Winter tourists flock to these shores

A NUMBER of summer bird visitors still remained in the area but September saw the first major influx of winter visitors.

Butterflies had a revival after a rather quiet summer a major influx of moths from as far south as the Mediterranean occurred. Flowering was over for most plants but a number were still adding colour to the countryside.

Swallows were gathering on the wires on September 1 with 25 at Bolton and 25 at Eglingham. There were 22 swallows on the wires at Abbeylands on September 4 and 200 were at Cresswell on September 5. Swallows were still around Harbottle on September 22 and 23.

There were still two active house-martin nests at Cresswell Ices on September 5. Chiffchaffs began singing again and birds were heard at Hauxley on September 5, around Alnwick on September 7, 10 and 17 and at Adderstone on September 21.

Wheatears also seemed reluctant to leave, with four at Alnmouth wetlands on September 12 and two at Castle Dyke, Warkworth, on September 13. There were still six at Hayden on Eglingham Moor on September 14 and on the same day, three were in Warkworth Dunes.

Wader numbers began to build up with 19 ruff at Cresswell Pond, 17 greenshank in Buddle Bay and 13 curlew sandpipers on Fenham Flats.

There were 11 bar-tailed godwits at Hauxley on September 9 and a spotted redshank was at Castle Dyke, Warkworth, on September 18.

On September 16, 200 golden plovers were at Newton Pool and 250 lapwings were at Monks House Pool. There were 400 lapwings at Amble on September 17 and 250 golden plovers were at East Chevington on September 19.

Little egrets were frequently observed, with two by the River Coquet at Warkworth on September 13, between two and four at Castle Dyke, Warkworth, on various dates and seven or eight in Budle Bay.

A common crane was in Budle Bay on September 15 and around this time a sandhill crane was reported to have passed through the area.

There were 10 female gossangers at Amble on September 13 and 28 red-throated divers were at Alnmouth on September 16.

Arctic, pomerine and long- tailed skuas were all spotted on the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.

A female sparrowhawk took a young jackdaw at Simonside House, Nedderton, on September 3.

A pair of buzzards were over Hepburn Wood on September 1 and there were three buzzards over Canongate Bridge on September 4. Single birds were seen at five other localities.

A tawny owl was hooting in Howling Lane on September 8 and a barn owl between Warkworth and Hipsburn on September 10.

A long-eared owl and eight short-eared owls were at Prestwick Carr on September 17 and on the same date, a short-eared owl was mobbed by a crow on Holy Island.

A juvenile marsh harrier was at East Chevington on September 17, while a hen harrier and an osprey were on Lindisfarne on September 25.

A little bunting was an unexpected arrival from Arctic Russia when it was seen by ringers at Low Newton on September 25.

On September 15, Brent geese were reported flying over Amble and the first sighting was made of pink-footed geese over Alnwick. Pink-footed geese arrived in Amble early on September 18.

There were 500 greylag geese in a field at East Chevington on September 19, while 50 greylag and four geese were next to Amble caravan sight.

A toad crossed a track at East Nedderton on September 6 and a common lizard was at Low Newton on September 11.

Hedgehogs were regularly seen at Simonside House, Nedderton, while grey squirrels were at Tarry and Eglingham.

A red squirrel was at Coquet Lodge, Warkworth, on September 20.

A grey seal was in the Tweed Estuary on September 15 and the first seal pup of the season was born on the Farnes on September 27.

Road casualties included a young otter on Alnwick Moor on September 27 and a fox at Whittingham on September 28.

Red admirals were the most widespread butterflies in September followed by small tortoiseshells, which would be looking for places to hibernate.

Peacock butterflies were seen in Hepburn Wood, Alnwick and Warkworth.

Wall brown butterflies were seen in Hepburn Wood and Amble dunes, while speckled woods were in the yard and garden at Coquet Lode, Warkworth, on September 29 and 30.

Wild pansies and violets were in flower at Hepburn Wood on September 1, while on Septmeber 5, knapweed, bladder campion, ragwort and yarrow were flowering at Hauxley together with bloody cranesbill, lesser stitchwort and common centaury in Amble dunes.

Sea buckthorn and mountain ash berries were abundant at Hauxley on September 5 as were those of bramble, elderberry and hawthorn at Eglingham on September 14.

The next indoor meeting of the society will be held on Thursday, November 3, in the Costello Centre, Baillifgate, Alnwick, at 7.30pm. On this occasion, we welcome back one of our most popular speakers, Ian Armstrong, who will give us his talk entitled A Love of Birds.

A field meeting will be held on Thursday, November 10, commencing from Powburn Service Station at 1.30pm.

We hope to visit the recently-opened Branton Quarry Nature Reserve to see wintering wildfowl and waders.

Visitors are welcome at both of these events.