A different look and feel to the area
31st Jan. First it was the pain, with an early morning appointment for dental treatment. The pain was all in the mind of course and in the event the episode passed by without a whimper. Never the less so glad was I to feel the fresh air and freedom from the dreaded ‘chair’, that I decided to hop on a bus down to St Mary’s Island. It was indeed a beautiful morning, if somewhat cold. To be honest I thought a trip would be worth it to reach my target of one hundred species before February.
I walked from Whitley Bay Crematorium towards the lighthouse and soon began to tick off a number of waders including Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and Bar-Tailed Godwit. The Sanderling were feeding at the tide edge along with the Turnstones. It took me a little while to find bird number ninety-nine, a Ringed Plover. I later found flocks of them! Even harder to find was the Purple Sandpiper but I did eventually pick one up before it disappeared again behind rocks and seaweed. So Purple Sandpiper was bird one hundred.
I was confident about finding more now, but in fact didn’t get past the one hundred mark, but I’m well satisfied. A walk around the wetland area brought birds such as Teal in numbers, Mallard and Gadwall. I am no great fan of this wetland area, but I have to say it was quite busy with bird life today and looked amazingly good in the sunlight.
The mouth was still numb so I decided to try and walk this off as I made towards Seaton Sluice. There is an amazingly noticeable lack of small passerines about just now. The sea was calm and the light good, and calls of waders could be heard until I reached Seaton Sluice. The flock of Curlew were especially noisy and active today. I arrived at Seaton Sluice too late to find the flock of Knot as the tide had risen over their usual area on the rocks. With only binoculars with me I decided a watch from the NTBC hide wasn’t really worth the time, so I gave that a miss. I only found Eider Duck, Cormorant and gulls on the sea.
I was out less than two hours before I made for home but had really enjoyed the walk and the waders. Weekend at Norfolk coming soon with some guys from D BC so the year list ought not to stand still.
I’ve just reserved two tickets for the special meeting arranged by NTBC to be held on 31st March. Details can be found on the club site. The title of the talk is The Next Frontier of Birding in Britain. Sounds as though it will be a good night.