Having the privilege of being one of the Burgage Holders of Alnmouth, (don't ask its the modern equivalent of being a peasant) I headed out with the other committee members at lunchtime yesterday to carry out our annual inspection of Alnmouth Common to determine any repair work necessary.
I'm getting back into the habit of carrying bins whenever I move outside, so I had them with me as we strolled north discussing coastal erosion and beach litter. I noted a pair of Common Stonechat just north of the Lifeboat Houses, apart from the odd Pied Wagtail these were the only birds I saw in a 1km stretch.
As we approached the North End of the Golf Course a small bird flew from a lone tree close to the beach. I managed to get the bins on a couple of seconds before it landed, expecting another Stonechat I saw a big orange/red rump and tail. Landing in a hawthorn about 20m away gave me clear views of a female Black Redstart, my first for six years. Unfortunately I was distracted by conversation and a minute or so later when I looked again the bird had disappeared from view and I was unable to relocate it.
I was pleased with myself till I got to the computer and found out that a Ross's Gull had been seen earlier that day at Seaton Sluice. Had I known I may have abandoned the common inspection in favour of a prolonged sea watch.