Nature news from the Chairman
It has been a bright an breezy period since the last the publication of the last newsletter. The winds have been mainly from a westerly direction but winds have gone around to the south, there has been a passage of migratory butterflies especially Painted ladies and Red admirals. There have also been small numbers ofSouthern and Migrant hawker dragonflies.
Late August and early September are often very good for migrant birds but these have been scarce on the ground. This was reflected in the Wetland Bird Survey at Fenham Flats on the 9th September, where there were less than 100 Wigeon despite good numbers of Light-bellied brent geese (823). Numbers of Wigeon can build up to 15,000+ in October on Fenham Flats – we wait to see what the rest of September and October brings.
There are increasing numbers of Bottle-nosed dolphins see off our coasts. This summer has been no exception. One of the best places to see these marine mammals has been off Berwick pier. Boat trips from the Tweed have been very successful with up to 20 animals being seen occasionally. The gathering of the Dolphins suggest that they are waiting for the run of Sea trout and Salmon.
Species to look for in October: Pink-footed geese.
This medium size ‘grey’ goose appears in large numbers pass through Northumberland on their way to Lancashire and Norfolk. Recent counts in Norfolk have indicated up to 180,000 birds wintering in the county – this is approximately 1⁄2 of the World’s population. These birds commute back and forth from Lancashire during the winter. Up to 12,000 birds’ winter in Northumberland with the main areas being Lindisfarne, Tweed Valley, Till Valley (Doddington), Bradford Kame and around East Chevington – these birds are increasingly feeding inland as far as the A697. One of the main roost sites in the County are on the sand banks to the north of Lindisfarne. It is interesting to watch the dispersion of the roost in the mornings with birds leaving for the Tweed, Till and south. Early October ‘skeins’ of Pink- footed geese can be seen anywhere, in out part of the County, moving south when the wind is from a northerly direction.
Finally, a note from the notebook. Whilst walking a farm on western shore of Derwent reservoir in late September, I heard a flock of Pink-footed geese calling in the low cloud. Suddenly, 14 birds appeared. They seemed confused as they circled the reservoir at least three times. At first, I thought that they were going to land. Then the clouds cleared and the lead bird started calling vociferously. They regained their skein shape, altitude and headed off in a south-westerly direction towards Morecombe Bay.
Send all sightings to: Ian & Keith Davison, The Bungalow, Branton, Powburn, NE66 4LW Or by email to email@example.com
If you have wildlife queries you can email them to redsquirrel@alnwickwildlife group.co.uk – and they will be forwarded to an appropriate member who will try to answer them. No promises, mind – none of us are great experts!