Now that daylight saving time is upon us once more, Mr VP and I have been getting out almost every evening to make the most of the extra light (and the occasional warmth!). We sometimes visit parks and countryside but mostly we opt for the beach; that ever-changing landscape that we have come to adore. We will walk a few miles, up and down, stopping to breathe and take photos along the way.
Visiting the beach with regularity, you become aware of the small things: the day that the sand martins arrive, the first eider ducks of the season on that particular beach and the movement of rocks and changing shape of the beach. Speaking of birds, there is something magical about those that inhabit the coastline of Northumberland. Many are merely visitors to our shores, having travelled thousands of miles to summer here, like the sand martins; whilst others are natives, seen only occasionally in the colder months and much more often in summer. We’re really lucky in that we have quite a few interesting (and rare) seabirds visit our shores. If you visit any of the islands (like we did last year) then you can see the more exotic birds like roseate terns and puffins, but I quite like the less showy birds that we get around here.
Opting to stop at a new-to-us beach, we came across lots of wonderful birds. I was blown away when we saw, for the first time on land (i.e. not on a boat!), a glimpse of a pair of fulmars on a nest. Did you know that they are relatives of albatrosses? They look quite like them and have much kinder, sweeter faces and beaks than seagulls. We saw a heron out on a rock in the sea – for what reason is unknown as herons only fish in still water and these waves were anything but. We found a squeak of oystercatchers (my collective noun for them as they do sound like squeaky toys!), a clockwork of grey plovers, a search of turnstones and a wade of purple sandpipers. Not forgetting the one lone little chiffchaff on the rocks and one pied wagtail. It was quite an evening to be out!