Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wader fest...

Met up with JWR this morning at Alnmouth. As he had not yet been to see the Stilt Sandpiper at Cresswell, we headed off south. Years ago this was where we cut our birding teeth, but, since we live in the north of the county its not somewhere we visit these days, preferring to find areas that are less heavily watched. Still, it was nice to tread old stomping grounds.

The first stop at Cresswell pond was largely lifeless, with little of note, so we moved on to Druridge in the hope the Stilt Sand might be back in front of the hide. What a change since  I was last here! The vegetation has grown vastly and we nearly didn't find the track to the pools! On route down to the hides, the track flitted with young warblers and goldfinches. Out on the main pool, there were a lot of birds but mostly common wildfowl. A few Snipe showed close enough to photograph.

Moving across to the little hide facing the budge fields was better. The marsh looks excellent and will hold waders through out the season I would imagine. Today there were 2 Wood Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpipers, Ruff and Greenshank adding to the interest.

When the sun came out, so did the butterflies with plenty of Peacock, Red Admiral and Wall, plus this nice Comma.

After some discussion, and verbal abuse from the resident local patchworker, another trip back to Cresswell was on the cards.

What a change in the last hour! Waders were everywhere. 30+ Snipe, 20+ Dunlin, 4+ Common Sandpiper, 4+ Ruff, 3+ Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Avocet and the Stilt Sandpiper put on a great show, along with 3 Little Egrets and a Wheatear. Its a shame they were too distant to photograph, but great scope views were had. I think Dave Elliott was a welcome year tick.

After the excitement we reverted back to form and headed north, starting at the Coquet Estuary between Amble and Warkworth. Although the tide was very low, there were a few highlights, including 1 juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Bar tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 3 Sanderling and a summer plumaged Grey Plover, 2 more Little Egrets mad us reflect on their abundance now compared to only very recently.

A final pause up at Foxton Bends was quieter (as usual) with 4+ Common Sandpipers, 3 Goosanders, 2 Little Egrets and a Swift overhead. 2 Spotted Flycatchers in the scrub were probably locally bred birds.

So, not a bad morning. I love autumn, me!

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