Sunday, January 08, 2023

Northumberland 27.12.2022 - 02.01.2023 New Year in Northumberland

Great to be back on the home turf for a week or so. As usual mostly family stuff but managed an hour out and about most days. I didn't bother taking my "real" camera but my latest "point and pray" superzoom proved useful in the field again as well as for the standard holiday snaps:)

A visit to Low Hedgley near Wooler to get my Dad out for a breath of fresh air gave a bunch of Northumberland regulars - many of which would have caused some excitement back home - good numbers of Gadwall snadderand and Little Grebe dvergdykker to name a couple.

Gadwall snadderand

Gadwall snadderand with Coot sothøne

Little Grebe dvergdykker with big Perch abbor

Little Grebe dvergdykker with Mute Swan knoppsvane.

Any of the species in the above photographs would have made a days birding in Øygarden!

I managed wader counts over the same stretch of beach that I covered during my formative birding years. The number of people present at times defied belief - and on 01 January I don't think I have ever seen so many people on the beach even in summer. The poor waders have nowhere to go....

How the beach should be (and was) on 28 December
A truly terrific stretch of coast which is in essence the very cause of its own demise.

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt and Sanderling sandløper taking a nap at high tide

Where I grew up....

Turnstone steinvender

Bamburgh Castle

Inner Farne

Pied Wagtail svartryggerle feeding on the shore - a common sight even in winter

Plenty of Stonechat svartstrupe along the shore and in the dunes

Numbers of Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt were just under 100 birds - quite normal for the numbers of this species to vary a lot year on year at Stag Rocks. Oystercatcher tjeld, Redshank rødstilk and Turnstone steinvender numbers were, however, all rather low compared to previous levels.

Nice to see several hundred Common Scoter svartand offshore.

A few thousand Pinkfeet kortnebbgås, a small flock of Brent Geese ringgås, 60+ Shoveler skjeand and hundreds of other wildfowl and waders were seen during a short stop at Budle Bay. To think there was a point in my life when I thought there wasn't much going on in the area. 

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