Saturday, 5 February 2011

Divers and Curlews a plenty

I decided to have a much needed steady walk up the beach at Cresswell at midday. My wife and I have embarked upon a diet and exercise needs to accompany the abstinence from second helpings, cake and chocolate etc.

The sea was quite calm and there were a few Red Throated Divers in evidence. I counted as many as I could pick out and, given that they are always diving and reappearing some distance from the dive point, I got to somewhere between six and twelve. Then, suddenly, a veritable flock! Twenty four Red Throats flying by together, with still a few birds visible on the water.

There were a few Common Scoters and Eiders flying back and forth and small flock of gulls were joined by a juvenile Gannet at a point where there was obviously something interesting in the water.

I walked about half a mile up the beach, before making my way across beside the small brook that runs north of Calico Barn. It was very quiet and my hoped for views of a few tweets were restricted to one Pied Wagtail, a flock of 70+ Starlings and an unknown number of Tree Sparrows calling from behind the dunes and out of sight. Just as I reached the road small bridge, twelve Grey Partridges flew towards Druridge.

I walked back down the road towards Cresswell Pond and the only sounds were of the Starling flock and Wigeons whistling from the ponds beyond the farm. No sign of Pink Feet; even when they are not in view, their calls are often in the distance, but not today. As I approached Cresswell Pond, more Wigeon calls from a small flock on the northern extension of the pond. I didn't bother to stop to view the pond, but went instead to do a short sea watch at Snab Point.

The tide had, by now, risen somewhat. There were a few more Red Throats off Snab Point and three Long Tailed Ducks were a pleasant surprise. In the field of stubble behind the point seventy seven Curlews were feeding along with a dozen Carrion Crows.

So, an enjoyable day of quality rather than quantity and a gentle one mile and a bit walk in to the bargain.

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