It was bitterly cold, with a thick white frost and a light NW wind that numbed the fingers. As I waited for John, a quick scan seawards revealed a Great Northern Diver heading N and a diver calling on the sea that sounded like a Red throat but I couldn't see it.
Soon, John arrived and after exchanging pleasantries and commenting on how baltic it was, we headed off down the Seaton Point steps to the shore. Well, that was the intention. From the top of the steps I lifted my bins in the dawn light to check the seaweed washed up on the tideline and the first bird I saw was a pipit with a very white belly. I commented that this looked like a Water Pipit and checked with the scope, expecting it to be either a Meadow or maybe a littoralis Rock Pipit.
What a surprise when the bird I focussed on was as suspected, a nice winter plumaged Water Pipit.
'Spinoletta' is not a common bird in North Northumberland, though I have seen one at this very spot a good few years back that flew off inland minutes after my sighting. Hopefully this one would be different.
Out on the weed were up to 20 Rock Pipits including several littoralis types and a scattering of Meadow Pipits. Mix this lot with a dozen Pied Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails and a few Robins that kept flighting up and down the beach, and our bird was proving tricky to get to grips with. In fact, the next two hours was spent trying to get a decent close view.
As the morning became brighter we eventually managed to get some excellent scope views to clinch the required features and even a few ropy record shots ( I think John has done a lot better than me...).
|Water Pipit(right) witha typical 'petrosus' Rock Pipit.|
|Water Pipit, the whitish supercillium would be more obvious in some views than in others.|
|John trying to get some photo's of the Water Pipit.|
Oh well, it only takes one bird and bit of excitement to make the day!