Tuesday, 30 October 2012

29-30 October

Figuring that not all the wee beasties would have flapped their way out of the North Sea I took off for Newbiggin yesterday morning arriving just after 09:00. First bird through the scope was indeed a Little Auk followed by 300 more in the next twenty minutes. By 10:30 I had counted 542, all north, lots of small parties of 5-10 and a good few under 500m out offering decent views in splendid light. My count was dwarfed by the Farnes who recorded over 4000 yesterday!, talking to one of the team last night they noted that 95% passed to the east as opposed to flying through Staple Sound.

I only noted four other species in my notebook though I wasn't too disappointed given that one of them was a juvenile Sabine's Gull that flew south at 09:25. A single Tufted Duck, 3 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and 169 Common Scoters made up the remaining entries.

A quick dash home for a cuppa then back with the dog for round two on the golf course. You know it's quiet when a Purple Sandpiper is the highlight of the session. A 'tweet' from Martin Kitching alerted me to 'six Waxwings at Asda Filling Station, Ashington' and as I had to drive past I pulled in for a quick look around an hour or so after he had reported them. Sure enough in the rowans that have proved popular with the species in previous years there were not six but nine present early afternoon. Still there early morning today as I trudged into Asda for the weekly shop, subsequent reports have reached up to 16 today, presumably other arrivals.
 Purple Sandpiper playing chicken

Today I was planning to head to Warkworth Gut with the dog on completion of domestic duties but I veered off at Hadston and parked up at the boat compound and walked south to the top hide overlooking the north pool at East Chevington then back along the beach. Offshore a single Little Auk north through the bay and a single drake Velvet Scoter; two drake Scaup also ploughed north amongst a tight group of Common Scoters. On land little to show, 38 Sanderlings, single Knot and a Stonechat. I spent what was left of the time before work parked up with the Ellington Lane gull flock, trying hard to turn one of the assembled masses into something interesting. Lots of argentatus of various ages including a pale-headed 1st-winter that had me trying to string a mich.

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