I had not heard of Morpeth before my stay there but I am sure the whole Nation now know of Morpeth after making headline news with the heavy rains and flooding that occurred there this week after the River Wansbeck burst it's banks. A nightmare scenario for those affected in Morpeth and indeed also for others around the country that have been similarly affected, I hope they return to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.
The weather was overcast on the journey North and fortunately dry. After settling in to the accomodation an early evening visit to Newbiggin-by-the-sea was made for some seawatching at Church Point. Three Eiders were spotted bobbing about on the sea and also a lone Razorbill, I was delighted with both of these sightings. Oystercatchers, Cormorants and a Grey Heron were resting on the breakwater. Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Starlings and Gull(sp) were feeding on the shoreline. After a short while it started to rain and gradually got heavier and the air much colder. This was to be the only rain during the long weekend apart from a couple of early morning showers the next day (Friday) on the way to Bamburgh. The sun shone for most of the weekend and it was also quite warm in sheltered spots.
The North East coast lived up to expectations, stunning scenery, wonderful shorelines to scan for birds and the seawatching was a real treat. Places visited over the weekend and highlight birds were:
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea species seen as above.
Bamburgh, Swallows, Martins and Pied Wagtail.
Seahouses, splendid seawatching here and also views of The Farne Islands and Holy Island. Gannets (mostly juveniles) and Tern species fishing were a sheer delight to watch. Shoreline birds seen were as the species seen at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. A flooded field close to the roadside between Bamburgh and Seahouses was a very productive area with Shoveler, Mute Swan, Tufted duck, Coot, Little Grebe, Wigeon, Mallard, Greylag Geese, B H Gull, Linnet flock, Starling, Lapwing and a Sparrowhawk which swooped into the field where the Lapwings were feeding, it did not lift afterwards so presumably it caught it's prey!
Beadnell, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Eider.
Low Newton Pied Wagtail.
Alnmouth, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Redshank, Lapwing, Ringed Plover and a lone distant Goosander/Merganser.
NWT Hauxley Nature Reserve. Blackbird, Robin, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Dunnock, Chiffchaff (heard), Teal, Little Grebe, Redshank, Wigeon, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Swallow and Martin were a few of the species seen here but the main highlights were a flock of 100+ Goldfinch that were very flighty and Tree Sparrows that were seen at a hide feeding station.
Druridge Pools.Teal, Little grebe, Wigeon, Gadwall and Mute Swan. I am 99% sure that I caught sight of a couple of Black Darter Dragonflies, a pity they did not perch!
East Chevington. Wigeon, Mute Swan, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, G B B Gull and the highlight of the trip and a Lifer........a Bonxie!!!
Cresswell Pond. Mute Swan, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing and Curlew.
The above is a brief summary of species seen. Having just two whole days to explore this delightful coastline only short visits were made to most of the sights visited. I would have liked to have spent more time at each especially so Hauxley Nature Reserve. I returned home with a book I purchased about Northumberland and plenty of information leaflets, so plenty of reading through the long Winter months in readiness for a hoped for return to the North East coast sometime in 2013.
Enjoyable conversations were had with several friendly,interesting and informative people whilst out and about.
It was a great trip to Northumberland, I am now looking forward to returning sometime in the future and spending more time exploring the stunning and dramatic coastline of Northumbria!
Inner Farne Lighthouse
The Farne Islands
The myriad of colours of the seaweed were striking in the sunlight! Just a pity the Oystercatcher couldn't have waited a little longer until I had taken my photo! At least the Ringed Plover behaved!
Great Skua! A record shot, I was lucky that the Bonxie just lifted as I took my photograph!