With no planning whatsoever John and myself began at Amble Harbour and worked north.
Amble was very quiet indeed with nothing of note. Further along the river, a few ducks were worth a look, 100+ Wigeon, 1pr Gadwall, 4 Red breasted Merganser, 2 Goosander and 2 Goldeneye fed on a low tide, while a Little Egret flew over the point to the
At this stage we discussed the local site names for our usual birding spots. Traditionally, all bird records from most of the Coquet estuary were labelled Warkworth Gut. This name, however, is just wrong. Warkworth Gut is a small muddy creek running from the south behind Amble Marina and not the channel edged in saltmarsh and reedbed that runs to the north. This place, where most birds are found, is called Old Water. Now there are some tidal pools at the head of Old Water we have imaginatively named 'Old Water Pools'.
Just to confuse matters further, there is a small, difficult to view 'Gut' opposite the weir laybye, that could also be called Warkworth Gut, but it doesnt have a separate name, it is just known as 'the river above the weir'.
There, that's that clarified. Several Guts, but the real one rarely has birds...
Back to the birds. As we were here it would be rude not to call in to see the Coues Arctic Redpoll for the 5th time. Today the bird was running a bit late and left us standing twiddling our thumbs for half an hour before it and it's colleagues flew in to the usual fence line to allow viewing. There was some discussion about the identity of the rest of the flock. These birds get no easier. Most could feasibly be Mealies rather than the assumed Lessers. In fact only 2 birds out of 30 or so were obvious Lessers, one a very red breasted male and another browner bird, both small compared to the rest. There are definitely 3+ Mealies, the rest are just Redpolls....
|Coues on its usual post....|
|A sample of waders flying around.|
Nearby a young Grey Seal watched us pass then went back to sleep.
Not a bad day, certainly better than being office bound that's for sure!