Thursday, 13 September 2012

Wader Day 2012: Disturbance

With a target of 23 wader species to beat I went out with Graeme B, D McKeown and John (Howdon Blogger) on Sunday morning.

Our first stop at West Hartford just before 6:20 provided us with out first waders of the day, Lapwing and Snipe.
The mist cleared as we headed north, just in time as a family party of 7 Red Legged Partridge ran across the road just outside Newton. 2 Ruff, Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Curlew were next on out list at Newton scrapes before a quick pit stop at Seahouses Harbour gave us Knot and Bar Tailed Godwit.

No Purple Sandpipers were at Stag Rocks only 2 Stonechat and hundreds of diving Gannets close offshore. At Budle Bay we saw our only Common Sandpiper of the day.

Holy Island causeway was next and this is where our birding was first disturbed not just by the constant stream of traffic across the causeway but by dog sand kids flushing everything on the sand and a group of backpackers standing in front of our scopes.

The best we could managed apart from Dunlin were 2 Greenshank on the edge of the causeway near Beal.

After failing for the first time that I can remember to find a Grey Plover at Holy Island we thought one would be at Fenham flats. No sign of any there either or at anywhere else we visited during despite being present during the day.

When we began the day we also thought that we stood a good chance of finding our own rare wader but this notion soon disappeared when we saw that common waders were only present in poor numbers.

The best ‘self found’ wader of the day was at Fenham when Graeme found a Curlew Sandpiper amongst the Dunlin. Also at least 300 Brent Geese had returned to the flats.

On the return journey we quickly stopped at Amble Braid when a Whimbrel flew over calling. As we approached Bell’s Pond we could see all the birds take to the air as a jet flew (too) low over. By the time we got to the hide at Cresswell it was Little Stint, Avocet and Pectoral Sandpiperless.

Futher south at Cresswell Village we had a Great Skua fly low over Cresswell Ices and head further inland. It had earlier seen on the pond where it killed a Coot!

A Yellow Wagtail was the only thing at Lynemouth Flash. The Spotted Redshank that had been at Castle Island had also disappeared as people were on the island in canoes.

The day would have been complete if cocklers were picking at Blyth Estuary but fortunately they weren’t’ it just a shame no bird were there either.

So the day finished just over 12 hours after we set off and we finished on a disappointing 19 species but still a good day was had by all.

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