A walk on the River Tyne

For those who attended this weekends walk on the Tyne led by NHSN member, Daniel Turner, a summary of the trip can be found below.

It was chilly and somewhat icy underfoot, but we had a pleasant tour taking care to avoid too many slips. The temperature ranged between plus and minus 3 C, but overall it remained dry and the air was clear. The low tide had just started its rise as we began in a very light south-westerly airflow.

On our walk along the promenade some of the waders showed well: turnstone, oystercatcher, redshank and a single curlew which voiced brightly. We investigated black-headed and common gulls, observing adult and first-year birds of each species and we discussed differences between winter and summer plumage. Our first eider, a female, was spotted near the Black Middens by a keen observer while we scanned the large gulls resting there and checked for young and more mature herring and great black-backed gulls. From the bankside vegetation we saw and heard: carrion crow, magpie, blackbird, robin, blue tit, goldfinch and wren as two jackdaws flew out across the water.

Returning to the fish quay we were able to watch the full eider flock more closely and gain further views of the gulls. Cormorants were in view and a grey seal bobbed up and down in the river. Some turnstones sought food on the rooftops and quayside and a passing pied wagtail said goodbye as we left. Some of the fish quay heritage and life was discussed as our tour progressed.

By Daniel Turner, seabird scientist