Sunday, 9 September 2018

On an Incoming Tide

Time and Tide Wait for No Man (ancient proverb)

8th Sept.  It was sometime after 11:00am when we arrived at Budle Bay, Northumberland and found that our initial impression was of a deserted inner bay.  The tide appeared far out as did many of the birds and the light at times was far from good in the cloudy conditions.  Time was on our side on this occasion, so we waited. There was no shortage of Redshanks, Oystercatchers and gulls as we began to scan the area.  We did think of moving on a few occasions, but happily we decided against.

The tide appeared to be incoming at some pace and it was clearly bringing birds along with it.  A large flock of Teal flew over the bay and this was followed by a smaller flock of the same species.  Wigeon were counted and numbers of Shelduck remained more distant.  A lone Whooper Swan was in between two Mute Swans in a nearby channel and we wondered if this was a stay over.  Three or four Pintails were counted, at least one of them a male in moult, the faint white neck marking just about visible now that the light was beginning to improve.  Knot, Dunlin and Goosander were seen.  Long tailed Tits could be heard calling from the hedge at our backs and Sam is certain that he heard a Fieldfare fly overhead.  A very early one.  Sam had listened to Redwings arriving prior to leaving Scotland yesterday.

Quite quickly the pool of sea water in the bay began to expand, but the distant sand and silt bars could still be easily seen as the sea encroached upon them whilst moving the mass of waterfowl further inland.  A mass of birds suddenly lifted, and a Grey Heron appeared overhead of where they had been.  I’m fond of Grey Herons, but had hoped on this occasion that the Peregrine Falcon was hunting.  It wasn’t to be.  Both Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits were seen well.  It wasn’t long before we were watching a Spotted Redshank, now lit very well by the available light, then another Spotted Redshank appeared.  Greenshank was the next species to be found and it wasn’t long before ewe had picked up at least four of these, their very distinctive feeding habits making them quite easy to pick out.  We had earlier seen two distant Little Egrets quite far out in the bay but these birds began to appear much closer now and one of them flew past at short distance.  They seemed to pick their spot on the edge of the farmland, as the bay now began to fill with seawater.

Time had seemed to pass very quickly, although it doesn’t take long for the bay to fill.  The incoming tide had now given a very different look and feel to the area and most of the birds had quickly disappeared.  The car park now held a number a ‘watchers’ and I hadn’t even noticed their arrival apart from the couple next to us who we had chatted to.  We had chosen our time to visit very well, if by sheer chance.  It was now time for fish and chips at Seahouses, my first visit to a fish and chip restraunt for months!

After lunch we paid a quick visit to Stag Rock, Bamburgh where we watched numbers of Shag, Eider, Fulmer, Guillemot and the odd Razorbill.  Afterwards we made a stop at Monk House Pool where we found numbers of Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, a Ruff and Snipe.  There was rain falling by the time we reached Low Newton and we didn’t feel like getting wet, so we didn’t stay but moved onto Amble where we failed to find the Caspian Gull once again, so we just enjoyed the walk and an ice cream, oh and of course the gulls that we did see along with more Goosander and Eider.

Exmoor Ponies at the dried up pools

Southern Hawker Dragonfly at Druridge Pools

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

Recent visits to Druridge have been largely unproductive with Druridge Pools in particular, drying out, so we very nearly didn’t bother stopping at Creswell, but I’m pleased we did in the end as we had very good sightings of Mediterranean Gulls.  In the distance skeins of geese were flying and we put them down to Greylag.    A pleasant short stop here ended what had been a very good day.  Thankfully I live within easy travelling distance to the sea as it would be a great miss if I didn't.

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