Positively Mediterranean

9 Jul

I opted to take a quick run up the coast this morning as the weather seemed more promising than the forecast had implied, and my first port of call was Cambois at high tide.

Battleship wharf was very quiet with just woodpigeons and a couple of herring gulls perched on the old piers while common terns fished in the channel. On to the headland adjacent to the Alcan terminal and I was entertained for 20 mins watching gannets diving for fish close in off the beach. There can’t be many more spectacular sights in nature than these torpedoes plunging in a near-vertical stoop and folding their wings back against their bodies as they hit the water.

Gannet - about to dive

Alongside the gannets there were plenty of terns doing their own aerobatic fishing, and a small number of eiders surfing on the waves.

Next on to Newbiggin to see if I could locate any Mediterranean gulls. Last time I had been to church point the car park was a building site but thats all done now and a smart “Maritime Centre” sits on the promenade looking across the bay, set to open in a few days time.

Skirting the building I spotted a group of around 75 gulls on the beach and bobbing around just offshore and I didn’t need any binoculars to immediately locate a couple of med gulls with their black heads and white eyerings really showing up just how brown our “black-headed gulls” really are.

Med Gulls and "Black Heads"

With the aid of the binoculars I managed to locate at least 9 mediterranean gulls – not a bad percentage of the total! Also mingled with the gulls were a handful of sandwich terns including one youngster.

All the while I was watching, the thundery weather  forecast by the met office was gradually making its way towards me, looking very ominous behind the statue “The Couple” standing just off the beach.

Rain on the way

I started to venture to the point behind the church to see if there was any movement up or down the coast and with that the heavens opened with impressive vigour, and the 20 yards or so between me and the car was enough to ensure I got a thorough drenching for my troubles.

Mediterranean? Not quite.

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