peacock was also causing some heads to turn.
The day had seemed a little quiet at times, but never the less we had a group list of sixty-four species which later became sixty-five when I spotted a Common Buzzard just a little north of Newcastle.


  1. 2 Merlin! 2! Wished I'd Bean there.

  2. Yep the car park bloke is red hot around Newton, ALWAYS buy a ticket, or you will get fined !

    At the risk of sounding gripping, yesterday the flock of twite were feeding exactly where all of your group members are stood in that last photo.....

    Agreed lap bunt is a defo needle in a haystack.... you've just got to be very lucky...

  3. A K. Yes, you should have bean there Andrew, as you would have enjoyed Merlin's 'magic'

    N S. Ha...well at least I can tell 'em they were standing on the spot where the Twite had been, that should make 'em feel good.;-)

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