Northumberland 28-31 August 22

A chance to get away for a short break and escape the hot temperatures in Gloucestershire was welcome. A stay in a Shepherds Hut on a quiet farm near Ulgham was a good choice. Right out side the door wwas a gap in the hedge with feeders, at least 40 Tree Sparrow visited each morning and appeared to roost in the hawthorns. A Willow Tit called in and coveys of Grey Partridges were a daily sight be it gritting on the driveway and road mornings and evenings, a female brought four young to graze on the lawn early on our last morning. Roe Deer were regular with a few other commoner bird sightings including Common Whitethroat.

It’s a long drive from Gloucestershire but worth it for the coast and birding, I stopped at Redcar Beach on the way up, my family were visiting a nearby NT house (Ormesby) so I got to enjoy some beach birding with a male Greater Sandplover being the main attraction, what a great bird. We stopped in Barnard Castle before making it to Northumberland.

First morning out began at Widdrington Lake then to Newbiggin by the Sea, onto Druridge Bay and Cresswell Pond, Warkworth Castle, Boulmer, Craster and Dunstanburgh Castle. Day two Holy Island, Budle Bay, Stag Rocks, Bamburgh, Seahouses, Beadnell and Low Newton. The last day was extended when the car broke down on the A1, we spent the night in Newcastle whilst it was repaired and was back on the road on 1 September.

Highlights included the following

It was great to see a few seabirds, Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Arctic Terns etc. The beaches held Bar-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Redshank, Golden and Grey Plover, Curlew and Whimbrel.

Red-necked Grebe- adult at Widdrington Lake.
Arctic Skuas- off Newbiggin, Boulmer, Low Newton and Dunstanburgh.
Long-tailed Skua off Dunstanburgh.
Avocet- Cresswell Pond.
Dotterel- a juvenile with the Golden Plovers at Boulmer.
Roseate Terns- watched fishing adult birds with the other terns of Stag Rocks/Budle Bay mouth.
Greenish Warbler- a calling and sometimes showy bird on Holy Island.
Merlin- one on Holy Island.
Ruff- one on a pool near Seahouses.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth 17 September 2020

Took a day’s holiday for a bit of a rest and enjoy some of this September sunshine, great to hear news of the Lesser Yellowlegs on the South Lake (top spotting by Scott P, only the second reserve record and probably 4th for Gloucestershire), hopefully it’ll stay around until I’m next back at work. The scrapes look really good at WWT Slimbridge so it should give it and other waders plenty of feeding and roosting options.

I went for a short walk locally to the Glos to Shaprness Canal, I logged my first 7 Lesser Redpoll of the autumn passage period, 4 Stonechats on the fences and hedges added to the autumnal birding. At least 5 Chiffchaff, 3 calling Cetti’s Warbler and 2 Kingfishers were of note with a single juvenile Greenshank and juvenile Ruff also logged.

Back at home I was really pleased to see a Hummingbird Hawk Moth visiting the potted flowers on the patio for a prolonged period.

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