Harkess Rocks – 29 Aug 2019

On a number of occasions, whilst visiting Northumberland, I have enjoyed photographing birds at Harkess Rocks near Bamburgh. Indeed, on one such previous visit I came here specifically to photograph Purple Sandpipers, as this is one of very few locations where they can be found in the UK, whilst they are present here during the Winter months.

Today, however, in late August there would be no Purple Sandpipers present, but nevertheless I came to see what else I might find. After parking up near the golf course clubhouse and clambering down the grassy bank to the rocks below, I could immediately see that large numbers of birds were present, and I felt excited about the prospects of some good bird-photography.

A Wheatear sitting on the rocks was one of my highlights of the day

One of the first birds I saw was a perfect Wheatear perched on the rocks. I haven’t seen many of these cracking birds in the past, and so was very pleased to see this one today.

The weather was clear and quite mild, so I settled-down to sit on some rocks and allowed the birds to get accustomed to my presence.

As I surveyed the scene, I identified large numbers of Knot, Oystercatcher and Sandwich Tern along with smaller numbers of other birds including: Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Common Tern and Linnet. Immediately offshore were some female Eider Ducks as well. This was quite a ‘bonanza’ of birds in a relatively compact area.

I spent the next hour or so taking lots of pictures, especially of the Knots as I had only ever seen those a couple of occasions previously.

One other notable highlight of my time at Harkess Rocks today was watching the arrival of a Sandwich Tern with a very large fish in its beak. Time and again the bird tried to land on the rocks only to be ‘harried’ by other Terns which wanted to relieve it of its meal.

I had a very enjoyable time watching/photographing these birds today and noticed that the Wheatear was still present as I was leaving. I couldn’t resist taking some more photos of it before reluctantly climbing back up to where I’d parked the car.

About Alan Gordon

I am a retired teacher and former RAF Musician. I live near Sheffield and enjoy taking photographs of wild birds throughout the UK.
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