coquet nature lover

Friday, 10 March 2017

Last of the winter light

Recollections of a coastal walk by Coquetnaturelover

The Northumberland coast which stretches almost 100 kilometres is an incredibly beautiful part of the UK where you can see a huge diversity of resident and migrant birds in their natural environment throughout the year.

Boulmer beach

With the exception of the shore larks on the beach at East Chevington, the photos in this post were taken between Boulmer and Low Newton by the Sea - a stretch of coastline just a few miles long. So you see, there's no need to travel the whole coast to see the amazing wildlife on offer here - not to mention the beautiful beaches!  If you decide to pay a visit, it might be an idea to take a few sandwiches and a drink as you may end up walking much further than you originally planned!  And, don't forget to check out the tides before you head out...

The wintering shore larks in the next couple of photos were taken last month before the high winds of Storm Doris hit the UK. There were about half a dozen shore larks foraging on the beach - too far out to photograph but luckily a couple did come closer allowing a better view.

Boulmer (pronounced Boomer), is a small fishing village, approximately six miles east of the market town Alnwick (pronounced Ann-ick ). The coastline here is stunning and lined with dunes - a wonderful spot to visit if you enjoy walking and birdwatching.

Winter is a great season to take photographs as on a clear day, the warmth of the light will add atmosphere to your nature and wildlife images without you having to alter your camera's settings! Sometimes the best close up shots actually come out with my phone - especially when I'm photographing plants and flowers.  

The next sequence of photos were taken late afternoon with the sun arcing low in the sky, bathing the beach in a warm reflected light.

.... the beaches 


.... and the birds

Bartailed godwit
Sanderling probing
Oystercatchers foraging on the beach
Eiders coming into land
Goldeneye - has to be a favourite!
Flock of dunlin with redshank and sanderling
Long-tailed ducks - not easy to photograph!
Purple sandpiper at Football Hole, Low Newton by the Sea
Spot the turnstone if you can!
Grey heron in a pool behind the dunes
These pools are called dune slacks and occur in low-lying hollows between dune ridges. In winter when the water table is high, these depressions can often flood as seen in the above photo

Later in the year, I will try to get some snaps of the moisture loving plants that thrive in dune habitats. See my post from July last year for photos of pyramidal orchids, bloody craneshill and rest-harrow. Click here to view A walk at Beadnell Bay - Creeping willow is another plant supported by dune slacks which I've seen on Holy Island. Must remember to get a photo next time I'm up that way!

Hen harrier hunting over the dunes
Stonechats can often be seen in the dunes
Greylag geese coming home to roost at Low Newton by the Sea

Looking for a sunset bird in the winter
by Robert Frost

The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,
And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue,
A piercing little star was through.


  1. A lovely post with beautiful photos - the first one looks like a painting :) So interesting to read of the bird sightings - Northumberland looks so wonderful.

  2. What a beautiful part of the country you live in. Your photos of both beaches and birds are wonderful:)

  3. I must agree that the photos look like paintings. You certainly capture the atmosphere with your lens. Each season you present fantastically changing landscapes and ever interesting wildlife. It is most certainly a beutiful part of GB.

  4. Amazing photos! The beaches look wonderful filled with wildlife and many castles. Always enjoy reading your blog :)

    1. Thank you Louise! I will try to keep it going and find wildlife shots for you other than birds! Maybe some red squirrels and foxes. It's quite tricky here though.. :)

  5. Ragged Robin, Rosie and Ann-onymous,thanks for your lovely comments. I just have the camera set to 'automatic' so providing it is light, the photos come out quite well. I have to wait for sunny days which isn't that often here in the north east!! Mind you, last week was lovely so can't complain:) xx

  6. Great post and stunning photos, especially love the shot of the flying Redshank, have been in Edinburgh all week and on the train home through Northumberland I spotted a bird, looking through your photos I am convinced I saw a Hen harrier.
    Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog, you asked about the link to Instagram, my son did it for me so sorry I have not got a clue how he did it...
    Amanda xx

    1. Thanks for your kind comments Amanda. Although hen harriers are quite rare in Northumberland, it is possible that you did spot one as the rail line passes very close to some good wildlife sites. xx