Naturelog: Aln Estuary


When I visit Northumbria, I stay in Alnmouth a beautiful village sandwiched between the North Sea and the estuary of the River Aln. Although Birdwatching is not my reason for being there, I do look forward to being able to do one of my favourite walks down the River Aln to the estuary and then back up the coast side of the village past a small marshy area. I try to walk this every morning whilst I am here.



This year I am about 4 weeks earlier in my visit than I was last year and it has been interesting to see the changes in the bird life. There are no Terns fishing in the estuary and no House Martins swooping from the houses in the village. As well as the difference in time, migrants seem to me to be a couple of weeks later this year and the cold windy wet weather which we are encountering here probably do not encourage them to move north.

On the other side there have been far more wading birds and ducks on the estuary this year. These populations change from day to day as these are probably birds still moving to their breeding grounds. Every walk is therefore different. These have included Eurasian Curlew; Redshank; Black-Tailed Godwit; Ringed Plover and Dunlin as well as the resident Oystercatchers. A pair of Red-Breasted Mergansers were a pleasant surprise one morning although the male’s plumage is rather odd and I needed to look at the photograph to finally make up my mind. Also present are Mallard, Common Eider and Shelduck.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron
Red Breasted Merganser
Red Breasted Merganser

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Eider [sp] (Somateria mollissima)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)

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