Friday, October 05, 2007

Dumfries & Galloway and Northumberland - 27th Sept - 2nd Oct 2007.

Barnacle Geese flying past Southerness Point.
Above: The lighthouse at Southerness Point, Dum & Gall.

Above: Whimbrel - Carsethorn.

27th-29th Sept: A couple of days in Dumfries and Galloway staying at the Cavans Country House Hotel nr Kirkbean saw us visit a few sites in the area during the course of our stay. The 28th began with several Redwings present in the Hotel grounds. Southernness Point was a nice spot with an adult Med Gull in a field just inland, 3 Red-throated Diver and a Sandwich Tern offshore and 2 Greenshank amongst Redshanks on the rocks. A flock of Barnacle Geese flew east whilst 2 Otter offshore were a nice bonus. A Little Egret & a Whimbrel were the most notable sightings at Carsethorn. A drive along the Galloway Kite trail around Loch Ken produced 3 Red Kite inc this bird below which appeared partially leucistic.

Above: Red Kite.

Above: Ailsa Craig from Corsewall Point.

Above: The lighthouse at Corsewall Point, nr Stranraer. What a superb location for a Hotel... complete with some nice weedy areas for migrants as well!

29th Sept: We decided to stay on the Northumberland coast for a couple of nights departing Dumfries & Galloway mid-morning. Enroute news came through on the pager of a Blyths Reed Warbler at Woodhorn nr Newbiggin. I couldn't resist this so made the short detour to the site where the bird showed well in the afternoon sun allowing all features except the call to be noted. This was a first for me following unsatisfactory views of one at Filey a few years ago.

Above: Blyths Reed Warbler, Woodhorn, Northumberland - 29th Sept 2007.
30th Sept: After a very pleasant evening in the picturesque village of Warkworth, a tour of the Northumberland coastline villages followed. The Coquet estuary at Amble was a really 'checkable' estuary in that it was picturesque, not too wide and held plenty of birds. A nice selection of commoner wader species were had plus numbers of Wigeon. Several skeins of Pink-footed Geese totalling c500 flying south were presumably Norfolk bound. Two Med Gulls, a 3rdw/adult and a second winter in Amble Harbour showed brilliantly, coming to bread.

Med Gulls - Amble Harbour, Northumberland - 30th Sept 2007.

Dinner at a coastline pub in Craster resulted in a little seawatching at the same time. 3 Arctic Skua, 2 ad Little Gull and the above Barnacle Goose flock were noted heading north.

The evening was spent in the lovely village of Bamburgh, complete with an impressively lit Castle at night.
1st & 2nd Oct: Following a morning walk around Bamburgh village, we drove up to Holy Island, staying at the Lindisfarne Hotel for the night. Migrants were hard to find as weather conditions were favouring East Anglia and SE England at the time. Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Brambling and several Redwing were all the migrants that I could muster during our short stay. A Barn Owl was also seen along the Straight Lonnen. This birdbox raised a chuckle.

Above: Lesser Whitethroat.
Above: Barn Owl - Straight Lonnen, Holy Island.

Grey Seals were spectacularly noisy as the males 'rutted' against one another on sandbanks between Holy Island and the mainland.

Above: A scenic Holy Island beach.

Butterflies included this Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow that evaded the camera.

2nd Oct:
The drive home was interrupted by news of another Blyths Reed Warbler, this time at Whitburn, Co. Durham. For experience sake, you can't see enough of these. In contrast to the Woodhorn bird, views of this individual were much more fleeting, but several views were had. The most educational aspect of this bird though was hearing the call frequently. Only a photo of the twitch assembled birders was possible.

However, the undisputed highlight of the trip was having the honour of marrying Pam, my partner of ten years, at Gretna Green, on the 27th Sept.... Brilliant!

Hand on heart, I can now say that I couldn't want for more in life at this time................ well, except for perhaps some extreme rarity like a Brown Flycatcher turning up in the next few days........!! ;-)