Champions of the Flyway!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Scotland & Lindisfarne, July '21 (final part)

Lindifarne's northern beaches - unspolit and bird-filled even on a peak-season Sunday afternoon 

After our last day in the Highlands we drove south, staying in Dunfermline overnight; but not before trying our luck on the reason for breaking up the journey home there - namely, a long-staying Sei Whale off the Fife coast. I realised our chances were slim with the brief window of opportunity available, but by early evening, we were on the seafront at Kinghorn just above the harbour, in the company of drunk (but entirely good-humoured) teens and sunburned elders; and within five minutes of setting up the 'scope, there it was, blowing, rolling gently, and filling my field of view like the gentle giant you'd hope it to be. Which was more than enough - so when a large pod of dolphins bounded into the Firth at full speed, it got even better; and when they turned out to be not one of the commoner North Sea-dwelling species, but Short-beaked Common Dolphins (rare away from the Atlantic coasts of the UK) it got better still, and watching their breathtakingly fast progress towards the Forth Bridge was the perfect way to bookend our time North of the border.
The view from Kinghorn - cetaceans-a-g-go 

After the drive south and then east, the following day (our last of the trip) was spent at one of favourite and regular haunts, Lindisfarne. We usually visit in the autumn or winter, and so the visitor numbers were, well, higher than we're used to; nonetheless it took just a few minutes to escape the masses as we headed north via footpaths to the dunes and beaches on a round-island walk.
As well as unspoilt sandy beaches, turquoise waters, dunes and relative tranquility, there were also Sanderlings, and a lot of them. I counted a minimum of 313 (although there were likely more, spread among several large groups), the most I can recall seeing anywhere, with many still in fine rusty breeding plumage.
Back into the village for dinner by the Abbey (and to stock up on mead at the Winery), and then grudgingly homeward bound down the coast back to Yorkshire. A lovely adventure in some very lovely places, and just the decompression we were seeking.