What a weekend. Lovely sunny, spring like weather on both Saturday and Sunday with little or no wind and clear blue skies.
On Saturday a couple of short Boulmer visits produced two new year ticks on the patch and the first hints of visible migration of north bound winter visitors. At Seaton Point, the first 5 Fulmars of the year were milling around offshore as were 4 Red throated Divers, a Goldeneye and a female Goosander was in with a dozen Red breasted Mergansers briefly before flying off.
Two single Snow Buntings flew north high over head, their twittering flight calls giving away their presence ages before they came into view, making their first steps towards their arctic breeding grounds. These early signs of migration always give me a great lift.
In the village, 56+ Yellowhammers, 5+ Tree Sparrows, 6+ Reed Buntings and 2 pairs of Grey Partridges were around the small paddocks, see pics below.
On Sunday, I started early to do my Winter Plover Survay for the final time. At the Low Steads at Howdiemont Bay I managed to locate a drake Scaup in with the Eiders. Nice to get one after everyone else has had them. Also in the tiny cove were a Red throated Diver and a pair of Goldeneye. A female Sparrowhawk put 13 Linnets to flight over the cattle feed.
Down to Boulmer village, the days highlight came in the form of a pod of 5+ adult and 1 juvenile Bottle-nosed Dolphins as they made their way north close inshore. As they rounded the Longhougton Steel, they dropped a gear and started leaping clear from the water before being lost to view. While watching them, 7 Gannets and a Fulmar flew north.
Near here I bumped into Richard Dunn ( see link left) who was looking for Fridays Lap Bunting. As I hadn't been to check if it was still there I decided to have a yomp over the fields with him. We dipped. Obviously the Lap had thought the weekend was looking good for migration too! Of note were 1 Snipe flushed from stubble, 1 Buzzard, 6+ Grey Partridges, 15+ Skylarks and 6+ Reed Buntings. 5 Song Thrushes were on the golfcourse.
Another quick look at the sea at high tide had 2 Fulmars, 1 Red throated Diver N and 2 Common Scoter N.
85. Common Snipe