Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Harr Harr said the Clown

29th April

Ha! Ha! said the clown
Has the king lost his crown,
Is the night being tight on romance
Ha! Ha! said the clown
Is it bringing you down,
That you've lost your chance
Lyrics by Manfred Mann

With the harr coming off the sea and reaching well inland I wondered if our planned trip to the coast would go ahead today especially when someone who had been down there told me ‘you’ll see nothing down there in the fog’.

Sam and I as all weather birders decided to go anyway on the basis that at least some migrants might be held down by misty conditions, and so it was that just after 4:00pm we set off from the summery and hot shores of the patch and headed to Whitley Bay which could have been another continent such was the change.  Temperatures had plummeted by the time we stepped into the air at Whitley Bay Crematorium grounds, but to a large extent at least the mist had cleared. We found nothing more exciting than Willow Warbler in the grounds along with one or two other expectant birders walking rather aimlessly around.  Sam will get his lifer Wryneck sooner or later so there was no problem.  We’d lost our chance, but nothing brings us down.  The earlier conditions seemed to have kept the crowds away, which was good.  I eventually put on a couple of more layers and we were off.


 We clocked our first Wheatear on the golf course and the next one in South Bay along with Rock Pipits and Pied Wagtails.  These were the first of several Wheatears that we saw this evening.  One female Wheatear feeding on the path, but staying within a safe distance in front of us whilst giving a nice sighting, until folk approached from the opposite direction and the bird took off into the fields.  I reminded Sam that Wheatears are definitely in my top ten favourite bird species.  We were able to get close to the feeding Turnstones and Sanderling and I’m happy to say the few folk about respected our space which rarely happens down there when there are more folk about.  The waders were looking good in changing plumage.


 Onwards to the wetland and willows area where we found a number of singing Common Whitethroats, numbers of Goldfinch and the odd Reed Bunting, but little else.  Skylarks were singing continuously over the fields.

We stopped for a 'chat' near the second shooting mound with a fellow birder who was looking for the reported Whinchat.  After he had moved on I caught sight of a bird drop into the bushes on the mound.  We hung around for a while and it paid off as a male Whinchat eventually flew up and perched in front of us giving the sighting of the evening.  I would have called the other birder over, but he had by then disappeared.  We then spent some time with the Fulmars which was another highlight of the evening.  The birds were flying close to the cliff and directly over our heads at times.  We had a chat about seabird colonies and made some tentative plans to visit them.

We searched the area near the harbour at Seaton Sluice and we were rewarded by a brief sighting of Common Redstart before it disappeared into the undergrowth and unlike the Whinchat before it, this bird did not make a re-appearance whilst we watched.  I was also quite surprised to find we still have Purple Sandpiper with us.

It was grand to be out and about as the days lengthen and an enjoyable evening was rounded of with fish (giant ones) and chips whilst we sat under the shelter and chatted.  Yes, the days are longer and it’s such a pleasure to be out and about of an evening.  Ignore what the weather might be like and get out and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Good advice re: the weather. Our skin is waterproof as they say and the forecast changes so much it's often hard to plan ahead anyhow, lol.