Monday, 10 February 2014

Coastal Birding

At the weekend I popped up to Newcastle with my wife and daughter, to visit our son and his girlfriend. As always when we go up I pop across to the coast for a spot of "coastal birding" at St Mary's Island in Whitley Bay.

St Mary's Island and causeway

As you can see from the above photo, the tide was out on my visit, which meant that the are all around the island was exposed, providing lots of rocks and feeding areas for a wide variety of waders, most of which were additions to the "Year List".

I always enjoy seeing waders, but there are two species that really stand out for me; Purple Sandpiper and Sanderling. Both species are rarely seen in Derbyshire, and take a little effort to see, so I was very happy to get great views yesterday. The Sanderling, in particular, were great, because I didn't see them at all last year, and also because of the way they feed. Yesterday's birds, which numbered about 80 in total split into 2 small groups, were running backwards and forwards on the water's edge, and looked amazing. Watch this video for an idea of how great they are!

Year List update:
85 – Common Gull
86- Eider Duck
87- Kittiwake
88 – Shag
89 – Oystercatcher
90 – Ringed Plover
91 – Sanderling
92 – Purple Sandpiper
93 – Turnstone

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