Thursday, 13 September 2012


Despite the continuing run of westerlies I opted for a trip north to Holy island and the surrounding Lindisfarne NNR today. The rain stayed away at least until mid-afternoon and though the wind strengthened as the day passed it was pleasant enough most of the time.

Almost first bird on arrival was a Peregrine with prey atop one of the regular plucking perches on the mudflats not too far off the road. I opted for a couple of short walks to The Snook and at Chare Ends to look for any migrants and stretch the dog's legs. As expected there was little on offer, a single Goldcrest in the Snook garden and a single Wheatear along the path at Chare Ends were as exciting as it got. A skein of 133 Pink-footed Geese flew west as I walked into The Snook.

The main aim for today was waders and geese, out on the mudflats there was a huge amount of activity and I spent the next few hours counting, scoping and looking in vain for something tasty. Some decent counts of Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plovers with lots of Knot, Dunlin and Sanderlings to boot.

As the tide approached high I backtracked over the causeway and spent some time looking on the north side towards Beal Sluice where a small gull roost had built up and many of the waders were moving as the water continued to rise. Over 300 Pale-bellied Brent Geese moved over from the south side and 115 Pink-feet were out on the mud with a further 150-ish in the stubble behind me. A second-summer Arctic Skua flew up the channel before dropping on the water and drifting for a while on the rising tide.

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