Smarting having just paid a tax bill and despite not having the funds to do so I decided head to the wilds of Northumberland to wind down ( I hate the expression 'chill out' ). Having dropped some paperwork off with the TRD I grabbed some supplies in the form of excellent Mince Pies from Rothbury Bakery and headed for Caistron. Thinking it would be busy I parked on the back road near Hepple and walked in to the sound of calling Buzzards overhead.
Caistron is an area of gravel workings east of Rothbury on the River Coquet which has been gradually been reclaimed as a Nature Reserve. The main lake now well established is that in the view above although the gravel workings that continue to the east are equally interesting. Click on the panorama to enlarge.
As I walked through the reserve the only sound was the resident Canada and Greylag Geese and this gent cutting hay in the fields to the south. I checked out some of the hides and on the lake itself where Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and Mute Swan all still with young whilst Swallows and Martins constantly hawked the surface of the water.
Moving through the reserve to the gravel workings I passed a gap in the earth berm and a sharp call saw a small wader fly up, the dark colouring and white rump instantly recognisable as a Green Sandpiper. It flew round once and landed next to a chum.
Crappy picture was taken and I moved on to where the Coquet exits the workings. Common Sandpiper was flushed and Mallard headed off downstream followed by this family party of Goosanders.
In the view below the Green Sandpiper are bottom left, Common Sandpiper middle right Oystercatcher and calling Redshank in the middle along with a few Great black backed and Black headed Gulls plus a still active Sand Martin colony.
I re-traced my steps searching for the birds I did expect being Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher but none were to be had and the unused Osprey platform was a lonely sight. Looking away from the water Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Wheatear, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Blackbird, Robin, Blue & Coal Tit, Song Thrush and an overflying Crossbill along with the usual corvids all put in an appearance. The tally was 56.