And what better than to head down to the coast before first light to see what is around as the sun rises.
I met John at Boulmer first thing. As we scanned from the car park there were plenty of birds to see - a Pale Bellied Brent Goose swam with a couple of Shelducks and there were loads of gulls milling about. We hoped that last week's Ros's might drop by, but it didnt, nor did the highly unseasonal Whimbrel seen the other day by Ben on the pool behind the pub ( Bull's Mere).
As the sun rose, good numbers of divers began moving around and soon we had logged 43 Red throated Divers N and 3 Great Northerns in with them. As they headed north, a steady movement of Pink footed Geese went south totalling 180. Also moving at sea were 4 Goldeneye, 6 Common and 1 Velvet Scoter with good numbers of auks.
In the flooded field were 70+ Lapwing and more gulls.
We wandered along to Longhoughton Steel where the newly exposed shore held lots of waders including 18+ Bar tailed Godwit, 251 Curlew, 600+ Golden and 5 Grey Plover, 13 Purple Sandpipers, 20+ Turnstone, 17 Knot, 100+ Dunlin and 66 Sanderling.
A male Peregrine almost caught a Lapwing over the sea but lacked the stamina.
A few ducks were around including 30 Wigeon, 40 Mallard and 10 Shelduck but 3 Gadwall in-off were more surprising.
The only passerines noted were 2 Stonechat, 10 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit and about 6 Song Thrushes.
After tea and a scone we had a look up to High Newton where we walked across the fields to Football Hole and back by the Tin Church.
A local told us he had seen two Short eared Owls here this morning but we couldnt find them. Apart from the lovely sunshine and sea views the best we had were 24 Goldeneye, 100+ Golden Plover, 4+ Yellowhammer, Grey Partridge, Treecreeper and Goldcrest.