Sunday, 20 July 2008

Northumberland weekend

I spent the weekend in Northumberland. The main reason was for Angela to run the Northumberland Coastal Run, from Beadnell to Alnmouth. We stayed in Seahouses from where we intended to head over to The Farne Islands.

Saturday 19 Jul 08
Still being the official breeding season, the first boats don't go over to The Farnes until midday, so we booked ourselves on the last boat of the day (2pm) and spent the Saturday morning on Holy Island. Not much birdwise and as the day progressed the weather got increasingly wet and windy. My fears were realised when we turned up at Seahouses harbour at 2pm only to find out all the boats were cancelled. I spent the evening birding between Alnmouth and Budle Bay. Alnmouth was great with a big tern flock loafing on the south side of the river mouth. In the flock there was at least 6 adult Roseate Terns which flew around calling quite a lot.
At Budle Bay the tide was out, but there were plenty of birds on the mudflats, which included plenty of Redshanks, a couple of Common Sandpipers, Dunlin and a single Greenshank.
As the evening wore on I turned my attention to the gathering gulls to find a very pale looking large gull with no obvious signs of and solid dark markings. I moved round the bay to get a closer look and risked the quicksand by walking out onto the mud to get a better look at the gull.
My first impression was that it was a 2nd-summer Iceland Gull, but on closer inspection I'm not sure if I can rule out leucistic Herring Gull. Some photos and a short video is below.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Sunday 20 Jul 08
The good news of the day was that Angela finished her 14 mile beach run in well under 2 hrs. Unfortunately, that was the only good news as a quick phone call to Seahouses revealed that the northerly wind and the subsequent large swell had cancelled all the sailings to The Farnes.
Oh well - there's always next year!

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