Thursday, 27 August 2009

Cresswell Surprise

We popped down to Cresswell tonight for a quick walk along the beach which turned out to be a fabulous night for bird watching. I didn't expect to see a great deal so I had left my camera at home but armed with my binoculars we set off. The evening was extremely pleasant and I soon spotted some Ringed Plovers by the waters edge and some Oyster Catchers further along. The Terns were in abundance and although I'm not too good at spotting the difference between Arctic and Common I'm sure there was some Sandwich terns with the black beaks amongst the group.
Not long into the walk we spotted a dark bird with a white flash on under side of wings and also the tail feathers had a some long pretruding feathers, but what caught my attention was that it was chasing other birds, out came my bird book and I safely identified a Skua. The guide suggested it would be an Arctic Skua as these apparently are the most common on our coast but I was just delighted to get a tick. It came by a few times and the Terns gave back as much as they were given, the arial display was marvelous as it was trying to rob other birds of their catch. It was very exciting and a first for me.
Off the coast there was a large number of Eider Ducks bobbing on the calm sea along with a couple of Cormorants. A few Swallows were spotted swooping along the shore and it was lovely to see 5 Curlew fly by.
Mike was just about screaming at me for the binoculars when he spotted a Gannet just off the shore and to our delight he was right, the long pointed wings and white body with black wing tips was unmistakable. It is a stately bird with a grace and power that just makes you stare. We saw it dive a couple of times and it was spectacular. We saw Gannets when we visited the Farne Islands but they were quite far away from our boat so to see one this close was great.
There was plenty of Gulls dotted about and some juvenile Black Headed Gulls were identified but just as we were about to leave 2 Heron passed us heading out to sea, and then quicky turned back to shore, Mike suggested the birds were a pair and he commented that the female bird had took the wrong turn at the beach and the male bird was saying...'I told you to turn left at the water, but you didn't listen' hehehe
A fabulous evening for bird watching and a tick...what more could you ask for... I didn't even complain when the rain started.

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