Saturday, March 31, 2018
Today I joined Alan Tilmouth as his guiding assistant at Holy Island to show some visitors to the Pilgrimage to the Islands Festival some birds.
The weather was diabolical and not conducive to trailing non birders around east coast headlands looking for migrants, so we adopted the stand and wait approach. Before heading off towards the location, we met up at the Crossman Hall. As I stood at the door, a quiet call caught my attention and a bird dropped into a small tree across the road. I gazed bemused at a wet silhouette before lifting the bins, to see a Hawfinch! At that point if flew up and east, then doubled back to drop somewhere in the village near the school. Alan didnt even get on to it as he was doing the meet and greet bit!
From here was stood on the shore near the Vicars Garden, in the shelter of an old building seeing 3 Slavonian Grebes, inc 1 summer plumaged bird, 2 Red breasted Mergansers, 2 Long tailed Duck, 10 Bar tailed Godwits, 2 Grey Plover. A few migrants dropped out of the murk, 2 Song Thrushes a few Blackbirds and a Goldcrest.
After leaving the island, I called in the Low Newton Scrapes that has played host to a Grey Phalarope for the last 4 days. Today it was looking settled, feeding on the water, head into the wind bobbing up and down. These little wisps of feather winter out in the Atlantic and are as tough as old boots. We get a few in Northumberland but not often on freshwater so it was a pleasure to see this one before it continues northwards...