Saturday, 19 January 2019

A good day up north...

We fancied some sea birding and the calm, grey conditions encouraged us to head up to the north of the county. For a change we tried Holy Island to start with, and were surprised to see 3 Red-necked Grebes scattered around just off the harbour. I can't remember ever seeing three in a day before let alone in the same place...

Looking from the Heugh, the tide was a bit high so the birds were scattered across the bay, but we did manage to pick up 6 Slavonian Grebes, 20 Long-tailed Ducks and 24 Red-breasted Merganser among others. A group of Dark-bellied Brent Geese was feeding in the harbour, with a few Pale-bellied mixed in too, and a Merlin and Peregrine were also seen.

Just as we were leaving the island, my dad noticed a pair of Long-tailed Ducks in the channel by the causeway, so I stopped the car, and was able to walk down to the water's edge while the ducks were below the surface. I was treated to some stunning views down to just a few metres before they flew off as the tide rose. We had lunch at Budle Bay, where the ever-present Spotted Redshank was feeding on the mud.

On arrival at Stag Rocks, one of the very first birds we looked at was another close in Red-necked Grebe, while our fifth of the day was further north off Budle Point. I definitely haven't seen five Red-necked Grebes in a single day in Northumbs before! A Great Northern Diver showed quite nicely if briefly, 5 Slavonian Grebes included one close bird, and 16 more Long-tailed Ducks were offshore.





Long-tailed Ducks
Pale-bellied Brent Goose with Dark-bellied Brents
Unfortunately my digiscoping eyepiece is away being fixed at the moment, so there may be some dodgy phonescoped photos on my blog in the next few weeks...

Red-necked Grebe off Holy Island

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