Friday, 31 October 2014

Chats with Whoopers and Dolphins

27th Oct.  I met up with Tom at Tynemouth, perhaps a day to early having seen (or in our case not seen) the influx of winter thrushes etc the following day.  Never mind we did have good weather!  The Ravens had seemed to have left the cliffs under the priory by the time we arrived, but sightings of Grey Wagtail and waders were made.  We saw our first Rock Pipits here and continued to count them along the coast throughout the day.

The area surrounding the car-park whilst not holding anything out of the ordinary, was alive with Robins and tits in particular.  Long-tailed Tits being the most represented.  At least two Goldcrest were heard and seen.

We soon made off towards St Marys Island where Golden Plover numbers in the air were high.  A lone Ringed Plover was seen amongst numbers of Turnstone and Redshank in North Bay.  The wetland was…….well the wetland…..and vey quiet, although Teal was found here.  A search of the willows brought little until a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew out and across to the wetland area.  Our time here wasn’t wasted though, as I picked up the sound of Whooper Swans and eleven of them flew south down the coast and over our heads.  My first of the season.

Stonechat.  Image courtesy of Tom Middleton.
Walking towards Seaton Sluice we watched numbers of Curlew, Golden Plover and large flocks of Lapwing flying above the fields.  Passerines were low in number, so it was very pleasing when we found a family of four Stonechats flying near to the gun mounds.  More were found further along the pathway, but I suspect that it was the same birds moving along the cliff edge.  Great to see these birds about though.

Stonechat.  Image courtesy of Tom Middleton.  Obviously a stroppy bird if the sign is correct!  
The sea surface was pond like and when we reached Seaton Sluice we thought there was going to be little to watch over the sea.  After queuing for a seat at the fish and chip café and then enjoying a meal, we took a look from the headland.  We picked up a sizable flock of Common Scoter (no Velvets to be seen) towards Blyth in the exact same spot as I had found a smaller flock last week.  Near to them were numbers of Red-throated Divers, a couple of Wigeon, a single female Goldeneye, Eider Duck and what I think may have been a grebe species which remained unidentified and quickly lost sight of all together.  A number of Little Gulls remain in the area and more Wigeon were seen either in flight or near to us on the sea.  Three Red-breasted Mergansers flew north and Guillemots were quite well represented.

Grey Seals were present in the area and Tom initially picked up at least two dolphin species way out.  I eventually found them.  We are pretty sure they were two White-beaked Dolphins.  North towards Blyth and near to the Common Scoter we picked up what we think was Harbour Porpoise.

It was great to be out and about on such a day.  Is it really November tomorrow?

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