I arranged to go out with ADMc this morning, without a destination in mind. A late evening browse of birds I'm missing or still to find for the self-found year list revealed that both Great Northern & Black-throated are absentees. As a result I suggested we headed up to Buston Links south of Alnmouth. All three divers are possible off the long sandy beach with the added benefit of a relatively unwatched bit of saltmarsh and phragmites lieing behind the dunes at the north end.
We decided to walk around the saltmarsh south of Church Hill first, before scoping the sea from the dunes. A few hundred metres in and five Twite fluttered up and dropped back down to feed a little way off. Then further north a small sandy coloured bird stood out on the edge of the saltmarsh, Shorelark we both said and moved a little closer to scope it.
The obligatory record images in the camera we took a look on a fairly calm and fairly empty bay, 6 Goldeneye off the breakers, 3 Red-throated Diver, dark silhouettes in the glare of the morning sun on the water. We headed back to the car with ADMc leaping down dunes in gazelle like fashion.
Amble Estuary was a bustling hive of activity with bathing Herring, Common & Black Headed Gulls, 20-30 Wigeon, Lapwing, Redshank, Oystercatcher & Dunlin. A single distant plover was eventually attributed to Golden Plover after we steadied the scopes from the wind behind the car.
Most of the non-diving wildfowl at East Chevington hugged the south west shore out of the wind, a single Pintail the pick of the crop. A pale shape through one of the phragmites rides seen by ADMc was probably a Water Rail.
The sea here produced several Red-throated Divers, two x two incoming Whooper Swans and I did my best to string a distant auk into a Slav Grebe.
We stopped by the roadside south of Stobswood to check the new pool created by the opencast infill. The large feral Canada Goose flock from Bothal/Warkworth Lane was here and had sucked in two Whooper Swan, another site worth the occasional check during the coming winter if the geese (several hundred) continue using it.