Typical isn't it, I work for days on end indoors in wonderful sunshine, time comes to do some birding, I stagger from bed about the same as our feathered friends are setting out for the day and what do I find. Six degrees Celsius, four layers and light drizzle in a gentle Northerly, these summers go fast in your forties don't they?
Encouraged by talk of Arctic Skuas and double digit counts of Manxies I headed to Newbiggin for a little sea based birding. Grey sea, rolling swell, slight breeze not ideal but hey I'd only be sleeping. A couple of distant Manx Shearwater got the sleep out of my eyes and were the first of twelve over the next hour and a half including one party of four. A single Red Throated Diver came through quite high at mid distance and a little later a low dark phase Arctic Skua my first this year wandered through at no great pace.
All the surprises today were close in; first 22 Common Scoter appeared in the breakwater off the point with at least eight males amongst them.
I looked up from the scope again a few minutes later just as a silent party of waders dropped onto the rocks on the south side of the point, a quick check revealed five Whimbrel, still there roosting when I left at seven.
Top billing today though goes not to a bird but a fantastic pod of Bottle-Nosed Dolphin that appeared yards off the point and turned back out North East. I counted at least eight including one very small fin that must have been a calf. I watched them surface eight-ten times, each time exposing almost all their body except the tip of the beak, their eyes visible and plain lead grey body sides. A very different pattern to the more frequent Harbour Porpoise who tend to roll only exposing their fin and back. They rose and dropped as a tight knit group. I've had Harbour Porpoise from Newbiggin regularly but I think this is my first Bottle Nosed Dolphins. It is possibly the same pod that was seen earlier in the week in Druridge Bay.