Sunday, December 13, 2009

(Almost) Moth Free Zone...

After some complaints by licence payers saying that Boulmer Birder should now be Boulmer Moth-er I felt that I need to get back to basics. One commentator about this blog said that there are 2500 moths in the uk of which 2300 are brown and look the same. Philestines.( Although I can see his point!)

So this weekend is more 'birdy'...

Lets start with Saturday. It was cold, damp and foggy. For a change Bunty and I took our morning walk at Boulmer covering two stubble fields along the front, just behind the beach.

On the way, a short stop at the Spar shop in Longhoughton produced a single Mottled Umber on the wall.( Sorry I couldn't help it. Thats it honest.).

In the fields and hedgerows were -

12 Skylarks, 15 Meadow Pipits in one flock, 6 Snipe, 7 Grey Partridge and a Brown Hare. A small corner of game crop was quite good with 15+ Reed Buntings, 10+ Yellowhammers and 6+ Tree Sparrows.

On the shore, 2 male and 4 female Red breasted Mergansers flew north, 25+ Dunlin, 2 or 3 Sanderling and 3 + Bar tailed Godwits.

At home only one of the 3 Mute Swan cygnets remains on the pond. I'm not sure if the other two have flown off ? It will be interesting to see what happens to the last one... 2 Buzzards were in the Rectory.


A nice cold calm day with thick cloud at first, clearing gradually later on. A light NW breeze kept things 'sharp'.

I met up with Andy and Rob for a trip up north to Beal, the mainland side of Holy Island causeway. From here we had a long walk north to Goswick sands. Unfortunately the tide stayed quite distant keeping the seabirds well out.

4 juv Dark bellied Brent Geese and 1 Twite were the first birds seen on the saltmarshes. 3 Roe deer trotted through a damp area flushing a dark bird only feet before it took cover again. As we went to investigate, a Common Snipe towered away closely followed by a nice stocky little Jack Snipe that almost flew into Rob!

On the sea - at least 800+ ,and possibly as many as 1200, Common Scoter were the biggest flock I think I have ever seen. Dotted around about were 10+ Long tailed Duck including some nice males, 15+ Red breasted Merganser, 10+ Red throated Diver and 30+ Shag.

Above - If you remember there was a 'wanted' note for me in Birdwatch Magazine the other week? This is one they have returned to me, a timely Lapland Bunting from 1995...

The return journey was via a large stubble field, just behind the car park, near the end of the causeway that demanded further investigation. We spread out as we walked, seeing 30+ Skylarks and the usual flight views of 3 calling Lapland Buntings, a 2 and a 1. Poor views, but a good record nonetheless.

Above - Brents swimming the flooded causeway. Obviously they cant read.

Back at the car, the causeway was now covered by the tide and the wintering Pale bellied Brents were showing well with several hundred on show. A Merlin was overseeing them from a low rock on the marsh. This proved to be the first of three on my way home with two others, one over the A1 at Brownieside and one over the road at Denwick.

A good typical winters birding day in Northumberland...


abbey meadows said...

I have a copy of that very Lapland bunting in my paper notes in a file somewhere. Those were the days when we used to see them at least annually.

Tim Sexton said...

Your blog inspired my latest purchase - a field guide to moths!

Stewart said...

Nigel - You could have the original if you like!

Comet - Thats good, I'm pleased someone got something from it! ( Cynics take note) I hope you get into them too, soon you'll find yourself looking around the edges of shop windows at first light...