A brief look at Alnmouth

A view into Alnmouth

A view into Alnmouth

I spent last weekend in Alnmouth, in part exploring the estuary of the river. This is the first of a few posts inspired by the trip. As the picture above shows, it’s a lovely little village that could be bracketed as ‘picturesque’. But that muddy foreground, the river, the ea, all promise nature.

Google maps view of Alnmouth

Google maps view of Alnmouth

Because it’s tidal you get mudflats, and that means waders and other shore birds, plus whatever happens to come in off the sea.

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Mud, mud, glorious mud

In practice this meant Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Eider, Grey Heron, Black-Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Terns, Mallards and Shelduck.

Sadly most were at a distance, and the Whimbrel was seen when I wasn’t carrying my camera. But here are a few pics anyway.

Grey Heron and Black Headed Gull River Aln May 2015

Grey Heron and Black Headed Gull
River Aln May 2015

Bar-tailed Godwit River Aln, May 2015

Bar-tailed Godwit
River Aln, May 2015

Shelduck River Aln, May 2015

Shelduck
River Aln, May 2015

Cormorant River Aln, May 2015

Cormorant
River Aln, May 2015

Ringed Plover River Aln, May 2015

Ringed Plover
River Aln, May 2015

Ringed Plover River Aln, May 2015

Ringed Plover
River Aln, May 2015

Oystercatcher River Aln, May 2015

Oystercatcher
River Aln, May 2015

Common Sandpiper River Aln, May 2015

Common Sandpiper
River Aln, May 2015

The beach and estuary was being well combed by Rooks and Jackdaws that were also very used to human company.

Rook on patrol Alnmouth, May 2015

Rook on patrol
Alnmouth, May 2015

Jackdaw scanning the beach Alnmouth, May 2015

Jackdaw scanning the beach
Alnmouth, May 2015

Jackdaw Amble, May 2015

Jackdaw
Amble, May 2015

Rook beachcombing Alnmouth, May 2015

Rook beachcombing
Alnmouth, May 2015

The mud also attracted swallows and martins that were collecting it for use in nest-building.

Swift Alnmouth, May 2015

Swift
Alnmouth, May 2015

Swallow collecting nest material River Aln, May 2015

Swallow collecting nest material
River Aln, May 2015

Swallow in the mud River Aln, May 2015

Swallow in the mud
River Aln, May 2015

House Martin Alnmouth, May 2015

House Martin
Alnmouth, May 2015

This one landed to collect something, but seems to have given himself a fright instead:

In fact the skies of Northumberland were full of swallows, swifts and martins. There were plenty more to be found hanging around Alnwick Castle. In fact, because pairs were engaged in nest-building you often found queues developing.

Swallows waiting their turn Alnwick Castle, May 2015

Swallows waiting their turn
Alnwick Castle, May 2015

Mate is occupying the nest. He had a long wait.

Mate is occupying the nest. He had a long wait.

And this is the nest occupier!

And this is the nest occupier!

There were also Lapwing breeding in the area and we saw them whirling and calling regularly.

Tomorrow I’ll post some of the great Tern photos I managed to get, and I’ve got some Eider photos to share too. But they both deserve their own posts.

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This entry was posted in Birds, England, Why watch wildlife? and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A brief look at Alnmouth

  1. Pingback: There is a season, tern, tern, tern… | Why watch wildlife?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing this. We were told by a local man that the tiny birds near the edge of the water were called “stoneturners”. Have you heard this term?

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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