As I turned the corner from our drive and headed through the village I was met with a very unusual sight indeed, a Guillemot, in summer plumage now, was standing on the roadside looking for all the world like a lost penguin. It had clearly been storm driven off its usual maritime course before first light and as daylight came, it was as surprised as me to find where it was standing.
I picked it up and took it back home for a quick physical inspection. It seemed fine and was keen to snap chunks out of me, so into the cat basket it went and I transported if off to a more suitable location.
At first I thought about Amble Harbour, but it was low tide and there were too many large gulls around for a tired auk, so I took it to Druridge Bay Country Park for a fresh water wash and brush up. Here, the lake often holds fish eating birds such as the recent Pacific Diver, it was relatively sheltered ( for an ocean going bird, maybe not for soft humans) and I thought it would give Guillie a chance to recover while the sea flattened off a bit, so it could fly back to its usual habitat. The sea is only a matter of a 100 mtrs from the lake so it could even smell it, for later on.
The cat box was opened and the bird couldnt wait to run down the boat launch and swim off strongly. It seemed fit enough, preening and flapping before settling in with some wintering coots.
While here, I decided to check the other birds around.
There were a good number of wildfowl including 6 Scaup, 5 Pochard, 44 Tufted Duck, 8 Red breasted Merganser, 4 Goldeneye, 4 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 2 Little Grebe, 20+ Coot, 20 Moorhen, 20+ Mallard plus a Sparrowhawk, Redwing, Siskins, 3+ Bullfinch and 10+ Tree Sparrows.
A walk down to the north end of East Chevington North Pool found a similar selection of species including - the now regular Pacific Diver, showing well, the closest bird on the water, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 8+ Scaup, 5 Red breasted Mergansers, 30+ Goldeneye and 4+ Pochard.
Then it was time to head hom to get warmed and to have some breakfast...
|A drake Merganser facing into a strong Nor Easterly...|