Thursday, 23 September 2010

White-winged Black Tern and waves of bombers.

Hadn't been out with Mr. Cheviot for a few weeks so we planned a walk to Ross Back Sands then down to Low Newton and Druridge Pools. The forecast was reasonable but deteriorating as the day went on and it was spot on. Early light was very nice as we walked across the links from Ross village down to the sands but it was quiet. When i say quiet i mean in bird terms but at the same time it was quiet in a peaceful and tranquil way with only 6 humans observed as we headed south towards Budle Bay. Spectacular views with Lindisfarne to the north and Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands in the opposite direction.
Just picture it, wide open sandy beaches with superb views of the Northumberland coastline. It don't get much better than that i can tell you. As we got closer to Budle Bay the honking of geese could be heard above the slowly increasing wind. Having heard the geese we started noticing more and more geese in the air. The tide was a long way out, which isn't the perfect time to visit Budle as the large numbers of birds deposited around the bay were spread over a very large area. We only had a limited amount of time so we took up a position on the north side of the bay and sat for 30 mins. or so just taking in the overall views and a coffee. I mentioned the geese in the air earlier but we had time to watch the skies as we were sitting and the geese could be seen coming in, in family groups of between 10-20 but also larger numbers, all from the north. Quite a few were dropping in front of us while others carried on down the coast. It was getting busier and busier overhead in the relatively short time we sat and looked skywards and by now the geese were coming over in waves. With the recent Battle of Britain programmes i couldn't help thinking they looked like enemy bombers coming over set to do there worst. There was of course plenty of other species present, all the waders you would expect and a few ducks but the geese dominated the scene.
Back to the car and on to Low Newton, this time hoping to get parked and finally get to see "Stringers Scrapes". The last time was a few weeks ago during the school holidays and on approach to Low Newton we could see the cars parked almost all the way back to High Newton so did an about turn. Approaching the scrapes we spotted 2 birders intensely peering through their scopes and asked politely if anything interesting was about. On looking up i realised one of the gentlemen was Ian Davison, a great bloke, and he said that the White-winged Black Tern had been there but a while ago and had not showed since. We hadn't had anything to eat so after a quick look on the scrapes headed to the hide at the pool so we could sit for a while, have our bait and see what was on the water. Again large numbers of birds present but nothing extraordinary and while not enjoying my hastily put together sarnies Jeff said "what we got here?".
It was the Tern. The lolloping flight of Terns always remind my of butterflies and this was no exception. The bird was in view for 15-20 minutes and never got a minutes peace. There are a number of timber posts sticking out of the water spread around the pool which the bird would land on from time to time but unfortunately it looked as if the various gulls had bagged them earlier and they were not going to let the tern make itself comfortable on any of them. A number of chases ensued with the Tern outmaneuvering any pursuants easily but the gulls never stopped so most of the time we watched the bird moving quite quickly.
A couple of corvids even joined in the persecution of the bird so eventually it disappeared over the treeline.Only poor images were captured so none here. Calling back at the scrapes as we left Ian said that it hadn't reappeared and the only birds we saw there were Dunlin, Snipe and Redshank.
On the way down to Druridge the skies had darkened considerably and there was rain in the air. Again nothing too exciting on the water but numbers of ducks look to be increasing.
A couple of images below including some nice fungi on Ross Links and an interesting insect from Druridge.

      "golf ball" fungi?
      interesting insect.......has it escaped from a radioactive establishment?
      i have captured Darters on this finger post before

      I'm very sorry but..........................

      ............shocking images of White-winged Black Tern


  1. Lovely mushrooms, nice enough to eat, yummy.

  2. I don't know about yummy Bob. They were good to look at but......... I would be happy trying for a hole in one with them!

  3. Hi Cain,
    Hope you are keeping fit.
    The finger post in question is on the path to the entrance to Druridge Pools. You will have passed it dozens of times. I always see Common Darters on it. It helps being 6ft 4 in to reach up with the camera.

  4. Hi John - that fly - its a Noon Fly. I only know this because I found one a while ago and wondered what it was. There's a bit about it on my blog here
    Wish my pics were as good as yours!!