Trip reports

Holy Island and Budle Bay

Holy Island and Budle Bay
Sanderling (Richard Cowen)

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Large numbers of the regular wintering pale bellied Brent geese gathered in the distance, with a few shelduck close by. A total of seven greenshanks were spotted feeding in the array of pools nearer the causeway, accompanied by the usual wader selection of oystercatchers, curlews, redshanks and bar-tailed godwits. There has been a little egret at this same spot on all our recent visits and this year was no exception.

As is our usual habit, our first destination on leaving the car park was the field next to the vicarage garden which overlooks St. Cuthbert's Island. Large numbers of bar-tailed godwit and redshank coming into roost on the island were joined by a few knot, turnstones and sandwich terns. A peregrine flashed through causing disarray.

The incoming tide had already covered the sand bars where grey seals like to haul out, but several popped their heads up from time to time whilst swimming in the same area. In line with the reports of usually large numbers of razorbills being seen close to shore, around 20 birds were spotted from our viewpoint. A few red-breasted mergansers were also bobbing on the sea, while several gannets flew quite close to the shore. The two distant Arctic skuas that passed between the island and the mainland were more unexpected.

With no suitable winds, there were no migrants around the usual hot spot of the vicar's garden, so we began our usual walk around the island. The Straight Lonnen was also almost passerine-free, with just the occasional robin and a single blue tit in addition to the house sparrows around the farm. A large flock of golden plover came to rest in a nearby field, while two roe deer, a distant kestrel and a flyby grey heron were observed to the other side of the Lonnen.

A few grass of Parnassus were still in flower in the dunes. We also came across several fox moth caterpillars. Waders on the beach included a couple of sanderlings and a ringed plover, while several rock pipits were also feeding amongst the seaweed. A grey wagtail was a nice surprise, but unfortunately flew off before most people arrived.

A steady passage of gannets was observed in both directions from Emmanuel Point, while both guillemot and red-throated diver were present on the sea.

We returned to the car park via The Lough, which hosted a large flock of wigeon, with a few mallard and shoveler in amongst them.

By 4.30 pm we had returned to our vehicles. Several people decided to return home, but two or three cars continued on to Budle Bay where a selection of wildfowl and waders was spread over the exposed inter-tidal zone. Brief views were had of another peregrine, but new species for our list seen here included dunlin, lesser black-backed gull, grey plover and black-tailed godwit. This brought our total for the day to a respectable 58 species.

Julie Hogg

Trip List
1. Brent Goose
2. Mute Swan
3. Shelduck
4. Shoveler
5. Wigeon
6. Mallard
7. Teal
8. Eider
9. Red-breasted Merganser
10. Pheasant
11. Woodpigeon
12. Collared Dove
13. Oystercatcher
14. Lapwing
15. Golden Plover
16. Grey Plover
17. Ringed Plover
18. Curlew
19. Bar-tailed Godwit
20. Black-tailed Godwit
21. Turnstone
22. Knot
23. Sanderling
24. Dunlin
25. Redshank
26. Greenshank
27. Black-headed Gull
28. Common Gull
29. Great Black-backed Gull
30. Herring Gull
31. Lesser Black-backed Gull
32. Sandwich Tern
33. Arctic Skua
34. Guillemot
35. Razorbill
36. Red-throated Diver
37. Gannet
38. Cormorant
39. Grey Heron
40. Little Egret
41. Buzzard
42. Kestrel
43. Peregrine
44. Magpie
45. Jackdaw
46. Rook
47. Carrion Crow
48. Blue Tit
49. Skylark
50. Starling
51. Blackbird
52. Robin
53. House Sparrow
54. Grey Wagtail
55. Pied Wagtail
56. Rock Pipit
57. Chaffinch
58. Goldfinch