Warm. That's what the weather people said of yesterday so what better than a bit plodge in the sea I thought. I've just noticed the Firefox spellcheck doesn't like the word plodge, now if I was Tom Mckinney I could take off at a tangent and convince my US readers that plodging is a heinous act of gross indecency involving sand eels but I'm not Tom and I only have three US readers that I know of so on with the show.
Where was I? Beach, plodging, barefoot kids. Close by a small flock of Black-headed Gulls lingered along the shoreline, occasionally picking at the green slimy seaweed half-heartedly. Amongst them a single adult Mediterranean Gull looking rather sexier than a jockstrap full of sand eels. One would assume that given the proximity to Coquet Island there may be some good news regarding breeding forthcoming at some point. Later as the kids did a bit of beachcombing a few minutes scan offshore produced two Arctic Skuas a dark morph that came in low and landed on the sea, closely followed by an intermediate morph, both looked adult-ish though the heat haze prevented me ageing them with any huge degree of certainty.
We did Druridge Bay Country Park next. Let me rearrange that sentence. We were done at Druridge Bay Country Park next. £1.40 minimum parking charge so my kids could have a half hour in the park, so much for encouraging folk to get outdoors Northumberland County Council.
East Chevington on the other hand was free, a single 1st-summer Little Gull the highlight of the north pool though we did manage both male and female Marsh Harriers whilst on site.
Kids in bed I slid out to Newbiggin for a quick look on the sea, choppy and little movement with c.60 Common Scoters the only notable. A long scan of the south bay produced 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 adults and 6 1st-summers. The evening ended with some excellent views of a hunting Long-eared Owl that had been reported to me the previous evening (thanks Paul).
Today being the kids regular swimming day, as opposed to an infrequent plodging day, little opportunity to get anywhere, A quick afternoon jaunt to the island produced a single adult Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Cormorants. However that was eclipsed by a garden mega this evening. I'd just filled the sink and was facing a stinking pile of enchilada encrusted plates when I noticed a movement on the base of the apple tree trunk and you could have rocked me with a sand eel as a Treecreeper crept higher and higher. Presumably post-breeding dispersal this is the first Treecreeper we've had in the garden and I guess along with the appearance of Nuthatch earlier in the year a sign that our trees are maturing.