Saturday, 8 January 2011

Stag Chilly

Dear Reader - I defy you to find a better title that links Northumberland ornithology with an American-branded, meat and kidney bean-based, spicy Mexican meal!

8am at Bamburgh, bloody cold and not a diver of any species in sight for the hour or more I was there.  Greeted by three Kittiwakes (N), and on the sea, nearly as many Eiders as there were Oystercatchers along the shoreline.

70 P-b Brent Geese (S), 5 Long-tailed Ducks on the sea (4 M/1F) with 9 Common Scoter, one very lonely Purple Sandpiper along with 10 Dunlin on the exposing rocks as the tide ebbed.

By far and away the best aspect was the superb views of a Merlin looking for breakfast, putting all the beach-based birds up several times, and pursuing four Dunlin, separating off one and then missing it!  This was the second of two sorties over the beach, the bird first seen flying in from the north and disappearing towards the castle, and then in from the north again, causing havoc before u-turning and then heading back north towards Budle Bay.  Magic!

Monk's House Pool was very quiet, most of it frozen, so the commoner gulls and ducks were the only birds seen.

A mixed flock of grey geese in the field at the Hauxley turn-off merited a search, but was mainly Greylags with a handful of their Pink-footed 'cousins'.

East Chev. was equally sedate, and so on the way to an even more desolate Bothal Ice Rink, a quick look at the Linton Whoopers, yesterday's report 31 now swelled to 43 on one side of the road and six on the other.

A walk around Plessey, from the new windmills to Plessey Mill Farm and back added Pheasant, Yellowhammer (five along the road) and Nuthatch (one in the woods) but generally it was very quiet and still very cold.

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