Friday, 1 August 2014

Pilgrimage to Northumberland Part 1

Every year we make the effort to head up to Northumberland as it's one of our favourite places for both Birding and the Scenery. It looked like we might not make it this year and have left it later than usual, but this gives us the added chance of seeing the Seabird chicks, that of course you only see as eggs (if you're lucky) earlier in the year.

Our plan was arrive Monday afternoon, pop up to Seahouses on Tuesday via some birding spots of course and book onto a Wednesday boat..... the best laid plans as they say!

Anyway, we had a lie in on the Tuesday following a busy time in Lincolnshire the weekend and set off north stopping first at Cresswell Ponds, another favourite spot of ours, just for a coffee, honest!

As usual with Cresswell at first glance you think that there's very little there, but with patience it starts slowly revealing it's treasures (very poetic don't you think!) and if you can get a seat in  the crowded hide of course. Which we did, we had to use brute force though!

Anyway after applying bandages to the wounded we settled down, a couple of pair of Avocets were a treat and a Shelduckling:
a Snipe showed briefly, mostly though all the birds were on the far shore or out in the middle of the lagoon, so I didn't bother with photos. Our list for Cresswell was pretty good though:
Avocet, Snipe, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Ringed Plover,
Little Ringed Plover, Sandwich Tern, Goldeneye, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Swallow,
Tree Sparrow, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Black-headed Gull, Redshank, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Mallard,
Magpie, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon and Kestrel.
Here's one of the Tree Sparrows by the path to the hide:
After Creswell we popped in for a quickie at Druridge Pools, where were told there were some Spoonbills about:
We then headed up to Seahouses to book the boat and meet Pat who lives nearby and was on our recent Shetlands Group and works in Seahouses for the RNLI. We were late of course (Sorry Pat!) then found that due to the forecast of high winds the boats would be unlikely to run the next day and we should phone at 8:30. So disappointed we then spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Pat, having a beverage overlooking Seahouses harbour.

So next day new plan, (I did make the call and no luck!) So in glorious but windy weather we headed to Craster for a walk to Dunstanburgh Castle along the coast. We had a great time and saw a few species along the way, this Eider with 'Eiderling' close to the shore near the castle:
We decided to go into the castle as even though is an English Heritage site, NT members get in free and we know a nice spot for viewing nesting Kittiwakes and Fulmar that you can only get to from inside the castle grounds, these were the results, although this year there were no nesting Fulmars, just a few flying by:

We left the castle and carried on towards the beach, this Swallow posed nicely and took up some great poses:

On the beach the from the other side of the castle we had lunch and watched the Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Fulmars:

On the way back to Craster  a Rook posed so he has to have his photo taken, mustn't forget the Corvids!
and finally this House Sparrow using his wing to knock the web in the gorse, presumably to get the spider out, it was fascinating to watch:

So did we make it onto the Farnes on the Thursday?  You will have to wait for the next mind numbing instalment!


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