Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A Change Of Counties

I haven't posted for a few days as I have been up in England's most tranquil county, Northumberland. In my opinion perhaps the only county to give Cumbria a run for its money and possibly even better due to it's North Sea location and prime position for migrant birds!

Before I headed to the northeast last Friday I had a quick look at the Obs and it was fairly cloudy with a 10 mph southerly wind. I started off by having a look on the sea and could only muster 47 Cormorants (most of these were roosting on a shingle island), 12 Eiders (staring to build up now), four Gannets, three Auk sp., five Common Scoters and a Razorbill.

There was some vis in the form of 50 Meadow Pipits, seven Alba Wags, three Linnets, seven Carrion Crows, a Rock Pipit, a Reed Bunting, two Chaffinches, two Grey Wagtails, two Skylarks, 60 Pink-footed Geese, six Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail (getting late).

Grounded migrants included a Wheatear, two Chiffchaffs, three Coal Tits and ten Goldcrests. There was also a nice selection, and good numbers, of butterflies on the ivy (50 Red Admirals).


 Red Admiral

I headed off to Northumberland Friday afternoon to give a talk to North Northumberland Bird Club on the BTO ringing scheme and I was staying with my good friend George. We did a bit of birding around Newton-By-The-Sea Friday afternoon but it was very quiet with just a Wheatear and several Goldcrests. At sea were numerous Gannets and Kittiwakes with five Red-throated Divers.

 The view north from a section of that wall the Romans built!

We spent all day Saturday birding and again it was quiet. Noteworthy were 20 Red-throated Divers off Cocklaburn Dunes and ten Barnacle Geese amongst some Pinkies was nice.

We made up for it on Saturday evening by drinking in one of my favourite pubs in the whole of Brirain, the John Bull Inn in Alnwick. It has a great selection of real ales and amazingly serves a 120 different whiskeys! There is no music and no TV, just a classic old school back street boozer!!!

Unfortunately Sunday morning was better, and I say unfortunately because I was leaving to come home then. All we had time for was a quick look at Branton Pits near George's home and there was plenty of vis even though we were five miles from the coast. Redwings were constantly pouring over with groups of up to 30-40 dropping out of the sky. Chaffinches, Siskins, Redpolls and a few Bramblings were all on the move. The pits held a good flock of 70 Goosanders with a supporting cast of Teal, Wigeon, Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes and four Gadwalls.

I've got a busy week work wise this week and it could be weekend before I am out again proper!

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