I kept one eye on the skies as there have been several records of Red Kite over Beamish but despite a warm and sunny day I was out of luck. It was interesting to note a little of how birds have been used to sell product over the years. Robin Starch I can get due to the upright habit of our familiar garden bird but Albatross Flour? Also note the 'Albatross' in the sign, obviously the artist had little experience of this magnificent seabird and had been told it was as big as a goose.
This morning I had a couple of hours down at Newbiggin on the hunt for migrants. At this time of year a little overnight rain can always bring Barred Warbler, Wryneck or Red-backed Shrike although migrants were few and far between today, I guess the wind direction played a part. Although a juvenile Citrine Wagtail down the coast at Saltholme shows what could have been full three weeks earlier than the one I found at Alnmouth four years ago. A Merlin sat on the Ash Lagoon fence and a single churr from a Whitethroat were all I could drum up from the scrub before I headed over the Golf Course to Beacon Point.
40+ Great Black-backed Gull lazed on the rocks at Beacon Point along with 200+ Golden Plover and a mixed bag of other common waders. Further along the beach the high tide had left a little pool over the top of the sand slope to the sea. Various waders were taking advantage to feed around and in it. Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin even a Bar-tailed Godwit came up and had a probe for a minute.
One of the Sanderling was colour ringed (see below) so I'll be trying to track down where it came from.
First juvenile Turnstones I've seen this year with all previous birds being moulting adults. They could almost be mistaken for a completely different wader if you haven't seen them before.
As I mentioned several Bar-tailed Godwit flew in and dropped on the beach near the pool I was watching. They are just the most elegant of our common waders in my opinion. The flight shot below isn't marvellous with too much out of focus but I kind of like the 'soft' look it gives this individual and it seems to accentuate the underwing pattern.
It's the combination of upturned, two toned bill, short but bright supercilium and the lovely warm buff tone to the sides of the breast that give Barwits such a subtle feel. Then the extra leg length compared to most of our winter visitors adds the elegance of height.