Monday, March 28, 2011

A tale of two estuaries...

 Yesterday morning turned out grey and cool, but by mid morning the sun was out and it was a lovely day.

JWR and myself checked out the estuaries of the rivers Aln and Coquet, our two nearest rivers.

Alnmouth was quiet other than a few Teal and Wigeon, a pair of Gadwall and half a dozen Snipe. A Chiffchaff was singing in the willows on the edge of the golfcourse pond, where 2 Coots, 2 Teal, 2 Mallard and 6 Moorhen were the only waterfowl. Green Alkanet was in flower along the banksides.

Down to Warkworth where we walked to the north side of the Coquet. This used to be our patch in the mid 90's but I havent been here for years. Its changed a bit, mainly with picnic sites left uncut and overgrown, creating more cover for migrants! See cut backs (or lack of them) aren't all bad....

Two pairs of Stonechat were pleasing to see, having survived the winter. One of the females seemed to vanish down onto her nest while the male sang overhead. On the estuary itself, 30+ Redshank, 28+ Knot, 50+ Curlew, a few Dunlin, 1 female Red breasted Merganser, 20 Wigeon and a smatter of Teal, 8 Goldeneye flew off overhead and out to see, while my first hirundine, a Sand Martin, skimmed over head, north.

A tall Sallow here was humming with Bumble Bees and my first butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell was sunning on the track























Back home Howick Pond was leaping with ( or should I say 'humping with') Toads all in a spawning frenzy...

5 comments:

Science at Coates said...

Hi Stewart

What did you think of the wader scrapes at Warkworth? I think they could be quite a pull for migrating waders this year. There is alo a new site on your other old patch. Stobswood lagoons (near the old little owl tree). Already in use as a roost it looks as if it will be a good spot soon as the invertebrates arrive.
Dave E

Dean said...

I`m still awaiting my first hirrundine of the year, Stewart. There was c200 Sand Marts at the Old Moor yesterday & a few Swallows have been reported locally today.
Everything`s bypassing me.

Stewart said...

Hi Dave, Warkworth is looking good but I think it will be too disturbed for waders. In teh autumn the vegetation is 4 ft high so you'll never see the water never mind any birds! Besides that though, the habitat is looking great for wildlife in general. Groppers / Sedgies etc will love it in there, and it might encourage Snipe and Redshank to breed.

Never seen the Stobswood lagoons, but I will when the next biggie is found by Nigel or yourself!

Dean - 200! It will be another fortnight before we get 200 sand Martins up here...

Andyinblack said...

Stewart....I had two Sand Martin over the river at Hepple yesterday morning.They normally nest on the bank about 200ydsdown from the bridge. Also found a dead otter on the riverbank near Barrowmill up from Alwinton

Stevie Evans ( owler ) said...

good to see a few more Stonechats have made it through the snows