Lindisfarne And Low Newton On The Northumberland Coast And Home

Lindisfarne Castle

We took the short drive to Lindisfarne Island this morning, again pausing to watch lemon yellow Yellowhammers along the lane. The tide was well out as we drove across the causeway, Curlews, Eiders and Little Egrets were enjoyed before we reached the island. Parking on the outskirts of the village we walked out towards the beautiful castle. Scanning the bay, between the village and the castle, there was plenty to see in the glorious warm sunshine. Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlews were feeding at the edge of the tide where they were joined by a flock of Common Redshank, nice to compare these waders side-by-side. In the low water channel beyond lots of Goosanders were loafing about and plenty more Eider here too. Arctic Terns were displaying over the water looking like a member of the Swallow family so elegant and graceful. On land Meadow Pipits, Rock Pipits and Skylarks were all showing off. As we neared the castle we stopped for another scan of the bay and were thrilled to see a flock of some fifty Golden Plover, a Whimbrel and many more Goosander.

Eider 1 Ythan

Lovely to see Eider all along the Northumberland coast.

We walked out onto the headland beyond the castle where plenty of seabirds were passing, but mostly distant. A few Puffins whirred past on their tiny wings, Common Guillemots, Gannets and Kittiwakes all on the move. More Common Eider were on the calm sea here along with Cormorants and Shags. We headed back towards the village, passing the delightful walled garden a riot of colour, we stopped to watch a nest full of Barn Swallows the young ready to fledge at any moment.

Heading back towards the mainland we made a stop in the dunes before the causeway and watched a lovely Skylark on the ground and also saw Reed Bunting, Linnets and more Meadow Pipits. A wonderful show of wildflowers here including many orchids an English Nature Warden happened along and pointed out the endemic Lindisfarne Helleborine Orchid, a green plant but fascinating to see this so rare orchid.

The endemic Lindisfarne Helleborine Orchid a new plant for all of us.

After a lovely lunch we drove south to Low Newton on the coast, a lovely tiny village with wet fields and pools behind, we love this place. First we walked down to the flooded field behind the houses and as we hoped plenty of birds here. A flock of gulls contained a good variety of species with Herring, Lesser black back, Black-headed, a single Common and one first-summer Mediterranean Gull and to add to this a Kittiwake flew around the pool. Seven Black-tailed Godwits, in lovely brick-red breeding plumage, were on the pool side along with Lapwings and Oystercatchers. Wildfowl comprised Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Greylag Geese but a flash of yellow caught our eye as a male Yellow Wagtail landed on the short grass and gave super views in the Leica telescopes.

Moving on to the pool we were pleased to see a very smart new hide had been built, the old one was tiny and in need of some tender loving care. Now we could all sit comfortably overlooking the freshwater pool. Plenty to see here too, Little Grebes, Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall and another Wigeon all showed off. Just outside the hide we had great views of three species, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Linnet, all males and all sitting still allowing wonderful views in the scopes. Walking out onto the beautiful beach, with blue sky and sunshine still, we watched more Arctic Terns, Eider, four Shelduck and many gulls including a first-summer Mediterranean Gull. Another wonderful day on this beautiful coastline and we headed back to The Black Bull for our last dinner.

Our last day of this wonderful Birdwatching Trip began with watching a lovely Spotted Flycatcher in the garden of The Black Bull. We took a very scenic route back west through the border lands between Scotland and England. We passed though rolling farmland and the Kielder Forest before coming out near Carlisle. We didn’t see many birds sadly but Sue made one amazing spot, a male Hen Harrier! Of course we did an emergency stop and all leapt out to look at this rare raptor. We were thrilled to see not one but two male Hen Harriers just fantastic! These two beautiful raptors seemed to be checking each other out without any real aggression before they broke apart and moved off, leaving us elated at this wonderful sighting. Tea and cake were called for and the jam, cream and scones went down very well indeed, those that chose the rum cakes were less happy!

We had lunch at RSPB Leighton Moss in north Lancashire, good job we had those cakes, lunch was a little late. Food consumed we had a quick look at the reserve, a recent addition here is a “Sky Tower”, nothing to do with satellite TV but a construction that gives panoramic views across the reedbed. Here we had wonderful views of at least six Marsh Harriers; these birds breed here in the reeds. We were thrilled to twice witness a “food-pass” where the male came in with prey and dropped it to a juvenile, the youngster catching it mid-air! So lucky, to see this amazing bird behaviour and great to see at least four juvenile Marsh Harriers on the wing over the reedbeds. We also enjoyed Black-tailed Godwits, Reed Warblers, Common Buzzards, Pochard and more from our high viewpoint. Sadly it was time to head for home but as we walked back to the visitor centre the feeders gave us a flurry of birds with beautiful Bullfinches, Nuthatch and Coal Tits.

Huge thanks to Mo and Dennis, Sue, Becky, Louise and Julia for their wonderful company during this brilliant Birdwatching Trips tour to Northumberland and North Berwick. We look forward to enjoying great birds and great fun with you all again!

Please email us here to arrange your very own Birdwatching Trip…..

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds and wildlife with you soon!

Here are some comments from some of our lovely guests on this tour...

Many thanks for this (trip list and group photo) and everything you both did to make this a very memorable birding trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the trips and the company. Brilliant!! Warm regards Sue

Thank you for our introduction to birdwatching, which was definately much more full of laughs than we had anticipated! The list is proving very useful as we can now look in our birdie books to remind ourselves which birds we have seen, and how to identify them. Obviously the puffins were the highlight of the trip, but lapwings and curlews which were commonplace in my youth and have virtually disappeared, were a bonus, as were the huge numbers of birds crammed 'shoulder to shoulder' on the rocks. We will certainly be considering another trip when the holiday funds allow, but in the meantime Den is sitting under the pergola with his binocs trained on the poor Canada geese. Maureen and Dennis

We had a fabulous time on the trip…Love the rib ride photo – and the fact that we are all indeed ‘striking a pose’ for it Louise

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