Not sure if it's because I feel left out as every bird blogger I know seems to be in foreign climes watching something exciting and new, even the young uns. I thought I needed cheering up, a little sunshine, some azure blue sky, an iridescent diamond sea to paddle in with rolled up trousers whilst feeling the soft warmth from the sand beneath as it gently exfoliates my ageing feet.
So on the spur of the moment we dropped everything this morning and went. Travelling light with no optics just the all important buckets and spades we hit Costa del Newbiggin. I left the birds behind, no pressure, sure I glanced at the gathering of gulls on the rocks and absentmindedly started working through them but I quickly dragged myself back to the children and sandcastles. Yes, I noticed the single passerine moving along above the line of the rocky sea defence but I resisted the temptation to go searching for it.
I closed my eyes to listen to the sound of summer as a Sandwich Tern called 'Keerick' somewhere out above the glistening calm bay. After an hour we retired to the park just off the beach and got into a rhythm on the swings, first one then the other with me stood between them left arm push, right arm push, my movements similar to those early morning Tai Chi exercises you see in parks and other public places in China and Hong Kong.
Then a soft, nasal 'Kee-ah ahhh ahhh' call from over my left shoulder (the good ear). Despite never having heard this species call before I knew instantly it was Mediterranean Gull. I have heard an (accurate) impression of this call from Jimmy Steele on more than one occasion and I'm guessing that this must have sunk into the subconscious. I turned and sure enough two adult summer Med Gull floating around and dropping to some spilled food nearby. Probably the same two that I tried to video a while back. In addition there was a 2nd calendar year bird still present also. They called again several times as they moved around in the air and my son even had a go at mimicking them with a little vocal prompting. They must be almost ready to leave to breed but where?