I held off going out early to give the other half a much needed lie in. OK you know me better by now, there was a heavy shower early on and I didn't fancy starting the day wet. First stop Longhirst Flash for a quick check for passage waders, not a sausage or any waders for that matter. As I pulled forward to turn I noticed a squat figure tucked away with a scope in the hedge gap at the road bend. I pulled in to see who it was and have a chat, turned out to be Dave Elliot, one of the most regular birders at East Chevington and someone who took part in the Northumberland Local Patch List when it ran from 1999 to 2001. Lucky I stopped as from the angle he was at he could see in the corner behind the spit where there were two Wood Sandpiper, a single Green Sandpiper and a Greenshank all tucked away. One look is never enough.
I headed to Newbiggin with the rain catching up with me. A very calm sea with almost no wind meant little movement. Puffins were very visible in small numbers dotted about the bay. More notable was 121 Golden Plover some with the remnants of summer plumage still hanging on all back on the rocks. Single Dunlin and Turnstone also in their summer clothes kept them company.
With the shower quickly clearing I decided to check the beach for Med Gull which was the right move. A small group of gulls and terns roosting at the north end of the beach was a real lucky dip. Several Sandwich Tern hung with the usual Black headed Gull and Herring Gull. I quickly picked out an adult Med Gull followed by another behind it, then a third further away to the south.
Med Gull, adult summer plumage.
A closer look at the roosting gulls then yielded two 2nd calendar year Med Gull amongst the commoner gulls. That made five all told. Amazing to think that two decades ago you wouldn't find a Med Gull in summer for love nor money in Northumberland. For those of you just starting out as I know there's a few that check this blog out note the black rather than brown hood of the adult when compared to Black headed Gull and no black in the wings of the adult in flight or at rest, a slightly larger and more orange/red bill is also a good ID feature for Med Gull. Beautiful gulls Med they have a great call, check out this post for details.
Med Gull, 2nd Calendar Year.
Med Gull, adult summer.
Enough time to drop in to Castle Island on the way home, lots of birds, highlights included four Common Sandpiper, single Greenshank and Common Tern. Good numbers of Tufted Duck and six Pochard amongst them, three Wigeon adding to the returning ducks.
Several Ringlet and four Large Skipper vied for attention at my vantage point, a Red Admiral did some ducking and diving further along the track but pick of the leps this morning was a patch tick Wall which took me by slightly by surprise. It wasn't particularly helpful choosing to land on a ledge a few feet down the steep bankside resulting in not the closest or clearest of images but good to see none the less.
Wall, River Wansbeck.